Birth name Spencer Bonaventure Tracy NationalityUSA Birth 5 april 1900 at Milwaukee Death 10 june 1967 (at 67 years) at Los Angeles (USA) Awards Academy Award for Best Actor
Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (April 5, 1900 – June 10, 1967) was an American actor, noted for his natural style and versatility. One of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy was nominated for nine Academy Awards for Best Actor and won two, sharing the record for nominations in that category with Laurence Olivier.
Tracy discovered his talent for acting while attending Ripon College, and later received a scholarship for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He spent seven years in the theatre, working in a succession of stock companies and intermittently on Broadway. Tracy's breakthrough came in 1930, when his lead performance in The Last Mile caught the attention of Hollywood. After a successful film debut in Up the River, Tracy was signed to a contract with Fox Film Corporation. His five years with Fox were unremarkable, and he remained largely unknown to audiences after 25 films.
In 1935, Tracy joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, at the time Hollywood's most prestigious studio. His career flourished with a series of hit films, and in 1937 and 1938 he won consecutive Oscars for Captains Courageous and Boys Town. By the 1940s, Tracy was one of the studio's top stars. In 1942, he appeared with Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year, beginning a popular partnership that produced nine movies over 25 years. Tracy left MGM in 1955 and continued to work regularly as a freelance star, despite an increasing weariness as he aged. His personal life was troubled, with a lifelong struggle against alcoholism and guilt over his son's deafness. Tracy became estranged from his wife in the 1930s, but never divorced, conducting a long-term relationship with Katharine Hepburn in private. Towards the end of his life, Tracy worked almost exclusively for director Stanley Kramer. It was for Kramer that he made his last film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in 1967, completed just 17 days before Tracy's death.
During his career, Tracy appeared in 75 films and developed a reputation among his peers as one of the screen's greatest actors. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Tracy as the 9th greatest male star of Classic Hollywood Cinema.
Marriage and family
Tracy met actress Louise Treadwell while they were both members of the Wood Players in White Plains, New York—the first stock company Tracy joined after graduating. The couple were engaged in May 1923, and married on September 10 of that year between the matinee and evening performances of his show.
Their son, John Ten Broeck Tracy, was born in June 1924. When John was 10 months old, Louise discovered that the boy was deaf. She resisted telling Tracy for three months. Tracy was devastated by the news and felt a lifelong guilt over his son's deafness. He was convinced that John's hearing impairment was a punishment for his own sins. As a result, Tracy had trouble connecting with his son, and distanced himself from his family. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, a friend of Tracy's, later theorized: "[Tracy] didn't leave Louise. He left the scene of his guilt." A second child, Louise "Susie" Treadwell Tracy, was born in July 1932. The children were raised in their mother's Episcopalian faith.
Tracy left the family home in 1933, and he and Louise openly discussed the separation with the media, maintaining that they were still friends and had not taken divorce action. From September 1933 to June 1934, Tracy had a public affair with Loretta Young, his co-star in Man's Castle. He reconciled with Louise in 1935. There was never again an official separation between Tracy and his wife, but the marriage continued to be troubled. Tracy increasingly lived in hotels and by the 1940s, the two were effectively living separate lives. Tracy frequently engaged in extramarital affairs, including with co-stars Joan Crawford in 1937, and Ingrid Bergman in 1941.
While making Woman of the Year in September 1941, Tracy began what was to become a lifelong relationship with Katharine Hepburn. The actress became devoted to him, and their relationship lasted until his death 26 years later. Tracy never returned to live in the family home, although he visited regularly.
The MGM moguls were careful to protect their contract big stars from controversy, and Tracy wished to conceal his relationship with Hepburn from his wife, so it was hidden from the public. The couple did not live together until the final years of Tracy's life. In Hollywood, however, the intimate nature of the Tracy-Hepburn partnership was an open secret. Angela Lansbury, who worked with the pair on State of the Union, later said: "We all knew, but nobody ever said anything. In those days it wasn't discussed." Tracy was not someone to express his emotions, but friend Betsy Drake believed he "was utterly dependent upon Hepburn." Tracy's infidelity apparently continued, however, and is reported to have included an affair with Gene Tierney during the making of Plymouth Adventure in 1952.
Neither Tracy nor his wife ever pursued a divorce, despite their estrangement. He told Joan Fontaine, "I can get a divorce whenever I want to, but my wife and Kate like things just as they are." Louise, meanwhile, reportedly commented: "I will be Mrs. Spencer Tracy until the day I die." Hepburn did not interfere, and never fought for marriage.
Tracy was an avowed Catholic, but his cousin, Jane Feely, said that he did not devoutly follow the religion: "he was often not a practical Catholic either. I would call him a spiritual Catholic." Garson Kanin, a friend of Tracy's for 25 years, described him as "a true believer" who respected his religion. At periods in his life, Tracy attended Mass regularly. Tracy did not believe actors should publicize their political views, but in 1940 lent his name to the "Hollywood for Roosevelt" committee and personally identified as a Democrat.
Tracy struggled with alcoholism throughout his adult life, an ailment that ran in his father's side of the family. Rather than being a steady drinker, as commonly thought, he was prone to periods of binging on alcohol. Loretta Young remarked that Tracy was "awful" when he was drunk, and he was twice arrested for his behavior while intoxicated. Because of this bad reaction to alcohol, Tracy regularly embarked on prolonged periods of sobriety, and developed an all-or-nothing routine. Hepburn commented that he could stop drinking for "months, even years at a time".
Tracy was prone to bouts of depression and anxiety: he was described by Mrs. Tracy as having "the most volatile disposition I've ever seen—up in the clouds one minute and down in the depths the next. And when he's low, he's very, very low." He was plagued by insomnia throughout his life. As a result, Tracy became dependent on barbiturates to sleep, followed by dexedrine to function. Hepburn, who adopted a nursing role towards Tracy, was unable to understand her partner's unhappiness. She wrote in her autobiography: "What was it? ... Never at peace ... Tortured by some sort of guilt. Some terrible misery."
Illness and death
As he entered his sixties, years of drinking, smoking, taking pills and being overweight left Tracy in poor health. On July 21, 1963, he was hospitalized after a severe attack of breathlessness. Doctors found that he was suffering from pulmonary edema, where fluid accumulates in the lungs due to an inability of the heart to pump properly. They also declared his blood pressure as dangerously high. From this point on Tracy remained very weak, and Hepburn moved into his home to provide constant care. In January 1965, he was diagnosed with hypertensive heart disease, and began treatment for a previously ignored diagnosis of diabetes. Tracy almost died in September 1965: a stay in the hospital following a prostatectomy resulted in his kidneys failing, and he spent the night in a coma. His recovery was described by his doctor as "a kind of miracle".
Tracy spent the majority of the next two years at home with Hepburn, living what she described as a quiet life: reading, painting and listening to music. On June 10, 1967, Tracy awakened at 3:00 am to make himself a cup of tea in his apartment in Beverly Hills, California. Hepburn described in her autobiography how she followed him to the kitchen: "Just as I was about to give [the door] a push, there was a sound of a cup smashing to the floor—then clump—a loud clump." She entered the room to find Tracy dead from a heart attack. Hepburn recalled, "He looked so happy to be done with living, which for all his accomplishments had been a frightful burden for him." MGM publicist Howard Strickling told the media that Tracy had been alone when he died, and was found by his housekeeper.
A Requiem Mass was held for Tracy on June 12 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in East Hollywood. Active pallbearers included George Cukor, Stanley Kramer, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart and John Ford. Out of consideration for Tracy's family, Hepburn did not attend the funeral. Tracy was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
, 39minutes Directed byMichel Hazanavicius, Dominique Mézerette GenresComedy, Crime ActorsJohn Wayne, Christine Delaroche, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Marc Cassot, Steve McQueen Roles The Professional Witness (archive footage) Rating73% Diffusé pour les fêtes de fin d'année, ce second détournement (qui fait suite à Derrick contre Superman) est un Ça cartoon déjanté mêlant des séquences originales présenté par Valérie Payet et Philippe Dana à des extraits redoublés de dessins animés avec Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck... et de films avec Steve McQueen, Burt Lancaster, Jack Nicholson, Jean Gabin, etc. Il s'agit du second des trois téléfilms du Grand Détournement.
, 1h48 Directed byStanley Kramer OriginUSA GenresDrama, Comedy, Comedy-drama, Romantic comedy, Romance ThemesFilms about racism ActorsSpencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards Roles Matt Drayton Rating77% Joanna Drayton's unannounced early return from a Hawaii holiday causes a stir when she brings to her childhood upper-class home her new fiancé, John: a widowed, black physician. Joanna's parents - newspaper publisher Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy) and his wife, art gallery owner Christina Drayton (Katharine Hepburn) – are liberals who have instilled in her the idea of racial equality. But to her surprise, Joanna's parents are deeply upset that she is planning to marry a black man. The Draytons' black maid, Tille (Isabel Sanford), is just as horrified, suspecting that John is trying to "get above himself" by marrying a white woman. What was intended to be a sit-down steak dinner for two turns into a meet-the-in-laws dinner party, and during the pre-dinner period, John, Joanna and her parents have to work through their differences.
, 3h6 Directed byStanley Kramer OriginUSA GenresDrama, War, Historical ThemesFilms about religion, Political films, Films about capital punishment, Films about Jews and Judaism ActorsSpencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell Roles Dan Haywood Rating82% Judgment at Nuremberg centers on a military tribunal convened in Nuremberg, Germany, in which four German judges and prosecutors stand accused of crimes against humanity for their involvement in atrocities committed under the Nazi regime. Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) is the Chief Trial Judge of a three-judge panel that will hear and decide the case against the defendants. Haywood begins his examination by trying to learn how the defendant Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) could have sentenced so many people to death. Janning, it is revealed, is a well-educated and internationally respected jurist and legal scholar. Haywood seeks to understand how the German people could have turned blind eyes and deaf ears to the crimes of the Nazi regime. In doing so, he befriends the widow (Marlene Dietrich) of a German general who had been executed by the Allies. He talks with a number of Germans who have different perspectives on the war. Other characters the judge meets are U.S. Army Captain Byers (William Shatner), who is assigned to the American party hearing the cases, and Irene Hoffman (Judy Garland), who is afraid to bring testimony that may bolster the prosecution's case against the judges.