Biography

A professional actor since childhood, Philadelphia-born William Tracy came to Hollywood in his Broadway role as a military school "plebe" in Brother Rat (1938). Kept briefly under contract to Warner Bros, Tracy went on to play Pat O'Brien as a boy in the classic gangster saga Angels with Dirty Faces. The cherub-faced actor then went on to Hal Roach Studios, where he costarred in several "streamliners" (45 minute films, designed for double-feature bills) with Joe Sawyer. In such slick little comedies as Tanks a Million (1941), About Face (1941) and Yanks Ahoy (1942), Tracy played a rookie serviceman with a photographic memory, while Sawyer played his tough topkick. An attempt to recreate the team in 1951 with a pair of Lippert Studios quickies, As You Were! and Mister Walkie Talkie, sank without a trace. Tracy's other big-screen role of note was as Terry Lee in the serialized movie version of Milton Caniff's comic strip Terry and the Pirates (1940). William Tracy spent the remainder of his career in the '50s and '60s in small movie and TV supporting parts, save for a worthwhile costarring stint with John Russell in the popular 1955 syndicated TV adventure show Soldiers of Fortune. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi