Tyrone Power, Jr., also known as Tyrone Power, III, came from a long line of famous performers. His great-grandfather, also named Tyrone Power, was a famous Irish comedian whose youngest son, Tyrone’s grandfather, Harold Littledale Power, was a stage actor before he married. Tyrone’s grandmother, Ethel Lavenu, was also an actress. His mother, Helen Emma Reaume, was a Shakespearean actress and drama coach. His father, Frederick Tyrone Edmund Power, performed in American theaters for thirty years before starting a second career as a villain in the silent films of D.W. Griffith and other great directors.
Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr., was born on May 5, 1914, in Cincinnati, Ohio. When his parents divorced, Tyrone and his sister, Anne, remained in close contact with their father. His mother returned to acting and introduced Tyrone to the stage. In December of 1931, Tyrone, who was 17 at the time, was in Chicago performing with his father when Tyrone Power, Sr. suffered a heart attack and died in his son’s arms.
Tyrone was given a minor role in the 1936 romance Girls’ Dormitory where he finally attracted the attention of the public, but he still struggled to keep his studio contract. He tested for Lloyd’s of London and was given the lead role as Jonathan Blake with fourth billing. Tyrone’s performance in this film cinched his film career and made him a Hollywood star. The following year, he starred in five films, including Dion O’Leary in the 1937 critically acclaimed drama In Old Chicago. His roles in 1938 were equally strong as Roger Grant in Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Ferdinand de Lesseps in the drama Suez.