Biography of a great star that could have been more interesting
For a man who captivated -- and is still captivating -- so many people around the world, programs about Tyrone Power seem to fall flat. I'm not sure why. I took part in the "Mysteries & Scandals" episode on Power, and from what I recall, there was no mystery and not much scandal. That's not a bad thing, but when doing the life story of an historic figure, one needs to hang one's hat on something. I think part of it has to do with the people who are interviewed, myself included. After reading Mai Zetterling's book, "All Those Tomorrows" and her fascinating chapter on Power, with whom she had a very intense affair from 1956 until 1958, it's obvious that there was a lot more there than people commonly interviewed about him tend to discuss.
The A&E bio portrayed a gorgeous, dazzling man who was well loved, still friends with his ex-wives, possibly bisexual or at least dabbled in bisexuality (although no one ever really comes up with any evidence for that), and a man who died tragically at a young age and before the birth of his son. According to Terry Moore, Power wanted only two things in what had been a wonderful life - to have a son and to die "in harness."
Now, Zetterling's book describes a bitterly unhappy, disillusioned man who drank, took uppers, cursed his looks, complained that his ex-wives were milking him dry, that he was only proud of four films, and didn't know the meaning of the word "happy." Zetterling's Power had a dark side - he was romantic, kind, gentle, generous, attentive, wonderful to work with, but he had some demons.
So which is it, folks? Well, you know, it's probably both, and it would be great if just once, someone would do a complete portrait of what must have been a fascinating and interesting man. Protecting an image is valiant - but behind images are real human beings, and what makes them popular or noteworthy enough to be images in the first place are all their wonderful contradictions.
Tyrone Power had amazing charisma, entrancing everyone he met, it seems. He had a passion for life and a fear of death, he loved often, and he loved well, he was a caring father and lover, a wonderful if frustrated actor, a great and fun-loving friend, and a consummate professional. No matter what anyone blinded by his looks claims, he was never one-dimensional on film. It would be great if he weren't one-dimensional in his own biography.
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