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Spencer Tracy : a biography
James Curtis
Adult Nonfiction PN2287.T7 C78 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hollywood craziness claims the least "Hollywood" of stars in this massive, eye-opening biography. Onscreen, in Boys Town to Judgment at Nuremberg, Tracy (1900-1967), was the unflashy everyman imbued with stolid rectitude, all embodied in the understated, naturalistic style that made Tracy Hollywood's greatest actor. Offscreen, in Curtis's unflinching but unsensationalized account, it's the full neurotic, out-of-control movie-star turn: the epic drinking that halted productions and landed Tracy in jail and detox; the careful modulation of mood with Nembutal and Dexedrine; the bedding of starlets from Ingrid Bergman to Gene Tierney; the humiliating struggle with weight; the affectations (like an English toff, Tracy played polo). Curtis fingers Tracy's Catholic self-loathing and irrational guilt over his son's deafness and gives his relationship with Katharine Hepburn-he hit and perhaps choked her during drunken rages-a nuanced treatment. Still, this thoroughly researched, at times over-stuffed biography, gives us a rich and definitive portrait of the actor in all his baffling contradictions. Photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Among his peers, Spencer Tracy (1900-67) was hailed as an actor's actor. Though he usually projected an outward air of confidence, he was plagued by periods of self-doubt, shyness, and insecurity; Catholic guilt; and drinking binges that affected his health and personal relationships. This exhaustive biography covers the full range of Tracy's life and career, from his Broadway triumph in the prison drama The Last Mile to his moving performance opposite his longtime love Katharine Hepburn in the 1967 drama Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (he died two weeks after completing it). Curtis (W.C. Fields) also covers Tracy's difficult, often long-distance marriage to Louise Treadwell; his role in parenting his deaf son, John; flings with Loretta Young and Gene Tierney; and, of course, his sometimes difficult but fruitful personal and professional relationship with Hepburn. VERDICT Written with the cooperation of Tracy's daughter and Katharine Hepburn's niece, this massive book is likely to be the definitive portrait of a deeply flawed person but a consummate actor whose ability to master multiple film genres made him one of the most popular stars of his time. Recommended for all film historians. [Three-city tour; see Prepub Alert, 4/4/11.]-Stephen Rees, formerly with Levittown Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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