Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Born Today December 1: William Tracy


Born in Pittsburgh, Penn. he was a child actor on the stage; his one and only silent role came as an 8 year, but what a movie it was!  He was the child rat catcher in the extremely famous silent of 1925 The Phantom Of The Opera, starring "the man of thousand faces" Lon Chaney Sr.  He did a stint on Broadway in his late teens and gained attention in 1937.  Well, of course, Hollywood beckoned.  He is probably best known, at least to my mind,  for his role as Sgt. Dorian "Dodo" Doubleday, in a series of late Hal Roach comedies known as Hal Roach's Streamliners, a war time series.  In 1941 he also appeared in two famous director's films:  John Ford's Tobacco Road and Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. and Mrs. Smith (infamously remade with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie).  After the second world war, his star started to wane.  Efforts to revive his career as a character actor fell flat.  He did manage to do quite a bit of television after this that included:  Dragnet and Perry Mason, The one that he is the most famous for, actually starred in, was Terry And The Pirates.  He died of unknown causes on 18 June 1967 at the young age of 49 in Hollywood.  He is buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, a cemetery with a very strange history.

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