Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)


Actress, Hollywood legend. Born into an affluent yet unconventional family in Hartford, Connecticut, her parents, Dr. Thomas Norval and Katharine Martha Hepburn, were liberal, outspoken, and politically active. Their four children were raised in an atmosphere where no topic of discussion was taboo. Dr. Hepburn encouraged athletics, and young Kate excelled in golf, swimming, and figure skating. She attended Bryn Mawr College, and received a degree in history and philosophy in 1928, the same year she debuted on Broadway with a bit part in "Night Hostess". 1928 also marked the year of her only marriage, to businessman Ludlow Smith. Though the marriage was rocky and they divorced in 1934, Ludlow was very supportive - financially as well as morally - during the early years of Kate's career and they remained lifelong friends. Kate's stage work became the talk of New York, and Hollywood soon began to take notice. She was signed by RKO Pictures for her first film, "A Bill of Divorcement" in 1932. In 1934 she won her first Academy Award for best actress for her work in "Morning Glory". By 1938 she was unquestionably a star, but after a series of flops her career went into decline. This was exacerbated by her very outspoken anti-Hollywood attitudes and unwillingness to speak to the press, and she was labeled "box office poison". Kate returned to the stage in Philip Barry's "The Philadelphia Story", a play written specifically for her. After a successful Broadway run, MGM bought the rights, and the film, teaming Kate with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, was one of biggest hits of 1940. Kate's career was revived seemingly overnight. She made her first appearance with actor Spencer Tracy in 1942's "Woman of the Year". They fell in love, despite the fact that Tracy was married, and they remained together until Tracy's death in 1967. They made nine films together. Kate made over 40 films and 16 plays, and received 12 Academy Award nominations, a record that stood until 2002. She won four times, more than any other actor or actress in the history of the award. Some of her best known roles were "Bringing Up Baby" (1938), "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), "Adam's Rib" (1949), "The African Queen" (1951) with Humphrey Bogart, "Rooster Cogburn" (1975) with John Wayne, and "On Golden Pond" (1981) with Henry Fonda. Her last film was 1994's "Love Affair". Katharine Houghton Hepburn died at her home in Connecticut at the age of 96, surrounded by her family.


  1. Lots of interesting facts I didn't know about her, thanks! :) Gorgeous picture, too, of course.

    Sadie @ nelliebugs-swaps.blogspot.com

    nelliebugsdotcom from swap-bot blogger swap. :)

  2. Oh, this is a great one to come across from the swap!
    I love that you're focusing on the classic leading ladies!!

    I'm burcu, aka thegreatdawn from swap-bot.com for the blog swap!

    I followed you :)

  3. I love your blog! The pictures are perfect and the amount of info you have on these ladies is amazing. Thank you for sharing!

    I am (Cherylann)cmarois from swap-bot blogger swap

  4. what a great idea!

    thank you so much for sharing.

    lolasgirl from swap bot.

  5. Love your blog!!! I am mommascrapbooks on swap-bot and am now following your blog. Nice to know you.

  6. Howdy! This is EmilyElise from swap-bot. I absolutely love Katherine Hepburn though I need to see more of her movies. My favorite is A Philadelphia Story!

  7. Hi! This is gypsymouse form swap-bot.

    Katherine Hepburn is one of my favorite movie actresses. it's so heard to pick a favorite movie, but I really love Alice Adams, Woman of the Year, and Bringing Up Baby.