After attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kentucky-born Tom Powers signed with Vitagraph Pictures at 21 years of age, in 1911. He stayed there for two years, then shortly thereafter traveled to England, appearing there in both stage productions and films. When he returned to the US he made a few more pictures, but stopped making movies in 1917 and concentrated exclusively on stage work. He didn't appear onscreen again until 1944, when he acceded to Billy Wilder's request to play Mr. Dietrichson, Barbara Stanwyck's doomed husband, in Double Indemnity (1944). He made up for lost time over the next 12 years, appearing in dozens of pictures--often as a detective, army officer, District Attorney or other authority figure--until 1955, when he died of heart failure in November of that year (his last film, The Go-Getter (1956), was released after his death).