• 1 December 1917
  •  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

William Tracy


Pittsburgh-born actor William Tracy was born on December 1, 1917, and began performing professionally as a youth. Trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Art, he appeared in musical and comedy roles until his big break arrived in 1937 at age 19 when he took over the role of fidgety military school "plebe" Misto Bottome in the hit Broadway show "Brother Rat." The following year he recreated the role in the film version of Brother Rat (1938) that had him in good standing company alongside up-and-coming Warner Bros. actors Wayne Morris, Priscilla Lane, Eddie Albert (also from the Broadway show) and both Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, who would marry a short time later. William's second film assignment for Warners was playing 'Pat O'Brien' (I)'s as a young adult in the classic yarn Angels with Dirty Faces (1938). Hal Roach saw promise in the tousle-haired, innocent-looking youth with the slightly squealy voice and signed him up for a some WWII comedy programmers teamed up with actor Joe Sawyer. He and the tough-looking Sawyer played Sgts. "Dodo" Doubleday and William Ames, respectively, in the flimsy but amusing misadventures of two soldiers at odds with each other. Tracy's character has a photographic memory which steers him into all sorts of unexpected trouble. Audiences took to the harmless escapism and Roach obliged by churning out more of these lowbudgets, recreating the characters in About Face (1942), Hay Foot (1942), Fall In (1942) and Yanks Ahoy (1943). Tracy is best remembered for playing the lead role in the film adaptation of the popular comic strip Terry and the Pirates (1940). Featured roles in such classics as The Shop Around the Corner (1940), Tobacco Road (1941), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and George Washington Slept Here (1942) also endeared him to the public usually enacting an amiable but somewhat dull-witted fellow. Offers started drying up in post war years, however, and an attempt to re-team Tracy and Sawyer's sergeant characters with As You Were (1951) and Mr. Walkie Talkie (1952) fell flat. Tracy went on to appear on TV and was featured in the series cast of Terry and the Pirates (1952), not as the lead this time but in the role of Hotshot Charlie. From there he faded away into relative obscurity. He died in 1967 at age 49 in Los Angeles.


Movie Name Release Date
Ερωτική φωλιά – The Shop Around the Corner (1940) January 12, 1940