wonderful actor, Spencer Tracy. He was one of the
greatest actors Hollywood ever produced. There
have been a lot of very good actors, and then there
are a few brilliant performers, and he was one. And
the funny thing is, I don’t think it’s anything you can
learn. I think you have to have a sort of gift for it, and
then you have to have a certain amount of
Don’t you think it’s a profession that
takes a lot of hard work? The hours are
Yes. The hours are long, but it’s great fun. I think the
motion picture industry is fun. The theater is tough
because you have the repetition. And then there is
working at night. I can’t be working at night. I don’t
mind getting up early in the morning to go to work.
(She brought up the following):
We couldn’t get into the water in Africa (because
of diseases), so we had a tank built on Friday, and we
were supposed to shoot scenes on Monday. On
Sunday night the side gave way and the water
knocked this huge, huge door down. It twisted a
crane. We would have been killed had we been in
African Queen was a tough
one to make?
Well, everythings tough.
There’s always something.
Are there any movies that you were
particularly fond of?
Oh, I was fond of many of them. I thought Little
Women was good. Woman of the Year and a lot
of other ones I did with Spencer Tracy we had a
lot of fun doing. I thought Lion in Winter was a
damned good picture. Sometimes you guess
absolutely wrong. African Queen was a great deal
of fun. I said I would do this script, but I won’t do
it unless you do it in Africa and I think Huston
thought the same thing, only Huston wanted to
kill an elephant. He was always getting a lot out
of whatever he did. He had his little side trips
planned out ahead of time. He was a funny man.
You took some chances when you
went hunting for the elephants?
With him I did. John couldn’t hit that tree right
there. (She points to a casuarina 10 yards away.)
He was a terrible shot. I’ll never forget walking
through that jungle with him. There were six of
us. But he was fun. Johnny was the most fun. And
he was no dummy. Very bright.
Was he the best director you ever
He was an excellent director. I thought he was
sort of an ass. I’ve always believed that you
should be as good as you could possibly be at
anything. And I felt he should have worked more
seriously on the script. I think he worked as
seriously as he could. John used to get bored. I
thought the end of the African Queen just
What about Spencer Tracy?
We had lots of fun together. A lot of people
thought we worked our (scenes) out together.
We never did that at all. We never rehearsed.
together. Never rehearsed a scene together, isn’t
I don’t know. He never cared to talk too much
about it or do too much about it, so it would take
us both by surprise when we did it. He was a