William Powell, 1892–1984, American movie actor, b. Pittsburgh. Powell made his stage debut in 1912. He played the dapper villain in such early films as Sherlock Holmes (1921), Romola (1924), and Beau Geste (1926). In sound films, his sonorous voice and elegant manner made him more popular as a hero. Teamed with Myrna Loy, they combined romance, comedy, and sleuthing in the witty Thin Man series (five films, 1934–47). Powell's other notable films include The Great Ziegfeld (1936), My Man Godfrey (1936), and Mister Roberts (1955).