Spencer Tracy

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In 1930, Broadway was being heavily scouted for actors to work in the "talkies", the new medium of sound film. Tracy was cast in two Vitaphone short movies (Taxi Talks and The Hard Guy), but he had not considered becoming a film actor: "I had no ambition in that direction and I was perfectly happy on the stage", he later explained in an interview. One of the scouts who saw Tracy in The Last Mile was director John Ford. Ford wanted Tracy for the lead role in his next picture, a prison movie. Production company Fox Film Corporation were unsure about Tracy, saying that he did not photograph well, but Ford convinced them that he was right for the role. Up the River (1930) marked the film debut of both Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. After seeing the rushes, Fox immediately offered Tracy a long-term contract. Knowing that he needed the money for his family—his young son was deaf and recovering from polio—Tracy signed with Fox and moved to California. He appeared on the stage again only once more in his life.