Eleanor Powell

Active - 1934 - 1994  |   Born - Nov 21, 1912   |   Died - Feb 11, 1982   |   Genres - Musical, Comedy

Share on

Biography by Hal Erickson

Nimble-footed musical star Eleanor Powell was 11 years old when she was discovered by vaudeville kiddie-revue entrepreneur Gus Edwards. At 17, Powell made her New York debut as a star tap dancer at the Casino de Paris. She subsequently featured in several Broadway revues, which led to her first movie appearance in George White's Scandals of 1935. With Broadway Melody of 1936, Ms. Powell began her long association with MGM, where her co-stars ranged from Nelson Eddy to Fred Astaire to Jimmy Stewart to Burns and Allen. Though a brilliant, creative dancer on a purely technical level, Ms. Powell has not always been in favor with dyed-in-the-wool film musical fans because of her slightly aloof screen personality. She retired from films in 1943 to marry actor Glenn Ford, resurfacing only for the independently produced Sensations of 1945 and the MGM Technicolor musical Duchess of Idaho (1950). Following a bitter divorce from Ford in 1959, Powell was left with little money to support herself and her son, Peter. She then revived her career with a well-received nightclub act which played top spots in New York and Las Vegas. Eleanor Powell's last years were devoted to charitable and religious work, including a brief Sunday morning TV series for children.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography