By James Curtis
Knopf, $39.95, 1001 pages
Spencer Tracy was one of the giants on the American movie screen. His roles ranged over a variety of characters and his successful career spanned decades. Audiences across generations fell in love with his acting and the often simple characters that he portrayed. In this massive biography, James Curtis thoroughly explores the life of Spencer Tracy. From starting off as a young man at Ripon College in the theater department to working as a stock player before he got his big break on Broadway. After becoming a Broadway star he moved to Hollywood and made his appearance in the movies. It was the height of the contract studio system, when stars made so many pictures a year and were paid a certain rate. He would struggle until his big break came in Fury directed by Fritz Lang. After that he would go on to make dozens of other classic movies, and have a long affair with Katherine Hepburn.
This is an immense work. Mr. Curtis goes into great detail about Tracy’s life, partners, and family problems. The writing style is easy to follow even though the book is long. If you want to get inside the mind of Spencer Tracy this is your book.