“Hollywood Legend and Movie Actor Without Equal:
The Quintessential Photo-Bio Book on Spencer Tracy”
Patrick P. Stafford
Among classic films, Hollywood legends and the film industry’s leading men, since The Golden Age of Hollywood (also called Hollywood’s Golden Age and The Golden Age of Film) no doubt several luminaries come to mind. Add Oscar-winning movie star, screen legend and quintessential movie actor to this list, then at the top you pretty much have to insert the name Spencer Tracy. He was all these things and more, and during his heyday he was very much considered the actor’s actor and man’s man.
Among Spencer Tracy’s rivals for the title of top leading man in Hollywood during its Golden Age we can easily add the names of screen legends like Clark Gable, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, William Powell, Robert Taylor, Mickey Rooney and of course Humphrey Bogart. But when it comes to pure, natural acting, while also embodying the star qualities of rugged good looks and a strong, silent persona, no other leading man has the goods over on Tracy!
As it is, Tracy set all kinds of box-office and film-first records during and after The Golden Age of Hollywood. It included winning an Academy Award for Best Actor two years straight (for his role as Manuel in Captains Courageous in 1937 and for playing Father Flanagan in Boys Town in 1938) and receiving nine Best Actor nominations during a career as a Hollywood icon that spanned 37 years.
He starred in 75 feature movies and many short films and was named by the American Film Institute as the ninth greatest male movie star in the history of American cinema. All this, plus leading man roles with Katharine Hepburn in nine classic films and three co-leads with Clark Gable and it’s easy to see why Spencer Tracy remains a Hollywood legend and a movie actor without equal.
Besides leading men roles with screen legends Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn and other “A-list” and Academy Award actors during and after The Golden Age of Hollywood, Spencer Tracy became one of the most versatile and popular movie stars of the entire twentieth century. His incomparable films touched people in every walk of life and in every corner of the globe. He was simply the most natural actor in front of a camera and one who didn't need motivation like later performers from the “method” school of acting. Tracy ignored his Oscars and just went out there and talked and emoted. And he made audiences everywhere believe and feel every single word.
Now, nearly a half century after his death, attempts are still underway to explain the mystique of this two-time Oscar-winning Hollywood legend leading man and movie star whose classic film career and inimitable acting helped define Hollywood’s Golden Age. In fact, to help reveal the leading man behind the myth and in the interest of preserving Tracy's indelible memory and legacy, Brenda Loew, president of the New England Vintage Film Society, Inc., has compiled and authored an amazing book called Spencer Tracy, A Life in Pictures: Rare, Candid, and Original Photographs of the Hollywood Legend, His Family, and Career.
Spencer Tracy, A Life in Pictures: Rare, Candid, and Original Photographs of the Hollywood Legend, His Family, and Career is truly a unique pictorial history of the life, family and career of an actor and screen legend who excelled despite not having predictable movie star looks or leading man potential. The intimate photo-biography book is filled with more than 300 photos, including those with famous film actors Clark Gable and Katharine Hepburn and so many other film actors whose careers overlapped his own. And many photos are from sources which have never been previously seen or never reprinted since their original publication.
It is a remarkable and compelling visual chronicle created by Brenda Loew, and it includes rare images of Tracy's marriage to actress Louise Treadwell and their two children: John, who was born deaf, and his sister Susie. Of note: behind the scenes, Spencer Tracy faced personal and professional challenges without parallel or precedent. The images in Brenda Loew’s book of the film legend shed new light on the quintessential natural actor’s life, career, and family.
The introduction written on the jacket of Brenda Loew’s new book perhaps sums it up best: “Spencer Tracy, A Life in Pictures: Rare, Candid, and Original Photos of the Hollywood Legend, His Family, and Career offers an intimate pictorial view into both the professional and personal life of the Hollywood screen icon from childhood through college, his early acting years on stage, in the Hollywood studio system, through the popular Katharine Hepburn period, to his later roles as a film legend.”
As part of the foreword to Brenda’s photo-bio compilation tome the mother of Spencer’s two great grandsons has this to say about her famous great grandfather:
Spencer Tracy simply was every character he played on the silver screen. He was known as the "actors actor," a master of his craft. As members of the Tracy Family, we are grateful to Brenda Loew for putting together this amazing photo book of Spencer Tracy for all the world to enjoy. His memory and legacy live on in this intimate portrait of a man and a life that was fully lived.
--Cyndi Tracy & the Spencer Tracy Family
It is all true, and is definitely a must-have for Spencer Tracy admirers and fans, classic film aficionados and serious film students and people who work in the film industry. It is also a photo legacy which biographers, historians, film makers and every American should be familiar and seriously want to own. To read more about Spencer Tracy, A Life in Pictures: Rare, Candid, and Original Photos of the Hollywood Legend, His Family, and Career and own a copy of Brenda Loew’s photo-bio tribute to Spencer Tracy, please visit and click here: amazon.com and/or Barnes & Noble online.
About the Author
Brenda Loew is the author of Spencer Tracy, Fox Film Actor: The Pre-Code Legacy of a Hollywood Legend and Playbills to Photoplays: Stage Performers Who Pioneered the Talkies. She is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the great-niece of the late theatre chain and entertainment mogul E. M. Loew.