There is so much gossip jam-packed into this book, that it’s hard to know what NOT to discuss without rewriting the entire thing.

I’m going to start by stepping out on a limb here and assuming that you all have at least heard of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. If not….then I really can’t help you today. Come back when you’ve found out. 🙂 Some of you may also know that they had a 25 year love affair while Spencer was still married to his wife Louise. If, as I assumed, you do know who these actors are, you probably even have “your” Spencer Tracy film and “your” Hepburn film.  For me, those are Captain’s Courageous and African Queen respectively.

As far as the actual content of the book is concerned, it is structured like a standard biography.  The first main chapter deals with Hepburn’s growing up years, and the second deals with Tracy’s. The rest, is a loosely chronological account of their relationship and careers. Instead of summarizing everything, here are a few things I learned which I thought were interesting.

  • The fact that they both led very private lives away from the public helped in keeping the affair a secret even though everyone in the industry knew about it.
  • Katharine’s mother was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood.
  • Spencer was easily paranoid.  Flying gave him panic attacks, and any set-back in life or any bouts of loneliness caused him to go into weeks-long alcoholic binges.
  • Katherine was not the first actress that Spencer cheated with. Among his other Hollywood exploits were Loretta Young, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly.
  • Before going into acting, Katherine and a couple friends enjoyed burgling houses. This only ended after she nearly fell to her death stepping through a skylight.
  • Spencer had very strict ideas about manliness and refused to wear makeup in films.
  • During the filming of African Queen, in defiance of Humphrey Bogart’s heavy drinking, she only drank water…tons of water.  Kate got severe dysentery, while Bogey did not.
  • Spencer is the one who gave Humphrey Bogart the nickname “Bogey.”

While the title is a nod to the Golden Age of Hollywood, I feel like it could have been a bit more original.  Especially since the film of the same name had nothing to do with either of these two actors.

Rating = 3


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