Spencer Tracy: A Biography

Przednia okładka
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011 - 1001
“The best goddamned actor I've ever seen!”—George M. Cohan

His full name was Spencer Bonaventure Tracy. He was called “The Gray Fox” by Frank Sinatra; other actorscalled him the “The Pope.”

Spencer Tracy's image on-screen was that of a self-reliant man whose sense of rectitude toward others was matched by his sense of humor toward himself. Whether he was Father Flanagan ofBoys Town, Clarence Darrow of Inherit the Wind, or the crippled war veteran inBad Day at Black Rock, Tracy was forever seen as a pillar of strength.

In his several comedy roles opposite Katharine Hepburn (Woman of the Year andAdam's Rib among them) or in Father of the Bride with Elizabeth Taylor, Tracy was the sort of regular American guy one could depend on.

Now James Curtis, acclaimed biographer of Preston Sturges (“Definitive” —Variety), James Whale, and W. C. Fields (“By far the fullest, fairest, and most touching account . . . we have yet had. Or are likely to have” —Richard Schickel,The New York Times Book Review, cover review), gives us the life of one of the most revered screen actors of his generation.

Curtis writes of Tracy's distinguished career, his deep Catholicism, his devoted relationship to his wife, his drinking that got him into so much trouble, and his twenty-six-year-long bond with his partner on-screen and off, Katharine Hepburn. Drawing on Tracy's personal papers and writing with the full cooperation of Tracy's daughter, Curtis tells the rich story of the brilliant but haunted man at the heart of the legend.

We see him from his boyhood in Milwaukee; given over to Dominican nuns (“They drill that religion in you”); his years struggling in regional shows and stock (Tracy had a photographic memory and an instinct for inhabiting a character from within); acting opposite his future wife, Louise Treadwell; marrying and having two children, their son, John, born deaf.

We see Tracy's success on Broadway, his turning out mostly forgettable programmers with the Fox Film Corporation, and going to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and getting the kinds of roles that had eluded him in the past—a streetwise priest opposite Clark Gable inSan Francisco; a screwball comedy, Libeled Lady; Kipling's classic of the sea,Captains Courageous. Three years after arriving at MGM, Tracy became America's top male star.

We see how Tracy embarked on a series of affairs with his costars . . . making Northwest Passage and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which brought Ingrid Bergman into his life. By the time the unhappy shoot was over, Tracy, looking to do a comedy, madeWoman of the Year. Its unlikely costar: Katharine Hepburn.

We see Hepburn making Tracy her life's project—protecting and sustaining him in the difficult job of being a top-tier movie star.

And we see Tracy's wife, Louise, devoting herself to studying how deaf children could be taught to communicate orally with the hearing and speaking world.

Curtis writes that Tracy was ready to retire when producer-director Stanley Kramer recruited him forInherit the Wind—a collaboration that led to Judgment at Nuremberg, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and Tracy's final picture,Guess Who's Coming to Dinner . . .

A rich, vibrant portrait—the most intimate and telling yet of this complex man considered by many to bethe actor's actor.

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LibraryThing Review

Recenzja użytkownika  - knahs - LibraryThing

A meticulous well researched bio of actor Spencer Tracy. At over 1,000 pages including the listing of film and stage works, bibliography, and index, each chapter left you wanting to go on and read the ... Przeczytaj pełną recenzję


Recenzja użytkownika  - Kirkus

Spencer Tracy (1900-1967), warts and all.Acclaimed biographer Curtis (W.C. Fields, 2003, etc.) presents an exhaustive and exhausting biography of the legendary Hollywood star, famed for his uncanny ... Przeczytaj pełną recenzję

Spis treści

General Business
A Born Actor
A Sissy Sort of Thing
The Best Goddamned Actor
The Last Mile
Quick Millions
The Power and the Glory
The Big Drunk
The Rugged Path
State of the Union
Adams Rib
Father of the Bride
Rough Patch
At Loose Ends
A Granitelike Wedge of a Man

The Amount of Marriage Weve Experienced
Io And Does Love Last?
That Double Jackpot
The Best Year
The New Rage
Enough to Shine Even Through Me
A Buoyant Effect on the Audience
Someones Idea of Reality
Woman of the Year
Ive Found the Woman I Want
Not the Guy They See Up There on the Screen
The Mountain
The Last Hurrah
3o Our Greatest Actor
The Value of a Single Human Being
Something a Little Less Serious
A Lion in a Cage
A Humble Man
Note The Biographies of Katharine Hepburn
Notes and Sources
Selected Bibliography
Prawa autorskie

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Informacje o autorze (2011)

James Curtis is the author of W. C. Fields: A Biography; James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters; and Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges. Curtis is married and lives in Brea, California.

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