Best known for his roles in popular films from the 1930s to the 1960s, Tracy was also a diabetic. He was secretly diagnosed with diabetes in the late 1940s and it is likely complications of this disease that led to his death only nine weeks after “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” finished filming in 1967. At the time, Tracy believed public knowledge of his illness could have an adverse impact on his acting career.
Tracy, often maligned for his less-than-perfect looks, won back-to-back Oscars for his work on “Captains Courageous” (1937) and “Boys Town” (1938). He also painted in oils and worked for a number of causes, including animal welfare and children’s charities.