Spencer Tracy was a multi-Academy Award-winning
American actor known for his work in Boys Town,
Captains Courageous, Adam's Rib, Father
of the Bride, Bad Day at Black Rock, The
Old Man and the Sea, Inherit the Wind, and
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
A remarkably versatile actor, Tracy earned praise
for his skillful, realistic portrayals in an era
that was still dominated by stylized acting.
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Spencer Bonaventure Tracy
Date, time and place of birth: April 5, 1900,
at 1:57 a.m., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: June 10, 1967,
at 3:00 a.m., at 9166 Cordell Drive, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.A. * (Heart attack)
Spouse: Louise Treadwell (m. September 12, 1923 - June 10, 1967) (his death)
Son: John Tracy (b. John Ten Broeck Tracy, June 26, 1924,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - d. June 15, 2007, at approximately
7:30 p.m., Acton, California, of natural causes)
Daughter: Louise Treadwell Tracy (a.k.a. Susie Tracy) (b. July 1, 1932)
Father: John Edward Tracy (in the trucking business)
Mother: Caroline "Carrie" (Brown) Tracy
Burial site: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.A. **
Error corrections or clarifications
* Spencer Tracy died in a guest house
on the grounds of George Cukor's estate, not
at Spencer's own home at 1158 Tower Road, in Beverly
Hills. Argument could certainly be made that he died
on St. Ives Drive in Beverly Hills. This is due to the
fact that the Cukor estate includes several homes
covering several acres, stretching from Cordell Drive
on the north, to St. Ives Drive on the south.
Most sources erroneously report "6:00 a.m." as his
time of death. This was later discovered to be a cover
story to conceal the fact that the still-married Tracy,
was with Katharine Hepburn at the time of his death.
(Their decades long affair was still not public
knowledge at that time.) Hepburn later admitted she
was with him at 3:00 a.m., the time of his death.
** Spencer Tracy is not buried in
"Glenvale," California as several online sources
report. His gravesite is located in Glendale,
California, which is just north of Los Angeles.
Spencer Tracy was one of the most venerated American
actors in history. It wasn't just the movie-going public
that held him in such high regard. His fellow actors
also consider him one of the greatest actors of the
20th century. The enormous respect and admiration
he commanded was well-deserved. He was the first
actor to ever win back-to-back Oscars for Captains
Courageous, in 1937, and Boys Town, in 1938 (a record
matched only by Tom Hanks more than half a century
later). Spence garnered a total of nine Academy
Award nominations, which is more than any actor in
In addition to the aforementioned motion pictures,
other notable film credits include, The Power and
the Glory (1933), Dante's Inferno (1935), San
Francisco (1936), Stanley and Livingstone (1939),
Northwest Passage (1940), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(1941), Woman of the Year (1942), Thirty Seconds
Over Tokyo (1944), State of the Union (1948), The
People Against O'Hara (1951), Pat and Mike (1952)
and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).
He delivered some of his most memorable work when
teamed with Katharine Hepburn onscreen. Their
undeniable chemistry was clearly evident, and led
to a long series of film collaborations that
established them as one of the screen's greatest
pairings. It wasn't long before their onscreen
chemistry spilled over into their private lives.
Tracy and Hepburn entered into an offscreen romance
which continued for the remainder of Tracy's life.
They successfully carried on their decades long
affair in secrecy. It was not public knowledge
until years later. Katharine Hepburn later revealed
she was actually with him at the time of his death.
As a devout Catholic, Spencer Tracy had refused to
divorce his wife, even though they'd lived apart
In 1924, Tracy's son John was born deaf. This led to
his wife's desire to help deaf children and their
families. Louise Tracy founded the John Tracy Clinic
in September of 1942 to provide services, free of
charge, for deaf children ages one to five years
and their families. It was she who insisted that
the Clinic's services be offered free of charge.
Spencer supported her work with the Clinic and was
its sole source of financial support in the beginning.
He personally donated in excess of half a million
dollars to the Clinic over the years. The John Tracy
Clinic continues its commendable mission today.
The most in-depth of more than three dozen
sources consulted in preparing this
Me: Stories of My Life, Katharine Hepburn's 1991 autobiography
Tracy and Hepburn: An Intimate Memoir, by Garson Kanin (1970)
Spencer Tracy: Tragic Idol, by Bill Davidson (1987)
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