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William Horatio Powell (29 July 1892 –– 5 March 1984) was a three-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, noted for his sophisticated, cynical roles. He is most widely known for portraying the detective Nick Charles in six The Thin Man films.
Powell, an only child, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Nettie Manila Brady and Horatio Warren Powell. He showed an early aptitude for performing. In 1907, he moved with his family to Kansas City, Missouri. The Powells lived a few blocks away from the Carpenters, whose daughter Harlean would evolve into Jean Harlow, although Powell would not meet her until both were established stars.