In high school in
Kansas City, William's interest in all things theatrical blossomed to cover
many areas - glee club, drama club, public speaking, cheerleading, even illustrations
for his 1910 and 1911 school yearbooks.
Click here for some yearbook selections.
from high school, William left home for New York and the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts at the age of 18, a venture financed by his aunt, since his father
was adamant about contributing money only for law school and nothing else, certainly
not acting. In all fairness, how was Horatio to know that his son
would eventually become not only a fine stage actor, but a major Hollywood movie
star?! (A footnote: in 1940 Powell bought his parents a home near his
own in Hollywood and Horatio became his business manager.)
Click here for photo of Powell with his parents.
from the AADA in 1912. There followed what can only be described as some very
lean years as he worked his way through vaudeville and stock companies.
He met a young actress named Eileen Wilson in one of the companies, and they were married in 1914. (see photos of Ms. Wilson)
Although it soon became apparent that the marriage was not working out, it would be many years before they were divorced. There was even a reconciliation in the 20's that produced Powell's only child, William David, born in 1925. (Click here for photo.) Sadly, the boy was plagued by emotional instability and depression all his life, and committed suicide in 1968 at the age of 43.
Powell in the early days of his stage career (courtesy Christian Anderson)