Tracy, Kathleen

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Tracy, Kathleen


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Mitchell Lane Publishers, P.O. Box 196, Hockessin, DE 19707. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Journalist and author of nonfiction. Has worked as a portrait photographer for ten years and as a photojournalist.



(With Earl Greenwood) The Boy Who Would Be King, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Earl Greenwood) Elvis—Top Secret: The Untold Story of Elvis Presley's Secret FBI Files, Signet (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Jeff Rovin) Ellen DeGeneres Up Close: The Unauthorized Biography of the Hot New Star of ABC's Ellen, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Jeff Rovin) Kelsey Grammer: The True Story, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Jeff Rovin) The Essential Jackie Chan Sourcebook, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Home Brewed: The Drew Carey Story, Boulevard Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Antonio Banderas, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Jerry Seinfeld: The Entire Domain, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1998.

The Girl's Got Bite: An Unofficial Guide to Buffy's World, Renaissance Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1998, revised as The Girl's Got Bite: The Original Unauthorized Guide to Buffy's World, Completely Revised and Updated, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Matt Damon, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1998.

Ellen: The Real Story of Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1999.

Ricky Martin: Red-Hot and on the Rise!, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 1999.

Imus: America's Cowboy, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1999.

Jennifer Lopez, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Neve Campbell, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Daytime Divas: The Dish on Dozens of Daytime TV's Great Ladies, Renaissance Books (Los Angeles, CA), 2000.

Angelina Jolie, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Regis!: The Unauthorized Biography, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Welcome to the Dixie Chicks Photo Biography, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Diana Rigg: The Biography, BenBella Books (Dallas, TX), 2004.


Barbara McClintock: Pioneering Geneticist, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2002.

Marc Andreessen and the Development of the Web Browser, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2002.

William Hewlett: Pioneer of the Computer Age, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2003.

Willem Kolff and the Invention of the Dialysis Machine, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2003.


Lorenzo de Zavala, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2003.

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2003.

Cesar Chavez, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2004.


Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mitchell Lane (Bear, DE), 2004.

Clay Aiken: From Second Place to the Top of the Charts, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2004.

Queen Latifah, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Avril Lavigne, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Beyoncé, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Lindsay Lohan, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Justin Berfield, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Mario, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.


Robert Koch and the Study of Anthrax, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Pierre and Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Friedrich Miescher and the Story of Nucleic Acid, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Henry Bessemer: Making Steel from Iron, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.


The Life and Times of Homer, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

The Life and Times of Constantine, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

The Life and Times of Confucius, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.


John Steinbeck, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

Judy Blume, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.


Top Secret: The Story of the Manhattan Project, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Mitchell Lane (Hockessin, DE), 2005.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Portrait Photography, Alpha (Indianapolis, IN), 2002.

The Secret Story of Polygamy, Sourcebooks (Naperville, IL), 2002.

(With Tess Crebin) It Shouldn't Happen to a Journalist, Xlibris, 2002.

Also contributor to periodicals, including A&E Biography and Film News International.

SIDELIGHTS: In the early 1990s, Kathleen Tracy, a former photojournalist turned entertainment journalist, began writing celebrity biographies. The first of these was a book about Elvis Presley, The Boy Who Would Be King, written with Presley's cousin, Earl Greenwood. The book concentrates primarily on the death at birth of Elvis Presley's twin brother, his youthful poverty and strong attachment to his alcoholic mother, and his sex life and history of drug abuse. Tracy has since gone on to reveal the lives of other celebrities, including actors, comedians, and television hosts. In Jerry Seinfeld: The Entire Domain, for example, she writes about the comedian whose long-running show ended after nine years while it was still experiencing high ratings. She follows his life and success as a stand-up comic before beginning the series and also the lives and careers of his costars, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards. Booklist contributor Brad Hooper wrote that Tracy "effectively separates the real Jerry from the television Jerry."

Ellen: The Real Story of Ellen DeGeneres is Tracy's biography of the comedian who "came out" in her television sitcom, revealing that she was a lesbian. The author writes that DeGeneres made the decision because she lacked "a consistent voice for her character, which at times still exuded a vagueness that translated into a feeling that something was missing." Ellen's intention was not to become a flag bearer or role model for lesbian women, but to bring her true character to the show. Whether it was the conservative opposition to the show that caused it to fail or a combination of factors, including cast changes, cannot be absolutely determined, but Ellen's ratings dropped after her revelation, and the show was cancelled. Kelli N. Perkins noted in Library Journal that in providing the details "Tracy remains neutral…. We are left with an awareness of DeGeneres's enduring humor."

Another celebrity who became the focus of a Tracy biography is Don Imus, the caustic radio personality whose New York program has been syndicated on more than one hundred stations. In Imus: America's Cowboy Tracy follows the career of the controversial disk jockey who worked at a number of jobs and served for a decade with the U.S. Marines before his star began its rise in the 1960s. Tracy includes many of Imus's most notable comments and interchanges with public figures, including President Bill Clinton. A Kirkus Reviews writer described the book as a "breezy biography."

Tracy has also written a number of biographies for young readers about their favorite pop culture stars, including actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. In other biographies, she focuses on historic figures, including Homer, Constantine, and Confucius in the "Biography from Ancient Civilizations" series. She has also written about well-known writers and notable Hispanics and about significant events in the past. In addition, as a contributor to a number of academic series, she has profiled pioneers in science and technology, including geneticist Barbara McClintock. In Marc Andreessen and the Development of the Web Browser she explains how ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet, was created as a communication tool during the cold war. She follows Andreessen's life from childhood and his obsession with computers, which led him to take part in the creation of the Mosaic Web browser at the University of Illinois, and his subsequent creation of the Netscape Navigator browser. School Library Journal reviewer May Mueller wrote that Tracy "is admiring of her subject, emphasizing his creativity and philanthropy."

Among Tracy's nonbiographical works is The Secret Story of Polygamy, which focuses on the 1998 trial of Mormon John Daniel Kingston, who beat his daughter due to her refusal to become the fifteenth wife of her own brother. The author asserts that although polygamy was renounced by the Mormon church in 1890, it continues to flourish in Western states, particularly Utah. Tracy points out that the practice puts women in the position of being breeders, servants, and generators of welfare benefits for their families, and that they suffer from sexual and other abuses. In an interview posted on the Sourcebooks Web site, she writes that it will help the reader understand "how underage girls are being victimized under the guise of religious freedom and why the polygamous environment is a fertile ground for such abuses of civil liberties."

With Tess Crebin, Tracy wrote It Shouldn't Happen to a Journalist, in which the two authors talk about their careers and candidly reveal the positive and negative aspects of their chosen field. They are donating ten percent of the proceeds from the sales of the book to Dorset Victim Support, which helps those who have lost a loved one to murder, and another ten percent to Crime Victims for a Just Society. Rachel Newcombe, who reviewed the volume online for Absolute Write, felt that, "whether you're a journalist or not, it's a compelling read and is sure to have you turning the pages with interest until the very end."



Tracy, Kathleen, and Jeff Rovin, Ellen DeGeneres Up Close: The Unauthorized Biography of the Hot New Star of ABC's Ellen, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.


Booklist, October 15, 1998, Brad Hooper, review of Jerry Seinfeld: The Entire Domain, p. 370; May 1, 1999, Mike Tribby, review of Ellen, p. 1556; October 15, 2004, Todd Morning, review of The Life and Times of Homer, p. 415.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1999, review of Imus: America's Cowboy, pp. 873-874.

Library Journal, May 15, 1999, Kelli N. Perkins, review of Ellen, p. 98; November 15, 2001, Tim Delaney, review of The Secret Story of Polygamy, p. 88.

Publishers Weekly, July 13, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Boy Who Would Be King, p. 47; June 28, 1999, review of Imus: America's Cowboy, p. 65; November 26, 2001, review of The Secret Story of Polygamy, p. 54.

School Library Journal, January, 2002, Mary Mueller, review of Marc Andreessen and the Development of the Web Browser, p. 168; February, 2002, Maren Ostergard, review of Barbara McClintock: Pioneering Geneticist, p. 139; December, 2002, Carol Fazioli, review of Willem Kolff and the Invention of the Dialysis Machine, p. 165; December, 2004, Anne M. Holcomb, review of The Life and Times of Homer, p. 170; January, 2005, Mary Mueller, review of John Steinbeck, p. 140; March, 2005, Deanna Romriell, review of Robert Koch and the Study of Anthrax, p. 236.


Absolute Write, (July 14, 2005), Rachel Newcombe, review of It Shouldn't Happen to a Journalist.

Sourcebooks Web site, (July 14, 2005), interview with Tracy.