One Of The Greatest Actors
Spencer Tracy

Universally regarded among the screen's greatest actors, Spencer Tracy was a most unlikely leading man. Stocky, craggy-faced, and gruff, he could never be considered a matinee idol, yet few stars enjoyed greater or more consistent success. An uncommonly versatile performer, his consistently honest and effortless performances made him a favorite of both audiences and critics throughout a career spanning well over three decades. Born April 5, 1900, in Milwaukee, WI, Tracy was expelled from some 15 different elementary schools prior to attending Rippon College, where he discovered and honed a talent for debating; eventually, he considered acting as a logical extension of his skills, and went on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first professional work cast him as a robot in a stage production of R.U.R. at a salary of ten dollars a week. He made his Broadway debut in 1923's A Royal Fandango and later co-starred in a number of George M. Cohan vehicles. Tracy's performance as an imprisoned killer in 1930's The Last Mile made him a stage star, and during its Broadway run he made a pair of shorts for Vitaphone, The Hard Guy and Taxi Talks. Screen tests for MGM, Universal, and Warners were all met with rejection, however, but when John Ford insisted on casting Tracy as the lead in his prison drama Up the River, Fox offered a five-year contract.

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