Image of Spencer Tracy

Spencer Tracy

Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the end of the war. At Ripon College he did well in the lead of "The Truth" and decided on acting as a career. In New York he roomed with O'Brien while they attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1923 they both got nonspeaking parts as robots in "R.U.R". In stock he supported himself with jobs as bellhop, janitor and salesman. John Ford saw his critically acclaimed performance in the lead role in in The Last Mile (1932) and signed him to Up the River (1930) for Fox. Despite appearing in 16 films there over the next 5 years, Tracy never achieved star status there (during his stint the studio had floundered and was absorbed into Darryl F. Zanuck's 20th Century Pictures). In 1935 he signed with MGM under the aegis of Irving Thalberg and his career flourished. He became the first actor to win back-to-back Oscars for Captains Courageous (1937) and in a project he initially didn't want to star in, Boys Town (1938). He was nominated for San Francisco (1936), Father of the Bride (1950), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Old Man and the Sea (1958), Inherit the Wind (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). He had a brief romantic relationship with Loretta Young in the 1930s and a lifelong one with Katharine Hepburn beginning in 1942. His Catholic beliefs precluded ever divorcing his wife Louise, though they lived apart. Tracy suffered from severe alcoholism and diabetes (from the late 1940's), which unfortunately impacted his willingness to accept several tailor-made roles in films that would become big hits. Although his drinking problems were well known, he was inarguably considered one of the best actors in Hollywood among his peers (he had a well deserved reputation for keeping co-stars on their toes for his oddly endearing scene-stealing tricks) and remained in demand. A few weeks after completion of Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), during which he suffered from lung congestion, he died of a heart attack.

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Apr 5, 1900 1900-04-05 In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie The Hard Guy 1930-09-06
Latest Project:
Movie Classic Movie Bloopers: Uncensored 2013-01-29
Known For
Movie Classic Movie Bloopers: Uncensored Himself (archive footage) 2013-01-29
Movie Bogart: The Untold Story 1997-01-05
Movie Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell Himself 1993-02-06
Movie Hollywood Remembers: Myrna Loy - So Nice to Come Home to 1991-01-01
Movie Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' Archive Footage 1991-01-01
Movie Cinema Paradiso Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Hyde (archive footage) (uncredited) 1988-11-17
Movie The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind 1988-10-01
Movie The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn (archive footage) 1986-03-09
Movie Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage Himself (archive footage) 1983-02-25
Movie That's Entertainment, Part II 1976-05-17
Movie Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Himself 1975-08-06
Movie That's Entertainment! Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited) 1974-06-21
Movie Black History: Lost Stolen, or Strayed 1968-08-31
Movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Matt Drayton 1967-12-11
Movie Hollywood My Home Town 1965-12-31
Movie The Big Parade of Comedy Haggerty in 'Libeled Lady' (archive footage) 1964-09-02
Movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Capt. C. G. Culpepper 1963-11-07
Movie Hollywood Without Make-Up 1963-07-01
Movie How the West Was Won Narrator 1962-11-01
Movie Judgment at Nuremberg Chief Judge Dan Haywood 1961-12-01
Movie The Devil at 4 O'Clock Father Matthew Doonan 1961-10-18
Movie Inherit the Wind Henry Drummond 1960-06-24
Movie The Last Hurrah Frank Skeffington 1958-10-24
Movie The Old Man and the Sea The Old Man 1958-10-07
Movie Desk Set Richard Sumner 1957-08-02
Movie The Mountain Zachary Teller 1956-11-14
Movie Bad Day at Black Rock John J. Macreedy 1955-01-07
Movie Broken Lance Matt Devereaux 1954-09-25
Movie The Actress Clinton Jones 1953-09-25
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Movie Plymouth Adventure Capt. Christopher Jones 1952-11-28
Movie Pat and Mike Mike Conovan 1952-06-13
Movie The People Against O'Hara James P. Curtayne 1951-09-01
Movie Father's Little Dividend Stanley Banks 1951-04-12
Movie Father of the Bride Stanley T. Banks 1950-06-16
Movie Malaya Carnaghan 1949-12-27
Movie Adam's Rib Adam Bonner 1949-11-18
Movie Edward, My Son Arnold Boult 1949-06-02
Movie State of the Union Grant Matthews 1948-04-30
Movie Cass Timberlane Cass Timberlane 1947-11-06
Movie The Sea of Grass Col. James Brewton 1947-04-25
Movie Without Love Pat Jamieson 1945-01-01
Movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle 1944-11-15
Movie The Seventh Cross George Heisler 1944-07-24
Movie A Guy Named Joe Pete Sandidge 1944-03-01
Movie Twenty Years After 1944-01-01
Movie Keeper of the Flame Stevie O'Malley 1943-01-28
Movie Tortilla Flat Pilon 1942-05-21
Movie Ring of Steel Narrator (voice) 1942-04-02
Movie Woman of the Year Sam Craig 1942-01-19
Movie Men of Boys Town Father Edward J. Flanagan 1941-04-11
Movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Dr. Henry 'Harry' Jekyll / Mr. Hyde 1941-08-12
Movie Cavalcade of the Academy Awards 1940-07-31
Movie Hollywood: Style Center of the World Himself 1940-05-29
Movie Edison, the Man Thomas A. Edison 1940-05-10
Movie Young Tom Edison Man Admiring Portrait of Thomas A. Edison 1940-03-15
Movie Northwest Passage Major Robert Rogers 1940-02-23
Movie Northward, Ho! Himself 1940-02-10
Movie I Take This Woman Karl Decker 1940-02-01
Movie The Miracle of Sound Himself 1940-01-01
Movie Boom Town Square John Sand 1940-08-30
Movie Stanley and Livingstone Henry M. Stanley 1939-08-18
Movie From the Ends of the Earth 1939-05-28
Movie Hollywood Hobbies Himself 1939-05-03
Movie Mannequin John Hennessey 1938-01-21
Movie Boys Town Father Edward J. Flanagan 1938-09-09
Movie Test Pilot Gunner 1938-04-22
Movie Hollywood Goes to Town Himself 1938-07-07
Movie Big City Joe Benton 1937-09-03
Movie The Romance of Celluloid 1937-08-26
Movie Captains Courageous Manuel Fidello 1937-06-25
Movie They Gave Him a Gun Fred P. Willis 1937-05-07
Movie Libeled Lady Warren Haggerty 1936-10-09
Movie San Francisco Father Mullin 1936-06-26
Movie Fury Joe Wilson 1936-05-29
Movie Riffraff Dutch 1936-01-03
Movie It's A Small World Bill Shevlin 1935-04-12
Movie Dante's Inferno Jim Carter 1935-08-23
Movie Whipsaw Ross 'Mac' McBride aka Danny Ross Ackerman 1935-12-18
Movie The Murder Man Steven 'Steve' Grey 1935-07-12
Movie Marie Galante Dr. Crawbett 1934-10-25
Movie Now I'll Tell Murray Golden 1934-06-07
Movie Bottoms Up 'Smoothie' King 1934-04-12
Movie Looking for Trouble Joe Graham 1934-03-28
Movie The Show-Off J. Aubrey Piper 1934-03-09
Movie Man's Castle Bill 1933-11-20
Movie The Mad Game Edward Carson 1933-10-27
Movie The Power and the Glory Tom Garner 1933-10-06
Movie Shanghai Madness Pat Jackson 1933-08-03
Movie Face in the Sky Joe Buck 1933-01-15
Movie Disorderly Conduct Dick Fay 1932-03-20
Movie She Wanted a Millionaire William Kelley 1932-02-21
Movie Sky Devils Wilkie 1932-03-12
Movie 20,000 Years in Sing Sing Tommy Connors 1932-12-24
Movie Young America Jack Doray 1932-04-17
Movie Society Girl Briscoe 1932-05-29
Movie The Painted Woman Tom Brian 1932-08-20
Movie Me and My Gal Danny Dolan 1932-12-04
Movie Goldie Bill 1931-06-27
Movie Six Cylinder Love William Donroy 1931-05-10
Movie Quick Millions Daniel J. 'Bugs' Raymond 1931-04-17
Movie Up the River Saint Louis 1930-10-12
Movie The Hard Guy Guy 1930-09-06