In 1945 Tracy returned to the stage to star in Garson Kanin's "The Rugged Path". The play toured Washington DC, Boston, and New York, but closed after 81 performances.  The close of the decade found him in England, shooting "Edward My Son" with Deborah Kerr.  The film was not a success, but the delightful "Adam's Rib", his sixth film with Katharine Hepburn, was one of the top grossers of 1949.
Tracy in 1958
Tracy's son John graduated from college, and was married in 1953. On May 30, 1955 a boy, Joseph Spencer, was born to John and his wife Nadine, making Tracy a proud grandfather.

With 1954's "Bad Day at Black Rock" Tracy completed his contract with the MGM studio, and would go on to freelance for Columbia, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century-Fox.

In the early 1960s Tracy was to give two of his finest performances - as defense attorney Henry Drummond in "Inherit the Wind", and as Judge Dan Hayward in "Judgment at Nuremburg".  Both films were directed by Stanley Kramer and Tracy was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for each role (his seventh and eighth nominations).

Tracy's health began to fail; he was hospitalized with a congested lung condition in 1963, and was forced to turn down roles in several films in the following years.  In 1967 he began work on what would be his final film, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", co-starring Hepburn and directed by Stanley Kramer.  His work-days were limited to just a few hours at a time - he had the enthusiasm and desire to work, but not the stamina.  His main fear was that he would hurt the film and all those involved by not being able to finish it, but finish it he did.  It was as if he had been hanging on for that reason alone; on June 10, 1967, three weeks after filming was completed, Spencer Tracy died of heart failure at his home in the Hollywood Hills.


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