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Katherine Hepburn

An American actress.

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  • Jul 23, 2010
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There are many actors and actresses from the Silver Screen that fascinate me; as much as I love many of today's personalities, I can't help but to be interested in the unique qualities of yesteryear's actors - movies were so different in the Silver Screen era than what they are today.  The first movie I saw with Katharine Hepburn starring was The Philadelphia Story; she fascinated me with her quick wit and a style all her own, which evidently did not fare well with the Hollywood scene as you will read in the following mini biography.  A woman with such a strong independent quality is impressive, although I feel she could be a little too "brutally honest" at times.

I thought I would do separate reviews about my favorite Silver Screen personalities, and Ms. Hepburn is the first in my profile reviews.  I hope you enjoy!!


Being a housewife and a mother is the biggest job in the world, but if it doesn't interest you, don't do it - I would have made a terrible mother. 

I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret... if you have any sense, and if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid. 

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun. 

Life is hard. After all, it kills you. 

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything. 

Plain women know more about men than beautiful women do. 

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change you're the one who has got to change. 

I find a woman's point of view much grander and finer than a man's.


Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was devastated at age 14 to find him dead, the apparent result of accidentally hanging himself while practicing a hanging trick their father had taught them. For many years after this, Katharine used his birthdate, November 8, as her own. She then became very shy around girls her age, and was largely schooled at home. She did attend Bryn Mawr College, however, and it was here that she decided to become an actress, appearing in many of their productions.

After graduating, she began getting small roles in plays on Broadway and elsewhere. She always attracted attention in these parts, especially for her role in "Art and Mrs. Bottle" (1931); then, she finally broke into stardom when she took the starring role of the Amazon princess Antiope in "A Warrior's Husband" (1932). The inevitable film offers followed, and after making a few screen tests, she was cast in A Bill of Divorcement (1932), opposite John Barrymore. The film was a hit, and after agreeing to her salary demands, RKO signed her to a contract. She made five films between 1932 and 1934. For her third, Morning Glory (1933) she won her first Academy Award. Her fourth, Little Women (1933) was the most successful picture of its day.

But stories were beginning to leak out of her haughty behavior off- screen and her refusal to play the Hollywood Game, always wearing slacks and no makeup, never posing for pictures or giving interviews. Audiences were shocked at her unconventional behavior instead of applauding it, and so when she returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in "The Lake", the critics panned her and the audiences, who at first bought up tickets, soon deserted her. When she returned to Hollywood, things didn't get much better. From the period 1935-1938, she had only two hits: Alice Adams (1935), which brought her her second Oscar nomination, and Stage Door (1937); the many flops included Break of Hearts (1935), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Mary of Scotland (1936), Quality Street(1937) and the now- classic Bringing Up Baby (1938).

With so many flops, she came to be labeled "box-office poison." She decided to go back to Broadway to star in "The Philadelphia Story" (1938), and was rewarded with a smash. She quickly bought the film rights, and so was able to negotiate her way back to Hollywood on her own terms, including her choice of director and co-stars. The film version of The Philadelphia Story (1940), was a box-office hit, and Hepburn, who won her third Oscar nomination for the film, was bankable again. For her next film, Woman of the Year (1942), she was paired with Spencer Tracy, and the chemistry between them lasted for eight more films, spanning the course of 25 years, and a romance that lasted that long off-screen. (She received her fourth Oscar nomination for the film.) Their films included the very successful Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), and Desk Set (1957).

With The African Queen (1951), Hepburn moved into middle-aged spinster roles, receiving her fifth Oscar nomination for the film. She played more of these types of roles throughout the 50s, and won more Oscar nominations for many of them, including her roles in Summertime (1955), The Rainmaker (1956) andSuddenly, Last Summer (1959). Her film roles became fewer and farther between in the 60s, as she devoted her time to her ailing partner Spencer Tracy. For one of her film appearances in this decade, in Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962), she received her ninth Oscar nomination. After a five-year absence from films, she then made Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), her last film with Tracy and the last film Tracy ever made; he died just weeks after finishing it. It garnered Hepburn her tenth Oscar nomination and her second win. The next year, she did The Lion in Winter (1968), which brought her her eleventh Oscar nomination and third win.

In the 70s, she turned to making made-for-TV films, with The Glass Menagerie (1973) (TV), Love Among the Ruins (1975) (TV) and The Corn Is Green (1979) (TV). She still continued to make an occasional appearance in feature films, such as Rooster Cogburn (1975), with John Wayne, and On Golden Pond (1981), with Henry Fonda. This last brought her her twelfth Oscar nomination and fourth win - the latter currently still a record for an actress.

She made more TV-films in the 80s, and wrote her autobiography, 'Me', in 1991. Her last feature film was Love Affair (1994), with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, and her last TV- film was One Christmas (1994) (TV). With her health declining she retired from public life in the mid-nineties. She died at the age of 96 at her home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.


Playing strong independent women with minds of their own.

Often wore slacks instead of dresses, decades before it became fashionable for women to do so

Distinctive way of speaking, with what many say is a "Bryn Mawr" accent.


Graduated from Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1928, with a degree in history and philosophy.

Was named Best Classic Actress of the 20th Century in an Entertainment Weekly on-line poll, just barely (21.5% to 20.6%) beating out runner-up Audrey Hepburn. [September 1999]

She never watched Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) because it was Spencer Tracy's last film.

Ranked #1 woman in the AFI's "50 Greatest Movie Legends." [June 1999]

Walked around the studio in her underwear in the early 1930s when the costume department stole her slacks from her dressing room. She refused to put anything else on until they were returned.

She was nearly decapitated by an aeroplane propeller when she was rushing about an airport, avoiding the press.

A leading contender for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), she later served as Maid of Honor at Vivien Leigh's and Laurence Olivier's wedding.

Had a relationship with Spencer Tracy from 1943 until his death in 1967.

Ranked #68 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Holds the Guiness World Record as the only movie star to win four Academy Awards, all for her leading roles in Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981).

Gained a permanent eye infection while failing to close her eyes when she was asked to fall into a Venice Canal during the filming of Summertime (1955).

Did all her own stunts because the stunt woman never stood up straight enough.

Is known for being an avid golfer, tennis player, and swimmer. She is also known for taking cold showers.

Is in the Guinness World Records-book for "Most 'Best Actress' Oscars Won".

Thought very highly of the acting talents of Jeremy Irons and John Lithgow. She particularly disliked Meryl Streep, claiming she could recognize Streep's constant search for tactics during a performance. Hepburn also thought Glenn Close talented, but said openly Close's feet were too big for audiences to take her seriously as an actress.

Was with Spencer Tracy the night he died. According to her, he had gotten up in the middle of the night to get a glass of milk. She followed the sickly Tracy to the kitchen but before she got there she heard a glass shatter and then a loud thud. She found Tracy dead on the floor; he had suffered a massive heart attack.

**Biography from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000031/bio**

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July 24, 2010
wow...I am impressed. This write up is so detailed.
July 24, 2010
Thanks Woo - !!
July 23, 2010
What's not to love about Hepburn? My favorite of all her films would have to be THE LION IN WINTER.
July 24, 2010
I'm not sure if I saw that one or not; I'll have to check it out!! Thanks QueenB...
July 28, 2010
It was one of her Oscar winners. In it she plays Eleanor of Aquintaine, wife of Henry II. They spend most of their time plotting against each other in order to insure that their favorite child will inherit the throne upon Henry's death. Eleanor favors Richard Coeur d'Leon (Anthony Hopkins) while Henry prefers John (Nigel Terry). There's another son bouncing around to just to make certain that things stay interesting. Then of course, there's Phillip II of France (Timothy Dalton) to further complicate matters. It's very clever, very dramatic, and very funny too.
July 29, 2010
I'll have to check that one out -- thank you!!
July 29, 2010
It was adapted from a stage play. It's just fantastic.
More Katherine Hepburn reviews
Quick Tip by . August 04, 2010
You can't replicate Katherine Hepburn, or duplicate her performances. He name is truly a part of film history.
Quick Tip by . August 04, 2010
You can't replicate Katherine Hepburn, or duplicate her performances. He name is truly a part of film history.
About the reviewer
Brenda ()
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I love to read mysteries and thrillers; I am addicted to scary psychological thrillers and horror movies; "The Exorcist" and "Silence of the Lambs" being 2 of my favorites. I love … more
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About this actor


Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907- June 29, 2003) was an American actress. She was on the list for 12 Academy Awards, and won four of them.

Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut and went to Bryn Mawr College; she got her degree in 1928 and started on Broadway that same year in Night Hostess.

In 1932 she got a role in the George Cukor film A Bill of Divorcement, with John Barrymore. Woman of the Year was the first of nine films with Spencer Tracy. It began one of Hollywood's most famous romances, also on film in Adam's Rib and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. They were together until Tracy's death in 1967, but they never married. This was probably because Tracy, a Catholic, did not want to divorce his wife. Before they met, Hepburn married and divorced Ludlow Ogden Smith and was together with Leland Hayward and Howard Hughes for a long time.

Her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, came out in 1991. She died on June 29, 2003 at 2:50 p.m., at Fenwick, the Hepburn family home, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She was 96.

During her many decades on stage, on the silver screen, and on television, Katharine Hepburn was an award-winning actress with a strong presence. She tackled comedies and dramas with ease and starred opposite many of Hollywood's leading men, such as Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and Cary Grant. 

Katharine Hepburn made her professional stage debut in 1928 in Baltimore, and from 1932 attained international fame as a strong ...

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Birth Date: May 12, 1907
Birth Place: Hartford, Connecticut
Gender: Female

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