Spencer Tracy: A Biography


Spencer Tracy: A Biography


By Larry Swindell

Despite his forty five year movie career, Spencer Tracy never achieved the iconic stature of Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne. Instead, Tracy had to settle for merely being the greatest film actor of his generation. His decades-long affair with Katherine Hepburn remains one of Hollywood’s greatest, and most complicated, love stories.


ISBN: 9781626548077 (Paperback)

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“Sometimes I think life is a terminal illness.” - Spencer Tracy

Often described as a “man’s man,” the talented and versatile Hollywood legend Spencer Tracy’s lasting legacy is that of the “actor’s actor.” The iconic film hero overcame a turbulent and rebellious adolescence by discovering an outlet for his demons in the theatre, where he was described as “the best goddamned actor I ever saw” by none other than Broadway iconoclast George M. Cohan.

Tracy’s inevitable move to Hollywood began a remarkable career that included such unforgettable films as Bad Day at Black Rock, Inherit the Wind, Adam’s Rib, Pat and Mike, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Captains Courageous, and Boys Town (the last two of which made him the first to ever win back to back Academy Awards for Best Actor.)

His off-screen life was much more complicated; Tracy battled alcoholism and diabetes, he was tormented with guilt over his son’s disability, and his Catholic upbringing prevented him from ever ending his unhappy marriage. Tracy’s decades-long relationship with frequent co-star Katherine Hepburn, one of Hollywood’s most enduring love story, remained a closely guarded secret for years.

Author Larry Swindell pulls back the curtain on this often cantankerous, sometimes lovable, and always mesmerizing superstar.