Monday, April 5, 2010

Spencer Tracy

Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was born on April 5, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of John Edward Tracy and Caroline Brown.

At the age of 17, Spencer Tracy enlisted in the Navy after the American entry into World War I.

Following the war, Spencer Tracy enrolled at Ripon College. While touring with the Ripon debate team, he auditioned for and was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Spencer Tracy made his Broadway debut as a robot in Karel ńĆapek's R.U.R. (1922), followed by five other Broadway plays in the 1920s. In 1930, Spencer Tracy appeared in the hit Broadway play The Last Mile. Director John Ford saw Spencer Tracy's performance and signed him to appear in Up the River (1930).

During the next five years, Spencer Tracy appeared in over 25 films such as Disorderly Conduct (1932), The Painted Woman (1932), 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), Dante's Inferno (1935), Riffraff (1936), and Fury (1936).

In 1936, Spencer Tracy was cast to play Father Mullin in San Francisco and earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

In 1937 and 1938, Spencer Tracy became the first person to win consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor first for Captains Courageous and second for Boys Town. (Tom Hanks is only the second actor to accomplish the same feat.)

Spencer Tracy would also receive Academy Award nominations for 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 posthumously for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). Tracy and Laurence Olivier share the record for the most nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Spencer Tracy also appeared in Libeled Lady (1937), Test Pilot (1938), Boom Town (1940), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), Tortilla Flat (1941), A Guy Named Joe (1942), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), The Actress (1955), The Last Hurrah (1958), and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

In 1941, while filming Woman of the Year, Spencer Tracy met and fell in love with Katharine Hepburn. They would remain together until his death in 1967. Katharine Hepbun and Spencer Tracy made nine movies together: Woman of the Year (1941), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Without Love (1944), Sea of Grass (1944), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), Desk Set (1957) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1967.

Spencer Tracy died on June 10, 1967 at the age of 67 of a heart attack.

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