With no specific plans upon his discharge, Tracy decided to take advantage of servicemen's education benefits and enrolled at Ripon College as a pre-med student. He joined the debating team and to his vast surprise enjoyed it immensely. Acting in school plays was the next logical step, and Tracy's first performance was a leading role, earning him praise in the school newspaper as an "unusually strong actor" with "steadiness...strength, and suppressed emotion."
Tracy was soon considering acting as a career, and auditioned at the Sargent school in New York. His father agreed to pay the tuition for the first semester, although he proclaimed that this acting "sounded like a silly idea." Tracy took a room in a lodging house. His roomate was another Sargent student, by the name of Pat O'Brien. The two survived on 30 dollars a month, and a frequent diet was pretzels and water. Tracy later said he studied dramatics "like I'd never studied anything before in my life" - primarily because he was sure he wouldn't be able to afford to attend classes for very long, and wanted to learn all he could as fast as possible.
Source: "The Complete Films
of Spencer Tracy" © Donald Deschner
Opening | Introduction | Films | Tracy&Hepburn | Gallery