The eldest daughter of the old money Lord family of Philadelphia. A sophisticated and blue-blooded WASP through and through, Tracy does not suffer fools, is strong-willed and outspoken, and can be at times unforgiving of some basic human flaws. At the start of the film, she is snobbish, entitled, and brusque. After finding herself in the complicated and vulnerable position of being wanted by three different men, and after the return of her philandering father, Tracy changes her tune. She sees that human vulnerability is part of life, and that even she is not as impenetrable and invulnerable as she once imagined. She embraces human frailty, and as she tells her father before walking down the aisle to be delivered to Dexter, "I feel like a human being!"
Macauley "Mike" Connor
Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, Mike Connor is a hard-working, cynical, and skeptical short story writer, who writes for the tabloids to pay his bills. He rolls his eyes at his commission to cover Tracy Lord's wedding, dismissing the topic as superficial and the family as rich snobs. After spending some time with the Lord family, however, Mike becomes charmed by their graciousness and specifically by the intelligent Tracy. As he falls in love with Tracy, his reverse-snobbery dissipates and he comes to appreciate the finer things. He is at once charming and snarky, and fancies himself a real artist in a world full of charlatans and dilettantes.
C.K. Dexter Haven
Handsome and oh-so-casually witty, C.K. Dexter Haven is also a member of the upper class, but his taste for drink drove a wedge between him and Tracy. Now he is back with one goal in mind: to stop Tracy from ruining her life by marrying a dullard. A yacht builder and society man, Dexter once sailed around with Tracy on his sailboat, the True Love, and he gives her a model of the ship on the occasion of her wedding to George Kittredge as a gesture of his enduring affection for her. Dexter is beloved by the Lord family and fits in well with their well-bred and formal lifestyle, having been raised in the upper class himself. Ultimately, he proves to be the match for Tracy.
Liz is a sardonic and wise photographer who works alongside Mike for Spy Magazine. A long-suffering admirer of Mike's, she is waiting for the day he takes notice of her and pops the question. Liz is imperturbable, intelligent, and genuine, displaying an earthy wit and an intelligent warmth.
George Kittredge is, as Tracy describes him, the opposite of Dexter in every way, which is precisely why she wants to marry him. He does not come from old money, but has earned his wealth through business. He is depicted as fondly doting and admiring of Tracy, but somewhat ill-at-ease in her social world, as typified by his struggle to mount a horse and his rather dull personality. Additionally, when Tracy questions him about his love for her, he expresses his affection in a rather alienating way, professing that he wants to put her in a tower and worship her as though she were not a human.
The publisher of a tabloid magazine who has blackmailed C.K. Dexter Haven into colluding with him to get Mike and Liz into Tracy’s home where they can get the inside dirt on the wedding. Kidd is unaware that Haven has his own reasons for wanting to invade the wedding and that he is only faking his eagerness to get revenge on Tracy for their ugly divorce. Kidd is a crooked and corrupt man, in keeping with his profession as head of a tabloid publication.
Tracy’s precocious sister who often serves as comic relief. Dinah is partial to Dexter and plays a role in reminding Tracy of her affections for her ex-husband. When Tracy ends up marrying Dexter, Dinah turns to their Uncle Willie and takes credit for the whole thing.
Tracy and Dinah's charming and elegant mother.
Tracy and Dinah's philandering father, who left their mother to have an affair with a dancer in New York, but returns in time for Tracy's wedding. He lays some of the blame for his affair on Tracy's forthright and critical personality, but eventually expresses his pride and admiration for her by the end of the film.
Tracy's lecherous and lazy bachelor uncle, who takes a rather uncouth interest in Liz.
The Philadelphia Story Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Philadelphia Story is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.