Before Spencer Tracy made it big in Hollywood, he starred on Broadway and had a decent run at the Fox Film Corporation, but after he made the move to the Metro Goldwyn Mayer studio, Tracy went on to star in eight roles that would define his career. During his three-decade run of success, Tracy played a man bent on revenge, a couple of priests, and a fisherman.
Here is a look at eight of Tracy's most important roles.
1. Joe Wilson in "Fury"
Although Tracy had appeared in more than two dozen films before this 1936 feature, he made his first big mark playing Joe Wilson, a man bent on revenge after he's mistaken for a kidnapper.
2. Father Tim Mullin in "San Francisco"
Clark Gable was the star of this disaster movie, but Tracy – in the role of Father Mullin – garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, despite the fact Tracy was only on the screen for about 15 minutes.
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3. Manuel in "Captains Courageous"
Tracy earned his first Oscar for Best Actor in this 1937 film for his portrayal of a Portuguese fisherman named Manuel who rescues a young boy out of the ocean.
4. Father Edward Flanagan in "Boys Town"
For the second straight year, Tracy won the Oscar for Best Actor, and in doing so, he cemented himself as one of the top actors of his time. Tracy played Father Edward Flanagan, the real-life priest who helped save troubled boys from the dangers of the street while trying to set them on a righteous path for their futures.
5. Sam Craig in "Woman of the Year"
This was the first time Tracy collaborated with Katharine Hepburn as the two played rival reporters who fall in love before encountering marital difficulties. Not only did the two garner strong reviews, the duo began a frequent on-screen partnership that produced nine films.
6. Stanley Banks in "Father of the Bride"
Tracy received his first Oscar award nomination in more than a decade for this 1950 film in which he plays Stanley Banks and prepares for the wedding of his daughter, played by Elizabeth Taylor. The movie also spawned a sequel starring Tracy called "Father's Little Dividend."
7. Chief Judge Dan Haywood in "Judgment at Nuremberg"
By the time this movie was released at the end of 1961, Tracy wasn't in great health. But, as Chief Judge Dan Haywood, he delivered a performance that earned him yet another Oscar nomination.
8. Matt Drayton in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
This was Tracy's final movie, as he died 17 days after his final scene in 1967, but he garnered his ninth Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Matt Drayton, whose daughter wanted to marry a black man.
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