Oct 23, 2007

John Tracy, 1924-2007

So much sadness this month.

John Tracy, only son of film legend Spencer Tracy and his wife Louise, died this summer at the age of 82. He is survived by his sister, Susie, son Joseph, and Joseph Tracy's family.

Born in Milwaukee, WI, in 1924, John arrived before his father's momentous transition from stage to film in 1930, but the realization that the boy was completely deaf and suffered from infant paralysis was a blow to his young parents, who were soon determined their son live as fulfilling and active a life as possible despite his conditions.

Many sources, including Spencer's longtime friend and romance Katharine Hepburn, have attributed Tracy's infamous bouts of alcoholism to depression over his son's condition, though Spence was, according to his wife and family, still very much interactive with John, continuing to read and sing to him as he grew. Mrs. Tracy deferred her acting career to care for the boy and his younger sister, Susie, striving to learn as much as possible to equip herself for the care and education of her son, and the family opened the John Tracy Clinic in 1942, offering free services and education to parents of children who are born with hearing impairments. Its sole benefactor at its outset was Spence himself, in constant support of and solidarity with wife Louise's efforts. The clinic still stands today in Los Angeles, California.

Spencer Tracy died of lung cancer in 1967; his wife died sixteen years later. John's sister, Susie, is living today at the age of 75 in Southern California.

You can learn more by visiting The John Tracy Clinic Online.