Spencer Tracy

Spencer Tracy was an American actor. Regarded for his natural style and versatility, Spencer Tracy was one of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age. Spencer Tracy's screen career spanned 37 years. In this time Spencer Tracy was nominated for nine Academy Awards for Best Actor and won two, sharing the record for nominations in this category with Laurence Olivier. Spencer Tracy discovered his talent for acting while attending college and later received a scholarship for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In November 1923 Spencer Tracy landed a small part on Broadway in the comedy A Royal Fandango. Reviews for the show were poor and it closed after 25 performances; Spencer Tracy later said of the failure, "My ego took an awful beating". Spencer Tracy played his first leading role in with a company in Winnipeg, but the organization soon closed. In the fall of 1926, Spencer Tracy was offered his third shot at Broadway: a role in a new George M. Cohan play called Yellow. Spencer Tracy swore that if the play failed to be a hit he would leave stock and work in a "regular" business instead. Spencer Tracy spent seven years in the theatre, working in a succession of stock companies and intermittently on Broadway.

Spencer Tracy's breakthrough finally came in 1930, when his lead performance in The Last Mile caught the attention of Hollywood. Production company at Fox Film Corporation were unsure about Spencer Tracy, saying that he did not photograph well in make-up. John Ford convinced Fox that Spencer Tracy did not need make-up and he was cast in the movie. Up the River marked the film debut of both Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. After a successful film debut in Up the River, Spencer Tracy was signed to a contract with Fox Film Corporation. His five years with Fox were average, and Spencer Tracy remained largely unknown to audiences after 25 films. In 1935, Spencer Tracy joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and his career began to blossom with a series of hit films, and in 1937 and 1938 Spencer Tracy won consecutive Oscars for Captains Courageous and Boys Town. By the 1940s, Spencer Tracy was one of the studio's top stars. In 1942 Spencer Tracy appeared with Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year, beginning a popular partnership that produced nine movies over 25 years.

Spencer Tracy left MGM in 1955 and continued to work regularly as a freelance star, despite an increasing weariness as he aged. Spencer Tracy worked almost exclusively for director Stanley Kramer in the 1960s. It was for Kramer that Spencer Tracy made his last film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in 1967, completed 17 days before Spencer Tracy's death. During his career, Spencer Tracy appeared in 75 films and secured a reputation among his peers as one of the screen's greatest actors. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Spencer Tracy as one of the top ten Hollywood legends.

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