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Katharine Hepburn Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (6) | Trivia (102) | Personal Quotes (74) | Salary (8)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 12 May 1907Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Date of Death 29 June 2003Old Saybrook, Connecticut, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameKatharine Houghton Hepburn
Nicknames First Lady of Cinema
Kate
The Great Kate
Height 5' 7½" (1.71 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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) and Suddenly, 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), Love Among the Ruins (1975) and The Corn Is Green (1979). 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). 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.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tommy Peter

Spouse (1)

Ludlow Ogden Smith (12 December 1928 - 18 September 1941) (divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

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
Frequently worked with Cary Grant, 'Spencer Tracy', and George Cukor
Her recognizable angular features
Her strong outspoken personality

Trivia (102)

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]
Born at 3:47pm-EST.
Aunt of actress Katharine Houghton, who portrayed her character's daughter in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).
Admitted to using her brother's birthdate as her own for years.
Did not suffer from Parkinson's disease. She set the record straight in the 1993 TV documentary Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1993), which she narrated herself. Quote: "Now to squash a rumor. No, I don't have Parkinson's. I inherited my shaking head from my grandfather Hepburn. I discovered that whiskey helps stop the shaking. Problem is, if you're not careful, it stops the rest of you too. My head just shakes, but I promise you, it ain't gonna fall off!".
Was a direct descendant of England's King John through one of his illegitimate children. Hepburn played King John's mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, in The Lion in Winter (1968).
Great-aunt of Schuyler Grant and Daniel Jenkins.
Turned down the role of Marilla in Anne of Green Gables (1985), but recommended her great-niece, Schuyler Grant for the role of Anne. Schuyler ended up playing Diana instead.
On American Film Institute's list of "Top 100 U.S. Love Stories," compiled in June 2002, Hepburn led all actresses with six of her films on the list. (Actor Cary Grant, co-star with her in two of them, led the male field, also with six films on list). The duo's The Philadelphia Story (1940) was ranked #44 and their Bringing Up Baby (1938) ranked #51. Hepburn's four other movies on AFI Top "100 Love Movies list" are: - #14 The African Queen (1951) - #22 On Golden Pond (1981) - #58 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - #74 Woman of the Year (1942)
Meryl Streep beat her in the number of Oscar nominations, when she received her 13th Oscar nod for Adaptation. (2002). However, Hepburn still reigns as the only 4-time Oscar recipient for acting.
As of 2009, "Only Tie in Oscars For Best Actress", Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968) and Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter (1968) in 1969.
Her father's name was Thomas Hepburn and her mother's name was Katharine Houghton. Each of their six children were given Mrs. Hepburn's maiden name for their middle names.
Was nominated for two Tony Awards: in 1970 as Best Actress (Musical), for playing the title character, Coco Chanel in "Coco," and in 1982 as Best Actress (Play), for "The West Side Waltz." She lost both times.
Her maternal grandfather; her father's brother, Charlie; and her older brother, Tom, all committed suicide. These tragedies were never talked about in her family. Ms. Hepburn said of her parents, "There was nothing to be done about these matters and [my parents] simply did not believe in moaning about anything."
Made nine films with Spencer Tracy, the first of which was Woman of the Year (1942).
Admitted that she was menstruating while making The African Queen (1951), which resulted in giving her fellow crew members the impression that she was moody and difficult.
On June 2004 Sotheby's auction house hosted a two-day estate sale auctioning personal belongings of the legendary actress to collectors. The 700-plus items included Hepburn's furniture, jewelry (which included the platinum, diamond and sapphire brooch from one-time lover Howard Hughes which fetched $120,000, six times its estimated price); paperwork (such as personal checks, telegrams, birth certificates, letters, film contracts, movie scripts), and nomination certificates from the Academy Awards. Among other items were casual clothes, and gowns that included her unusual wedding dress to Ludlow Ogden Smith in 1928, made of crushed white velvet with antiqued gold embroidery, which sold for $27,000. Also in the lot were house decorations drawings and paintings done by the actress herself, glamour portraits, and a glass bronze sculpture entitled "Angel on a Wave", which sold for $90,000; while a self-portrait entitled "Breakfast in Bed and a Self-Portrait in Brisbane, Australia", fetched $33,000, some 40 times the estimated price. Movie memorabilia included a ring from 1968's The Lion in Winter (1968), and Gertrude, the canoe from the film On Golden Pond (1981) which was bought for $19,200 by entertainer Wayne Newton. The most sought-after piece and the most expensive item was the bronze bust of Spencer Tracy that Hepburn created herself and that was also featured in their Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). The audience cheered when the three-inch sculpture sold for $316,000, compared to the estimated $3,000-$5,000. The only awards won by the actress that were auctioned were her 1958 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, the annual Shakespeare Club of New York City award, the Fashion Desinger Lifetime Achievement, a few Box Office Blue Ribbons, her Hollywood Walk of Fame plaque and the 1990 Kennedy Center Honor. Hepburn's four Oscars were not included due to contract reasons.
She was one of the few great stars in Hollywood who made no attempt to sugarcoat her true personality for anyone, a personality that was blunt and feisty.
Was a natural red head.
Her affair with Howard Hughes was portrayed by Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004).
She was voted the "2nd Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by Entertainment Weekly.
Was a self-confessed fan of John Gilbert and Greta Garbo.
In The Lion in Winter (1968) she plays the mother of Richard the Lionheart, who is played by Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins later said that Hepburn's voice was, in part, the basis for Hannibal Lecter's voice.
She was of mostly English, with distant Scottish, ancestry.
Expressed great fondness for actors Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Melanie Griffith and Julia Roberts, and great disdain for Meryl Streep, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and - in particular - Woody Allen.
In a letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Gregory Peck, she claimed that sentiment for the death of her long-time lover and co-star, Spencer Tracy, had been part of the reason she won her second Oscar for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). She told also Peck that she modeled her award-winning characterization of "Christina Drayton" on her mother.
When Cate Blanchett won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Aviator (2004), Hepburn became the first previous Oscar winner to become an Oscar-winning movie role.
She was voted the 14th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
According to Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley's book "Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s", Hepburn was a leftist in her politics in the 1940s. When the Conference of Studio Unions, headed by suspected Communist Party member Herb Sorrell, launched a strike in 1946-1947 against the studios and fought other unions for control over Hollywood's collective bargaining, she expressed support for him (Sorrell was kidnapped, beaten, and left for dead, during the strike, possibly by the Mafia, which up until the early 1940s, had controlled the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which was contesting the CSU for jurisdiction over Hollywood unions.) At a Screen Writers Guild meeting during the CSU strike, She also made a speech which anti-communist, anti-CSU SAG activist Ronald Reagan recognized as being based word for word on a CSU strike bulletin. She ignored lover Spencer Tracy's admonition that actors should stay out of politics ("Remember who shot Lincoln"). Despite their family's wealth, her mother had been sympathetic to Marxism and the Soviet Union. On May 19, 1947, Hepburn addressed a Progressive Party rally at the Hollywood Legion Stadium with Progressive Party stalwart and later presidential candidate Henry Wallace (with a crowd that included the likes of Judy Garland, Edward G. Robinson, Lena Horne, Charles Chaplin, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Danny Kaye), the former vice president of the U.S. who had been sacked from President Harry S. Truman's cabinet for being pro-Soviet. Wearing a red dress, Hepburn delivered a speech, written by Communist Party member and soon-to-be indicted Hollywood Ten member Dalton Trumbo. When another Hollywood Ten screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr., (winner of an Oscar for writing her picture Woman of the Year (1942), was jailed, she wrote a letter of support for him. Years later, in 1964, when Lardner was trying to get Tracy to star in The Cincinnati Kid (1965), he thanked Hepburn her support. She told him she didn't remember writing the letter and refused to talk about it.
Became very fond of Christopher Reeve, both as an actor and as a person, when he made his Broadway debut opposite her in the 1978 production of "A Matter of Gravity". She became so fond of him that she used to tease him that she wanted him to take care of her when she retired. Ironically, his reply was "Miss Hepburn, I don't think I'll live that long".
Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"
She and Spencer Tracy acted together in 9 movies: Adam's Rib (1949), Desk Set (1957), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Pat and Mike (1952), The Sea of Grass (1947), State of the Union (1948), Without Love (1945), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and Woman of the Year (1942).
After marrying Ludlow Ogden Smith in 1928, she forced him to change his name to S. Ogden Ludlow. She objected to her married name being "Katharine Smith" because there was already a well-known, and very portly radio singer named 'Kate Smith'.
One of Hollywood's early tall leading ladies, standing over 5' 7" in an era when most actresses were only a little over 5' 0".
Kate Bosworth has said that Hepburn was her primary inspiration for her portrayal of "Lois Lane" in Superman Returns (2006).
She thought Melanie Griffith was a good actress, but would fade away quickly. She also saw Julia Roberts as the next big thing. But the actress she loved above all was Vanessa Redgrave. She adored every performance Ms Redgrave has ever given and would tell people that she was, "A thrill to look at and to listen to".
Did not attend Spencer Tracy's funeral out of respect to his family. Instead she went to the home of writer/director 'Richard Brooks (I)' where she watched, and wept, as he screened Tracy 's Oscar-winning performance in _Captains Courageous (1937) for her. Later, Brooks and his wife 'Jean Simmons' named their only child, Kate Brooks, after Hepburn.
A resident for most of her life of Manhattan's row of brownstone dwellings renowned as Turtle Bay Gardens, Hepburn lived in the four-story building at 244 East 49th Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues). Famous neighbors over the years included, Robert Benton, Stephen Sondheim, Garson Kanin and wife Ruth Gordon.
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.
Was known for being an avid golfer, tennis player, and swimmer. She was also known for taking cold showers and for driving her bicycle around Manhattan.
Is in the Guinness World Records-book for "Most 'Best Actress' Oscars Won".
She is a descendant of "Eleanor of Aquitaine", whom she portrayed in The Lion in Winter (1968).
Was nominated 12 times for the Academy Award, all as Best Actress, and won four times. Jack Nicholson also has 12 nominations (8 as Best Actor and 4 Best Supporting Actor nominations) and three wins (two Best Actor trophies and one Best Supporting Actor gong). Hepburn beat out previous acting nomination record holder Bette Davis (a double winner who was nominated 10 times for an Academy Award, all of them Best Actress nods, and who had also received a write-in nomination in 1934, which was unofficial) with her 11th nod and 3rd win for The Lion in Winter (1968) (a record she extended with her 12 nomination and fourth win for On Golden Pond (1981). Hepburn herself was surpassed by Meryl Streep, with 17 nods (14 in the Best Actress category, 3 in the Best Supporting Actress category) and three wins (two in the Best Actress category and one Best supporting actress award). While it is possible that Nicholson and Streep might equal her four Oscar acting wins, it is improbable that her record of four wins in the top category will ever be surpassed.
Is one of only five thespians to be nominated for acting honors by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences over five decades: (1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1980s). Only Laurence Olivier (1930s-1970s), Paul Newman (1950s, 1960s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s) and Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep(1970s-2010s) have turned the trick.
Her performance as "Eleanor of Aquitaine" in The Lion in Winter (1968) is ranked #13 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Her performance as "Tracy Lord" in The Philadelphia Story (1940) is ranked #54 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Her performance as "Rose Sayer" in The African Queen (1951) is ranked #94 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Her performance as "Susan Vance" in Bringing Up Baby (1938) is ranked #21 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Three films of hers are on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are: The African Queen (1951) at #48, On Golden Pond (1981) at #45, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) at #35.
Spoofed in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon Little Red Walking Hood (1937), in which Little Red Riding Hood speaks exactly like her.
Godmother of Stanley Kramer's daughter Katharine. She was named after Hepburn, who was directed by Kramer in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).
Despite her success at the Oscars, she never attended an Academy Awards ceremony as a nominee. Her only appearance was at the 1974 awards to present the Irving Thalberg Award to her friend Lawrence Weingarten. When she went onstage to a standing ovation, she said "I'm living proof that a person can wait forty-one years to be unselfish.".
Thanked by Natalie Merchant in the liner notes of her album "Motherland".
Her former maid, Emma Faust Tillman, held the title of "World's Oldest Person" for only four days (January 24-28, 2007). Her four-day reign, which was certified by the Guinness World Records committee was also the shortest one on record.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Wanda Tettoni and in the sixties by Anna Miserocchi. She was occasionally dubbed by Lidia Simoneschi, Andreina Pagnani and once by Rina Morelli in Desk Set (1957).
Was a close friend of actor Peter O'Toole, and it is commonly believed that his daughter, Kate O'Toole, was named after her. However, 'Siân Phillips' stated in her autobiography that their daughter was named after the title character in Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew', inspired by the line 'Kate, Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom'.
One of her closest friends, Canadian portrait artist Myfanwy Pavelic died on May 11, 2007, one day short of Hepburn's 100th birthday anniversary.
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.
The intersection of East 49th Street and Second Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City was renamed "Katharine Hepburn Place" shortly after her passing. Hepburn lived in a brownstone (244 East 49th Street) which is close to the intersection.
Dropped out of the The Blue Bird (1976) before shooting began.
Was fired by the producer of Travels with My Aunt (1972) early in the filming for demanding too many script changes.
Her accumulation of 12 Oscar nominations (4 wins) was accomplished over a period of 48 years. Meryl Streep had 12 nominations (2 wins) after only 21 years (with an additional 5 nominations and another Oscar by 2012). Bette Davis scored 10 nominations (2 wins) over 28 years. As of 2012, Streep holds the record for nominations, with 17.
Suffered from pyrophobia (fear of fire).
Godmother of Sam Robards, son of Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards.
According to Anthony Harvey - the director of The Lion in Winter (1968) - she kept the Oscar she received for the film in a paper bag and in a cupboard for years after he'd delivered it to her.
Appointed Cynthia McFadden Executrix of her estate.
Aunt of sculptor Mundy Hepburn.
Her first name is often misspelled as Katherine, it is actually spelled Katharine with a second A. She was known for correcting those who spelled it wrong.
During what is argued by film historians to be the greatest year in classic American cinema, she was a rare star who did not appear in a film in 1939. Instead, she was on stage playing Tracy Lord in "The Philadelphia Story," which proved to be her comeback after being branded as box-office poison.
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.
The scene in which her character falls into the canal in Summertime (1955) left her with a permanent eye infection as the water was contaminated.
Turned down the role of Kitty Foyle in Kitty Foyle (1940). The part was then given to Ginger Rogers, who went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.
Survived the Great New England Hurricane of Sept. 21, 1938 while at her summer home in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook, CT. Reportedly she was there considering a marriage proposal by Howard Hughes. The storm killed at least 682. Hepburn, her family and servants barely escaped with their lives: Soon after fleeing it on foot in the storm, her home was washed away along with her Oscar for her film Morning Glory (1933) which was later found intact. Hepburn rebuilt the home in 1939, and was locally famous for running people off "her" (public) beach in her later years.
According to her friend and biographer A. Scott Berg, although she said often that Alice Adams (1935) was her favorite film role, it was actually her performance as Mary Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) that she regarded as her greatest achievement in film.
Pictured on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 12 May 2010.
Profiled in book "Funny Ladies" by Stephen Silverman.
Desperately wanted to play the role of Alma Winemiller, which was eventually played by Geraldine Page, in Summer and Smoke (1961).
In 2010, Jason Bateman, who was in one of Hepburn's last movies, This Can't Be Love (1994), told New York Magazine that the legend only wore white Reebok high-top sneakers on and off the set. If a scene called for her to be wearing something fancier, she would wear black socks over the white sneakers.
In her book "Me: Stories of My Life", she admitted to posing for nude photos when she was in her 20s. The pictures were later lost.
Although she never committed to her marriage with Ludlow Ogden Smith, and she admitted to treating him poorly, they remained friends for the rest of their lives.
She was always distant and independent from her family, her younger siblings referred to her as "Aunt Kat".
She and Walter Brennan are the only actors to win 3 Oscars on 3 consecutive nominations.
Hepburn's record-setting affiliation with New York's legendary Radio City Music Hall will likely never be challenged. Beginning with Christopher Strong (1933) in 1933, seventeen consecutive films of hers played in the huge theater.
She was the favorite actress of fellow screen legend Bette Davis.
Release of the book, "Kate Remembered" by A. Scott Berg.
Release of the book, "At Home with Kate: Growing Up in Katharine Hepburn's Household" by Eileen Considine-Meara, daughter of Norah Considine (Kate's longtime cook and housekeeper).
Release of the book, "Kate: The Woman who was Hepburn" by William J. Mann.
Is one of 14 Best Actress Oscar winners to have not accepted their Academy Award in person. Hepburn did not accept any of her 4 wins (for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968) and _On Golden Pond (1981)). The others are Claudette Colbert, Judy Holliday, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Anne Bancroft, Patricia Neal, Elizabeth Taylor, Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson and Ellen Burstyn.
Was the 6th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Morning Glory (1933) at The 6th Academy Awards on March 16, 1934.
Katharine Hepburn and Joan Fontaine both appeared in productions of The Lion in Winter (Hepburn in the 1968 film version, Fontaine in a 1979 Austrian stage production) and both passed away at the age of 96. Hepburn had appeared with Fontaine in Quality Street (1937).
Former sister-in-law of Wells Root.
Received academy awards for her first as well as her final three nominations, with 34 years between her first and second win.

Personal Quotes (74)

People have grown fond of me, like some old building.
I'm a personality as well as an actress. Show me an actress who isn't a personality, and you'll show me a woman who isn't a star.
Wouldn't it be great if people could get to live suddenly as often as they die suddenly?
I don't regret anything I've ever done; As long as I enjoyed it at the time.
Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get - only with what you are expecting to give - which is everything.
I often wonder whether men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.
Not everyone is lucky enough to understand how delicious it is to suffer.
There are no laurels in life . . . just new challenges.
[on Hollywood] They didn't like me until I got into a leg show.
I can't say I believe in prizes. I was a whiz in the three-legged race
  • that's something you CAN win.



Afraid of death? Not at all. Be a great relief. Then I wouldn't have to talk to you.
Once a crowd chased me for an autograph. "Beat it", I said, "go sit on a tack!" "We made you", they said. "Like hell you did", I told them.
[on fashion] I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.
My father, a surgeon and urologist, studied sex professionally all his life. Before he died at 82, he told me he hadn't come to any conclusions about it at all.
[on marriage] It's bloody impractical. "To love, honor, and obey". If it weren't, you wouldn't have to sign a contract.
At my age, you don't get much variety - usually some old nut who's off her track.
With all the opportunities I had, I could have done more. And if I'd done more, I could have been quite remarkable.
I find a woman's point of view much grander and finer than a man's.
I remember as a child going around with "Votes For Women" balloons. I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause.
Life is full of censorship. I can't spit in your eye.
Only when a woman decides not to have children, can a woman live like a man. That's what I've done.
Acting is a nice childish profession - pretending you're someone else and at the same time selling yourself.
It's a bore - B-O-R-E - when you find you've begun to rot.
Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do.
Life is hard. After all, it kills you.
I think most of the people involved in any art always secretly wonder whether they are really there because they're good - or because they're lucky.
I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be inferior.
Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.
If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.
Life's what's important. Walking, houses, family. Birth and pain and joy. Acting's just waiting for a custard pie. That's all.
Life can be wildly tragic at times, and I've had my share. But whatever happens to you, you have to keep a slightly comic attitude. In the final analysis, you have got not to forget to laugh.
If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
It's life isn't it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.
If you survive long enough, you're revered - rather like an old building.
Enemies are so stimulating.
I can remember walking as a child. It was not customary to say you were fatigued. It was customary to complete the goal of the expedition.
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.
I welcome death. In death there are no interviews!
I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.
I'm what is known as gradually disintegrating. I don't fear the next world, or anything. I don't fear hell, and I don't look forward to heaven.
Listen to the song of life.
Who is Katharine Hepburn? It took me a long time to create that creature.
I don't fear death, it must be like a long sleep.
I always wanted to be a movie actress. I thought it was very romantic. And it was.
"Isn't it fun getting older?" is really a terrible fallacy. That's like saying I prefer driving an old car with a flat tire.
1993] I have loved and been in love. There's a big difference.
[1993] In some ways I've lived my life like a man, made my own decisions, etc. I've been as terrified as the next person, but you've got to keep going.
[1993] The lack of work destroys people.
[Describing Cary Grant] He is personality functioning.
[asked what star quality is] It's either some kind of electricity or some kind of energy. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, I've got it.
[When Barbara Walters asked her if she owned a skirt] I have one, Ms. Walters. I'll wear it to your funeral.
[pn Marlon Brando] I don't think he's a limited actor at all - I think he's a very gifted actor. Although I'm afraid he may be a limited person.
[on director George Cukor] He has the ability to make me trust myself.
[on Humphrey Bogart] Bogart was like Henry Fonda -- proud and happy to be an actor.
[on Humphrey Bogart] He was a real man -- nothing feminine about him. He knew he was a natural aristocrat -- better than anybody.
[on Peter O'Toole] He can do anything. A bit cuckoo, but sweet and terribly funny.
[1954 comment on Judy Holliday] My, I like Judy Holliday! She looks like a Monet model. And she's so -- so defenseless. I like defenseless people. They're the best.
[on good parts] If it interests you, they don't have to pay you. It's a fascinating business anyway--it's very nice to be paid--but when you do *thrilling* material, it's like buying a piece of furniture that's really good. When you buy it, and it's great, you get *enormous* pleasure out of seeing it, and you never remember how much it cost.
If you have fame, you never feel that you have fame, if you have the brains of a flea. Because fame is something that's over back of you. It ain't ahead.... Not ahead at all. I mean, if you've done it that's great, but "what are you going to do now?" is the *only* thing that matters.
Cold sober, I find myself absolutely fascinating.
Most people, I figure, have a reservoir that you walk into town with your little box of goodies, you know. And this is me, and this is what I have to offer. Then, after a while, you've *sold* all those goodies, and if you don't go away and fill up another box ... you're just repeating. Then you're just growing *old*, and then, for a you know, certain people, there's a time when you're switching from, uh, uh, you're too old to do this, and you're too young to do that, and you have to figure out: what are you? And what really interests you? You see, we're *all* creatures of habit, and we get in a rut, and we run down that rut, happy as bugs. Well, sometimes you're bloody sick of what you're doing. And you haven't got the brains to stop. You know. And you could change, change.
[about her first TV interview, in 1973] I thought, can you think of any really *good* reason not to do it? Except that, oh, I'm so shy, or oh, my private life, or oh, are they going to find out how boring I am? You know? And that was the only reason *now*, in a sense, *not* to do television. Because it certainly is a method of expression, which has to be accepted as these things come along.
On personal power: As one goes through life one learns that if you don't paddle your own canoe, you don't move.
On work: Without discipline, there's no life at all.
On art: I think most of the people involved in any art always secretly wonder whether they are really there because they're good or they're because they're lucky. If they have time to think.
What makes you a star is horsepower.
[1991] I've made forty-three pictures. Naturally I'm adorable in all of them.
When I tested for the movies, it was immediately a warm experience. Exciting but not scary. Why this is I do not know. I just find this medium sympathetic, friendly. It must be that there is no audience, and no critics, in the immediate situation. And the camera never talks back to you. It was fun.
If you can live for other people away from yourself you will be happy and if you live for yourself then you will not be happy and you won't be able to sleep or do anything else.
[Observation, 1967] I think they're beginning to think I'm not going to be around much longer. And what do you know. They'll miss me like an old monument. Like the Flatiron Building.
[on selecting Virginia Weidler to play her sister in The Philadelphia Story (1940)] We got lucky again with the girl-this time little Virginia Weidler, who had me in stitches. She was so terrifyingly funny I truly had a difficult time doing scenes with her. Honestly, I couldn't look at her, she was so funny.
[on remaining childless] I had such a wonderful upbringing that I had a very high standard of how a father and mother should behave. I couldn't be that way and carry on a movie career.
[on Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire] She gave him sex. He gave her class.
I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for people.

Salary (8)

A Bill of Divorcement (1932) $1,500 /week
Spitfire (1934) $60,000
Sylvia Scarlett (1935) $1,500 /week + $50,000
Holiday (1938) $1,500 /week
The Philadelphia Story (1940) $75,000 + $175,000 for the rights
Woman of the Year (1942) $250,000
The African Queen (1951) $130,000 + 10% of profits
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) $200,000

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