Friday, June 09, 2006

Art and Madness~Actors

Spencer Tracy
April 15,1900~June 10, 1967

"This mug of mine is as plain as a barn door. Why should people pay thirty-five cents to look at it?"

"Spencer Tracy, you're the best damn actor there is!" -- George M. Cohen

Spencer Tracy and Ernest Borgnine

"I'm disappointed in acting as a craft. I want everything to go back to Orson Welles and fake noses and changing your voice. It's become so much about personality."

On drinking: "Hell, I used to take two-week lunch hours!"

Spencer Tracy and Vivien Leigh

"It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn't, and when it does, we may well reject it."

"The kids keep telling me I should try this new "Method Acting" but I'm too old, I'm too tired and I'm too talented to care."

Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner

"I couldn't be a director because I couldn't put up with the actors. I don't have the patience. Why, I'd probably kill the actors. Not to mention some of the beautiful actresses."

On acting: "Come to work on time, know your lines and don't bump into the furniture."

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Mayer, upon finding out that Irving Thalberg had hired Tracy to join MGM
On being asked why he was always billed above Katharine Hepburn in their films together, when politeness dictated the other way around: "Because this is a movie, you chowderhead, not a lifeboat!"

As the Daily Telegraph observed in Hepburn's obituary, "Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were at their most seductive when their verbal fencing was sharpest: it was hard to say whether they delighted more in the battle or in each other."

On why he never left his wife for Katherine Hepburn: "I can get a divorce whenever I want to. But my wife and Kate like things just as they are."

Spencer Tracy was born April 15, 1900 to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. At Ripon College he did well in the lead of "The Truth" and decided on acting as a career. In 1923 he married Louise Treadwell. They had two children, John and Louise (Susie).

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. His family moved to Hollywood in 1931, and Tracy made 16 films in three years. In 1935 he signed with MGM. He became the first actor to win back-to-back Oscars for Captains Courageous(1937) and Boys Town (1938).

He was also 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 and Laurence Olivier share the record for the most best actor Oscar nominations (9).

He had a brief romantic relationship with Loretta Young in the 1930s and a lifelong one with Katharine Hepburn beginning in 1942. Because he was a Catholic he never divorced his wife Louise, though they lived apart, some of his friends and biographers have speculated that it had nothing to do with his Catholic upbringing, but was more that he would have felt too guilty about abandoning his son John, who was born deaf.

A few weeks after completion of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), during which he suffered from lung congestion, he died of a heart attack.

Want to know more? I recommend these books

Spencer Tracy; a Biography by Larry Swindell, New York, World Pub. Co. 1969
Tracy and Hepburn by Garson Kanin, New York, Viking 1971
Spencer Tracy : a Bio-bibliography by James Fisher. Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press, 1994

N Posted by Rain at 6/09/2006 01:16:00 AM


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