William Lee Tracy was an American actor. Tracy was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied electrical engineering at Union College, and then he served as a 2nd lieutenant in World War I. In the early 1920s he decided to work as an actor. He became a Broadway star by way of his starring role in the original 1924 production of George Kelly’s play The Show-Off.
He arrived in Hollywood in 1929, where he played the role of newspapermen in quite a number of pictures. He played reporter Hildy Johnson in the original 1928 stage production of The Front Page and a Walter Winchell-type gossip columnist in 1932’s Blessed Event. Tracy starred as the columnist in Advice to the Lovelorn, very loosely based on the novel Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West.
He played The Buzzard, the criminal who leads Liliom into a fatal robbery, in the 1930 film version of Liliom. He also played Lupe Velez’s frenetic manager in Gregory LaCava’s
The Half-Naked Truth in 1932, and the following year portrayed John Barrymore’s agent in Dinner at Eight, directed by George Cukor.