Jeff Tracy

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Jeff Tracy
Thunderbirds character
First appearance"Trapped in the Sky"
(30 September 1965)
Last appearanceThunderbirds (2004 film)
Created byGerry Anderson
Portrayed byBill Paxton (2004 film)
Voiced byPeter Dyneley (1965–1966, 1968)
Lee Majors (2019–2020)
In-universe information
OccupationColonel, USAF
Head of International Rescue
FamilyGrant Tracy (father; name debatable)[1]
"Grandma" Tracy (mother)
SpouseLucille "Lucy" Tracy
(2039–2044, deceased; name debatable)[2]
ChildrenScott Tracy
John Tracy
Virgil Tracy
Gordon Tracy
Alan Tracy

Jeff Tracy is a fictional character from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Supermarionation television show Thunderbirds and the subsequent films Thunderbirds Are GO and Thunderbird 6. The voice for the character in these shows was supplied by Peter Dyneley. The character also appeared in the live-action movie Thunderbirds, played by actor Bill Paxton.

Biography, original series[edit]

The series was first broadcast in 1965 and was set a hundred years in the then future, in 2065, when Jeff was (or will be) 56. According to his backstory "bio", Jeff was born 2 January 2009,[3] the son of a combine harvester driver on a Kansas wheat farm.

  • Military service in the U.S. Air Force achieving rank of colonel
  • Transfer to Space Agency to become an early lunar astronaut[4]
  • Jeff married[2] and became the father of five sons; Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan born in rapid succession in the period 2039-2044. The sons were named after five of the first six American astronauts into space via Project Mercury: Scott Carpenter, Virgil Grissom, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper and John Glenn.[5][6]
  • His wife died possibly in a non-canonical 1993 comic strip, in which she and Jeff's father, Grant Tracy, died in an avalanche,[1] while a novel published in 2008 had her pass away as a result of a road accident, where her vehicle fell off the side of a cliff.[7]
  • Jeff raised his five sons, while building up a civil engineering, construction and aerospace business that made him one of the richest men in the world.
  • He became a philanthropist and instigated and financed International Rescue.

As the Tracy family patriarch, he spends most of his time on Tracy Island, situated somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, from where he co-ordinates rescue missions.

It has been suggested that the Tracy family are based on the Cartwrights from the TV series Bonanza, and that the Jeff Tracy puppet is based on the actor who played Ben Cartwright, Lorne Greene.[3]

Along with his sons, Scott and Virgil, Jeff is the only other Tracy to appear in all 32 episodes of Thunderbirds.

Absence from Remake Series (2015–2020)[edit]

In the 2015 'reboot' of the series, Jeff vanished six years ago for which the Hood is shown to be responsible. [8] Scott appears to have assumed control of International Rescue in his father's place as he is the oldest of the Tracy brothers, while Grandma Tracy, who has herself changed from the classic series, has taken over his role as head of the family.

The origins for International Rescue are also explained gradually throughout the series. Jeff originally was the only member with one ship: the TV-21, a ultra-high speed rocket and a vehicle by Brains' own admission that was faster than any Thunderbird, with his ultimate objective to be the first one to the rescue. However when he lost the TV-21, he instead created the 5 Thunderbirds to be there for any emergency.

Jeff finally appears in season 3, initially in recordings in the two-part episode "Signals", which reveals that he was last seen trying to stop the Hood stealing the Zero-X spaceship; when the Hood's actions nearly caused the Zero-X's engine to overload and cause an extinction-level event, Jeff took the ship into space, with the apparent detonation believed to be the ships engine overloading and explosing. However at the end of "SOS", Brains discovered that rescued robot Braman was not sending a distress call, but was actually acting as a relay to send the message to Earth, and discovers a voded message within the distress call that could only have come from Jeff. After recovering the escape pod that the Hood made his escape in, Brains realises that the explosion was a shockwave created as a result of the ship's faster-than-light engine working, which propelled Jeff into deep space. At the end of the episode "The Long Reach - Part One", Scott while trying to make his way back to Thunderbird 1, almost falls into the reaches of space after two asteroids collide with each other. Scott is caught by a mysterious figure's hand; he looks up and realizes that it is his father, Jeff Tracy.


  1. ^ a b The Complete Thunderbirds Story Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine says Jeff's wife, Lucille, and his father, Grant, both died in an avalanche at their Aspen holiday home. The lack of rescue equipment supposedly inspired Jeff to form International Rescue. However the narrative has several deviations from canon, e.g. how Jeff Tracy first met Kyrano, Tin-Tin, and The Hood.
  2. ^ a b The Calling International Rescue! fan site names his wife as Lucille, Lucy for short, but this is not an official site
  3. ^ a b Retrieved 19 December 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  4. ^ "Thunderbirds Annual," p.10, 1966, City Magazines Ltd. and A.P. Films (Merchandising) Ltd.
  5. ^ "Thunderbirds - The Characters". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Mercury Crewed Flights Summary". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Thunderbirds Are Go Season 1 Episode 2 "Ring of Fire, Part 2"

External links[edit]