Tracy and Hepburn, an Intimate Memoir by Garson Kanin (1971)

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Tracy and Hepburn, an Intimate Memoir
by Garson Kanin

Publisher:  The Viking Press
Copyright:  1971

Book Club Edition

"It was always Tracy and Hepburn," Garson Kanin recalls.  The billing never changed:  the gentleman proceeded the lady.  Once, when the celebrated author-director chided Spencer Tracy for his insistence on first billing, Spencer Tracy said, "Why not?" his face full of innocence.  "Well, after all," his friend replied, "she's the lady.  You're the man.  Ladies first?"  "This is a movie, chowderhead," said Spence, "not a lifeboat."

They were one couple everyone knew of but no one really knew anything about.  What kept these two -- so opposite in taste and technique -- so fiercely together for twenty-seven years?

Garson Kanin remained close to the two great stars throughout their long friendship.  He has shared his experience and his affection for them with us by recounting -- through personal anecdotes as unpredictable and astonishing as Tracy and Hepburn themselves -- the times -- troubled, hectic, or satisfying -- that they spent in Hollywood, New York, London, and Paris and how it is for Kate today.

Kanin gives us his Kate -- the born eccentric, charming, brilliantly inventive, and determined -- as she conquers every obstacle:  getting around a no-ladies-in-trousers rule in a stuffy London hotel; dealing with a surprise "coaching" session from John Barrymore; persuading the entire crew on a New York construction site to cease drilling during her major number in the Coco matinees across the street.

Here is Spence, the greatest screen actor of his generation:  sharp, magnanimous, joking, tense, he receives an unforgettable lesson in projection from Laurette Taylor, inspiration from George M. Cohan; he forces the desegregation of Washington D.C.'s National Theater; he becomes an involuntary member of an acrobatic act at the Lido in Paris.

This book is a joyous tribute to two extraordinary people.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover is lightly discolored and shows scuffing and rubbed edges.  Pages may be tanning from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.

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    • ISBN 0670722936
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