Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Spencer Tracy



BORN: April 5, 1900

DIED:  June 10, 1967

AGED: 67 by a heart attack brought on by years of alcohol abuse

MARRIED: Once

AFFAIRS: Loretta Young, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn

FAMOUS PARTNERS: Clark Gable, Katherine Hepburn

A Great actor. "Learn your lines and don't bump into the furniture". Irascible, cantankerous later in life, a staunch catholic. Would never think of divorcing his wife, but adultery-sure, why not...oops more guilt for him to drown in. His son was born deaf (his wife started the John Tracy Clinic for the deaf) and he was eaten up by guilt over this as well. He seemed to feel huge guilt over many things and this made him drink more.  Spencer would go on binges and the studio would have to find him usually holed up in some seedy hotel that he destroyed. They kept this from the papers because he did play a priest a couple of times on screen and one cannot lose the image. When he met Katherine Hepburn she said he seemed to be a bit short, the director said-"don't worry, he'll cut you down to size".  When they would go over to friends, like Bogie and Bacall, she would sit on the floor next to him-Honest! He was plagued by ill health later in the 50's and 60's  and Katherine Hepburn cared for him and disregarded her career. He loved to disrupt in a gleeful way-When Frederic March had a great scene in Inherit The Wind, Spencer Tracy picked his nose to throw good ole Freddie off. For his last film, the director(Stanley Kubrick) and Katherine Hepburn promised to put up their own money so Spencer could have the part. He died 10 days after completing his scenes.

OSCARS: Captain's Courageous, Boys Town

FILMS: A Man's castle, San Francisco, Boys Town, Woman of the Year, Pat and Mike, Father of the Bride, Bad Day at Black Rock, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner




36 comments:

  1. Hello Birgit - you've done it again, with another good choice.
    Spencer was a character with all those antics. It was a pity about the drinking. Guilt can cause people to become self-destructive, but they seem to return to the source of their guilt and the circle never ends.
    I always think of him as being with Katherine Hepburn.
    I liked 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' the best.

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    1. oh he was self-destructive and intelligent and troubled but a great, great actor

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  2. What is it with men thinking it's okay to cheat but not to divorce? That was a strange time...although it was probably just an excuse to have their cake and eat it, too!

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    1. yes it was the times and they led separate lives. Hepburn wrote about her life in "Me" and Garson Kanin wrote about both of them in "Tracy & Hepburn". Their love story was more real than his marriage

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  3. More terrible double standards. But he must have had something for Katherine Hepburn to be so devoted.
    Anabel at Anabel's Travel Blog

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    1. oh yeas double standards apply but Tracy and Hepburn will always be remembered as being together

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  4. Whenever I think of Tracy, I think of Hepburn. But with the other power couple, Bogey and Bacall, I think of the Maltese Falcon and The Fan. (Can you imagine Bacall is still alive and still working?)

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    1. I know and she will be 90 this year! Some couples go hand in hand

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  5. Great post. I liked his acting but I guess in real life, there's no way I would've liked him. I would've punched him for cheating on his wife. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh I am with you-I would not want to be with him since he was so dark and in despair but I love his acting and never miss a movie of his

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  6. Perhaps in today's Hollywood, he would have gotten help for his addiction instead of having it hid. I didn't know he had so many difficulties.

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    1. It is sad that he had this much to deal with and even today, given his stubborness not sure if he would have accepted the help. he was driven to this self-destruction in some ways

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  7. Drinking, guilt and adultery... sounds like as staunch a Catholic as most of my family! ;-)

    Seriously though, "Learn your lines and don't bump into the furniture" is a brilliant quote by a brilliant actor. Great post as usual!

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    1. Thanks and one of my favourite quotes-Yes the Catholics have it made in this area and I can agree since my dad's side of the family were all Catholics

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  8. That's right, he was in the original Father of the Bride.

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    1. he was and was brilliant-still laugh when i think of him trying to get into his old suit

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  9. Like most great actors, he needed a way to cope, I suppose, when the noise became too loud, the lights too bright. An amazing talent, loved his movies -- the few I have seen.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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    1. he had his demons but he was a great actor

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  10. Oh, that Catholic guilt...it's closely related to Jewish guilt, which I have in abundance, so I think I'm allowed to talk about it : ) The poor man! Such a brilliant actor.

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    1. You made me smile and yes you are allowed:) Catholics love guilt so i have that too. I think he was quite tortured and could see why Katherine was drawn to him

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    1. Oh Sylvester! SYLVester!! I wanted Spence to get away from all the phones

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  12. Spencer is another old actor that I really enjoy watching.. I had no idea that he was an alcoholic. How sad. He surely did play a great part. I enjoy learning about so many of these classic actors you are posting. Thank you. Hugs, Lura

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    1. Thank you and I love the old actors as I think they are the best:)

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  13. Wow. I had no idea he was such a tortured soul.

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    1. oh he was and sad-I think that was part of the attraction for Katherine Hepburn

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  14. ohh he had such a guilt ridden life. It's tragic :(

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  15. Poor guy, he played in a lot of movies! : )

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    1. he did and he was such a great actor

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  16. I think the only movie I saw him in was "Guess Who is Coming to Dinner"

    betty

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    1. You have to see him in Adam's Rib and Father of the Bride-much better than the remake

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  17. Tracy was an amazing actor. He made me forget that he was an actor playing a part. I wonder if the more insecure the person is, the greater is his or her ability to get into the skin of the character he or she is portraying.

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    1. It could be and maybe for some actors although Jimmy Stewart is an amazing actor and he was quite secure...which is rare in Hollywood land:) You are right-he made me forget he was acting

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  18. Enjoyed this actor a lot on screen and knew about the affair with Hepburn. It's too bad his life turned out so poorly...it seems life could have been better, but choices were made and that's that. His roles on screen were played out so perfectly. 'Old Man and Sea' comes to mind.
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Funny how life can lead down different roads and he took the difficult path

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