Spencer & Katharine Tracy & Hepburn

Spencer & Katharine Tracy & Hepburn

Love story
Country: USA

Love Story

This star-studded romance lasted almost thirty years. He was America's most popular movie star, a womanizer and a heavy drinker. She was an actress with a feisty personality, a hysterical, and a nymphomaniac. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn graced the front pages of newspapers, and journalists even used photo montage to add another woman to the picture - Louise Tredwell, Tracy's legal wife, whom he had no intention of divorcing. Every drinking binge started the same way: Spencer would get out of bed, kiss his wife tenderly, and start packing his suitcase. The contents of his suitcase would have impressed any Irishman: it was filled with bottles of "Johnny Walker". He would then quickly shave, pour half a bottle of cologne down his collar, and head straight to the bus station for the Los Angeles - New York route. He was terrified of airplanes and would only willingly get on a plane if he had a gun to his head. At worst, he would have to be dead drunk. The trip to New York often took longer than Tracy had anticipated: he would sometimes get into fights with passengers or even the bus driver. Over the years, Tracy had become acquainted with every bush along the highway - he was often kicked out in the middle of the road. In those instances, he had to get rid of his disguise: dark glasses, a scarf covering half of his face, a hat, and a high collar. When drivers caught sight of his famous unruly hair and the crude smirk with which the heartthrob raised his raised his middle finger, they would immediately stop their cars and offer him a ride: "Oh my god, I can't believe my eyes! Please, have a seat. Can I get an autograph for my wife? Well, I'm the one behind the wheel, but it's an honor to meet you..." Upon arriving in New York, Tracy would go to the same hotel - the "Blue Moon", where a room was always reserved for him. He would close the door, get into the bathtub, and not leave the room until his suitcase was empty. Sometimes this voluntary imprisonment lasted a week, sometimes a little less. The staff had studied this strange ritual in detail - it happened year after year. The first couple of days, the actor would diligently drink whiskey, staring at the cracks in the bathroom tiles. After some time, he would be consumed by wild and baseless anger, and the maids would rush to the key counter and listen to the drunken shouts and the sound of furniture breaking. Chairs and nightstands would fly out of the windows, and the hotel owner, Maurizio, an elderly Italian man, would listen to this symphony of chaos with a blissful smile: each of Tracy's benders brought him more money than an entire floor of tourists. When the actor came to his senses, he would generously pay for all the damages. Maurizio would not miss this opportunity: "Your neighbor threatened to sue, Mr. Tracy, we will resolve everything, but it will require a lot of money. And the chair that you kindly threw down the stairs was an antique, from the 18th century, from France. And the bulldog that you kicked, died; it was a very expensive breed." Tracy had no recollection of any bulldog, and he wouldn't have paid a dime for the damaged chair with its burnt upholstery, but in exchange for the silence, he would write checks - and his antics in the "Blue Moon" never made it to the press. After dealing with all the problems, he would return to his room and finish his supplies, bringing with him a middle-aged Irish chambermaid. Only she, over the years, could listen to his drunken complaints, pouring glass after glass alongside her fellow countryman. Sally was over fifty and had no pity for the famous actor: as long as he poured and paid regularly, she didn't care. She considered Tracy a spoiled child of fate, a thoroughly corrupted person, but... damn, he was charming! Over the years, Sally had memorized all of his favorite stories and came to one simple conclusion: he hadn't been spanked enough as a child. No, by God, if her own son had tried to set their house on fire after getting a couple of well-deserved slaps, the boy would have been one child less, that's it. And these smarmy parents, especially the mother, would just encourage and cover up the boy's actions. No wonder he spent his time chasing frightened tourists through the narrow hallways of the hotel. Spencer Tracy, the son of devout Irish Catholics who had fled to America during the Great Famine, was indeed a rare breed. Red-haired and freckled, he teased his friends for no reason at all, ate charcoal as a dare, and called teachers "damn rats" before running away from school to go to a pub. He preferred the boring tales of Beowulf and the first settlers, which they drilled into him at school, to stories about the wife-snake and the neighbor-villain that regulars at the pubs willingly shared. When Spencer saw himself heading towards his favorite refuge - a coal heap in a vacant lot behind the houses - his loyal friends would follow suit without even consulting each other: there was going to be a show. Imitating tipsy drunks, Spencer would retell what he had heard, making up funny details on the spot, and his friends would roll with laughter. And one day, he announced that he would show them something unusual, but not for free - pay up, and let's go. In an abandoned basement, the audience witnessed a performance called "How I Set My Own House on Fire". Spencer jumped around, laughing with a demonic voice and grinning like a horror movie villain Boris Karloff, throwing imaginary firewood into the imaginary fire - it was a complete success. Spencer changed schools fifteen times, ran away from home several times, and his parents eventually gave up on him. His father wasn't known for his meek character either - he preferred football and whiskey to any form of entertainment - but when he looked at his son, he just shook his head. One moment, Spencer would decide to become a priest, and a week later, he would give it all up for a basketball team; or he would join a boxing club, only to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He never went to sea, but he got a thorough drilling: gritting his teeth, Spencer scrubbed the decks and cleaned the toilets. His service in the fleet had an unexpected result: when he returned, he announced that he wanted to become an actor. Tracy Sr. couldn't take it - he gave his son a slap in the face and kicked him out of the house in all directions: he considered all actors to be scumbags and potential pedophiles. The young Irishman ended up in New York just as the Great Depression began. Thousands of bankrupt families, closed factories, failed banks - and right next door, bootleggers, fancy vaudeville theaters, casinos, and music halls. Spencer got a job as a janitor in an expensive movie theater, which gave him the opportunity to watch movies for free. This was when he first realized the advantages of his education: if he had dropped out of school, he wouldn't have been able to read the titles of silent films. After living on rice and water for several years, Tracy landed a role in a low-budget Broadway production - $10 a week and not a single line. But soon the play was closed, and he lost faith in the justice of fate: "The impostors, who aren't even a tenth as talented as me, are playing on Broadway, while I have to pound the pavements of provincial theaters," he explained to a fellow traveler on the way to his next audition. The fellow traveler turned out to be a leading actress at the very theater he was heading to and was completely charmed by her new acquaintance: he was so attentive, so sincere, so brave! Tracy got the part, and the attractive brunette got a husband: six months later, Spencer Tracy and Louise Tredwell got married, and a year later, they had a son named John Tracy, after his grandfather. Spencer was happy - like all Irishmen, he had always dreamed of having a son. With his last bit of money, he bought toys for his firstborn and sang lullabies before bed. But the little boy didn't want to fall asleep - ten months later, it turned out that Johnny was deaf. This news deeply shocked Spencer - he instantly believed it was divine retribution for past transgressions, for strong Irish lads don't have defective children unless the Lord himself wills it. Tracy drew a rather unique conclusion from this - now he wasn't worth anything, and he embarked on his first bender. He would wreck bars, beat up waiters, and became a regular at the two most famous brothels in Manhattan - there were plenty of ways to forget his troubles in New York, and Tracy was eager to try them all. Months-long binges were followed by periods of incredible productivity: Tracy acted like a man possessed, not shying away from even the smallest roles in off-Broadway productions. The young actor was noticed on Broadway and then in Hollywood, and soon "Fox" studios signed him to a four-year contract worth an incredible $350,000, and film critics dubbed Tracy the most promising newcomer in Hollywood. He finally started to believe in his lucky star - after all, both his father and his first agent had repeatedly told him, "You're too ugly for the screen." Spencer would show up on set in a rumpled suit, and the director's assistants would scrunch up their noses at the smell of whiskey, cheap cigarettes, and cologne. But as soon as the camera started rolling, Tracy would transform - graceful movements, a slightly tired gaze, a grin lurking in the corner of his mouth. He didn't look anything like the sweet screen heartthrobs: he had big ears and a nose with a bump - the guy resembled a mid-level gangster. But his audacious charm would make his female co-stars lose their heads: newspapers were filled with photographs of Tracy, embracing yet another actress in a Brooklyn restaurant. Reporters who brought scandalous pictures were paid double: as soon as Tracy spotted a camera, he would usually smash it over the head of the unlucky hunter of sensations.
Louise tried not to notice news of her husband's infidelity, even when he seduced a fifteen-year-old starlet. But after Tracy started appearing everywhere with the famous actress Loretta Young and even bought a luxurious suit just for her, she finally filed for divorce. The affair ended without any consequences - Loretta was married and a Catholic, and her confessor promised her eternal damnation for seeking a divorce and remarrying. Reporters couldn't miss such a sensation: hiding in thick bushes, a photographer from "The New York Times" captured Tracy's solemn face as he rang the doorbell of his mansion on Cony Island after a year of separation. The spouses didn't swear eternal fidelity, but they decided for themselves that there would be no more divorces - they had to think about the children (by that time, Louise had given birth to a healthy baby girl, despite her husband's concerns). Tracy broke his contract with "Fox" studios in a fit of rage and immediately signed a new one with "MGM" corporation. His fee now amounted to $5000 a week, and in 1938 he was awarded an "Oscar" for his role as a Portuguese fisherman in the film "Captains Courageous". Tracy was in the hospital, and Louise went on stage to accept the statuette. The film industry laughed, but Louise, with a steady voice, announced: "I accept this award on behalf of Spencer, on behalf of our children - and on my own behalf," and received a standing ovation. If the movie industry knew what Spencer was up to at the time, they would have burst into laughter at the poor woman. Spencer watched the award ceremony on the hospital TV. By his side, holding his hand, was Katharine Hepburn - the woman who would share his life with his legal wife until the very end... They met while filming the movie "Woman of the Year" (about a journalist falling in love with a rough sports writer) - the director decided that he couldn't find a better pairing. The actors, however, thought differently. Even Tracy, who didn't care who his co-star was, hesitated, saying, "Well, we seem to be quite different." Katherine, a self-centered brunette, who had won an "Oscar" and had a love affair with Howard Hughes, was horrified: to play opposite this scoundrel?
And indeed, it was hard to imagine two more different people. Tracy grew up in the dumps of a small town, while Hepburn came from the famous Houghton family, which owned the largest glass factory in the country, and she had spent her childhood in luxury. He was a devout Catholic, she had always mocked religion. He could barely read, she received an excellent education at Oxford, knew several languages, won a medal at figure skating championships, was the second best tennis player in Missouri, and one of the most promising female golfers in the country. He was seven years older than her. She couldn't stand alcoholics.
After their first meeting, an old friend of Tracy's suggested a bet: how soon would Spencer sleep with her? Tracy recalled his impressions (a firm handshake, a suit with a masculine cut, pursed lips) and exploded, "Sleep with a lesbian? Who do you think I am?!" He lost the bet.
Their work together resembled a duel: who would conquer whom. Katherine demanded numerous retakes to better get into character, while Spencer turned red and muttered, "How boring! A real actor gets it right on the first try." The director's assistants paled and wondered who would give up first. She got angry with her co-star for his constant lateness, and once she personally dragged him out of a bar and onto the set, scolding him like a child. Faced with such insistence, Tracy was completely flustered and, in response to one of her most annoyed tirades, invited Katharine to have dinner with him - he thought he would get rid of this shrew, but she accepted.
Katharine went on the date out of pure curiosity - word had gotten around about how easily Tracy seduced women, and it had reached her ears. Well, of course, she wasn't thinking about a romance. Maybe just a little flirtation... But instead of his usual flirting, Spencer unexpectedly opened up, and Katherine began to tell Tracy things she had never told anyone before. Whether it was because of a bottle of sherry or the genuine interest in Spencer's eyes - who knows... But he was genuinely intrigued: young Spencer liked to peek into the windows of expensive mansions, and here was a socialite herself baring her soul! And on top of that, she was quite attractive...
Kate, Catty, Katherine had the misfortune of being born into a quite eccentric family. Her mother, a staunch suffragette, hated order and domestic comfort, and she attended her own wedding in a somber black dress and spent most of her married life on protest marches fighting for women's rights. Kate and her two brothers were always trailing behind her. When the girl was barely eight years old, her mother brought her into her father's study and gave her a detailed description of sexual intercourse and all its consequences. "So, to have a child, you don't have to get married? - the little girl asked after a moment of silence. And she surprised her mother with an unexpected conclusion: - Well, that's good." Her parents often walked around the house naked, and no one was bothered by it - modesty was not considered a virtue in the Hepburn household. Kate preserved her virginity until the age of 23 but willingly posed naked for her numerous admirers.
Katherine recounted that her first man was a twenty-year-old alcoholic poet (later, he would receive the Nobel Prize and send her a volume of his poems with a touching inscription "Nothing would have worked out without you"). She also mentioned that she was almost expelled from college for smoking on the roof of the dormitory. "For smoking? That's all?" - Tracy asked, astonished. "Well, actually, I wasn't wearing much. I mean, I wasn't wearing anything at all," Katherine explained. And, sobbing, she was about to reveal a terrible tragedy that had haunted her to this day, but Tracy, seeing tears on her cheek, interrupted her and took her out to dinner together - he thought he would teach this woman a lesson, but she agreed.
Katherine went on the date out of pure curiosity - word had gotten around about how easily Tracy seduced women, and it had reached her ears. Well, of course, she wasn't thinking about a romance. Maybe just a little flirtation... But instead of his usual flirting, Spencer unexpectedly opened up, and Katherine began to tell Tracy things she had never told anyone before. Whether it was because of a bottle of sherry or the genuine interest in Spencer's eyes - who knows... But he was genuinely intrigued: young Spencer liked to peek into the windows of expensive mansions, and here was a socialite herself baring her soul! And on top of that, she was quite attractive...
Katherine told him that her first man was a twenty-year-old alcoholic poet (later, he would receive the Nobel Prize and send her a volume of his poems with a touching inscription "Nothing would have worked out without you"). She also mentioned that she was almost expelled from college for smoking on the roof of the dormitory. "For smoking? That's all?" - Tracy asked, astonished. "Well, actually, I wasn't wearing much. I mean, I wasn't wearing anything at all," Katherine explained. And, sobbing, she was about to reveal a terrible tragedy that had haunted her to this day, but Tracy, seeing tears on her cheek, interrupted her and took her out to dinner together - he thought he would teach this woman a lesson, but she agreed.

Spencer & Katharine Tracy & Hepburn

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