Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Katharine Hepburn

 Katharine Hepburn 
May 12, 1907-June 29, 2003

Katharine Houghton Hepburn was known as a spirited performer with a touch of eccentricity. Her looks;  sharp-planed face defined by remarkably high cheekbones (which someone once called the greatest calcium deposit since the White Cliffs of Dover!). In her youth she did not have classical leading-lady looks, but a handsome beauty.  Hepburn was an unlikely Hollywood star, wearing casual particularly trousers, at a time when actresses were expected to exude glamour 24 hours a day. 

As an actress she was noted for her brisk upper-class New England accent and tomboyish beauty.  Possessing a distinctive speech pattern and an abundance of quirky mannerisms, she earned unqualified praise from her admirers and unmerciful criticism from her detractors. Unabashedly outspoken and iconoclastic, she did as she pleased, refusing to grant interviews,  and was noted for openly clashing with her more experienced coworkers whenever they failed to meet her standards.

She played sharp-witted, sophisticated women with an ease that suggested that there was a thin line between the movie role and the off-screen personality. The romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story(1959) and the screwball classic Bringing Up Baby (1938) were among her best, most typical roles.  But through 43 films and dozens of stage and television appearances, she played comic and dramatic parts as varied  in Little Women(1933) the reborn spinster in The African Queen (1951)and The Lion in Winter(1968)
 Katharine Hepburn  and Spencer Tracy

Hepburn was married once, to Philadelphia broker Ludlow Ogden Smith, a union that was dissolved in 1934. While filming Woman of the Year in 1942, she began an enduring  intimate relationship with her costar, Spencer Tracy.  Tracy was unhappily married and the father of two when they met, and he remained married until the end of his life. He and Miss Hepburn never married (Tracy was Roman Catholic and would not divorce his wife) but they lived together for 27 years, until his death in 1967, and made nine films together which include Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952).
Cary Grant and Katharine in Bringing Up Baby

Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, John Howard and Katharine Hepburn
in The Philadelphia Story

Katharine was a 4-time Academy Award winner who was 96 years old when she passed away on June 2003.  She died of natural causes in her home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.   

Today, the U.S. Postal Service honors Hepburn on what would have been her 103rd birthday with her own U.S. stamp.  Happy Birthday Kate the Great! What is your favorite movie starring Katharine Hepburn?

5 comments:

Pixie Drive-In said...

A true individual. My favorite is The Philadelphia Story!

Beth's Blog said...

I love her! She is beautiful!

lakhsmita indira said...

ah, another Hepburn! ;)))

lakhsmita indira said...

but Audrey still is the best :D

Darrin.. said...

Hepburn/Tracy... what a duo!! One of my faves. Maybe even more so than Bogey and Bacall