Dick Powell made a career of reinventing himself.
Born in Arkansas, the young tenor played horn and banjo, and sang with various dance bands and orchestras in Pittsburgh and elsewhere before he was brought to Hollywood, where he sang opposite Ruby Keeler and others in such classic Busby Berkeley musicals as 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1935, and the Al Jolson film, Wonder Bar.
In the mid-1940s, Powell played Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet, which began his period of doing "tough guy" roles in films like Cornered, Johnny O'Clock, and Cry Danger.
His astute mind for business led him to invest in real estate, and in the early 1950s, he moved his show-business interests into producing and directing. Along with David Niven and Charles Boyer, he formed Four Star Productions, one of the most prolific production companies in television.
Powell was married three times. His second wife was actress Joan Blondell and his third, actress June Allyson, 12 years his junior.
Michael B. Druxman's Dick Powell is a one-person play that looks in on the actor at two different periods in his life: during the mid-1940s when he is struggling to reinvent his career from singer to dramatic actor, and the mid-1950s as he deals with billionaire Howard Hughes, producer of director Powell's ill-fated (and deadly) John Wayne-epic film, The Conqueror.