Katharine Hepburn

Actor, Author
A true iconoclast known for her intelligence, determination and fierce demeanor Katharine Hepburn demonstrated remarkable staying power in a screen career that spanned more than six decades, winning three of her four ... Read more »
Born: 05/12/1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Filmography

Actor (77)

They Called Me Kathy 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Roots of Roe 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Voice

The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story 1996 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Legends in Light 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Voice

Love Affair 1994 (Movie)

Aunt Ginny (Actor)

This Can't Be Love 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Katharine Hepburn: All About Me 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Fonda on Fonda 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

MGM: When the Lion Roars 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Michael Jackson... The Legend Continues 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Unauthorized Biography: Jane Fonda 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Michael Jackson 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Going Hollywood: The War Years 1987 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Happy Birthday, Hollywood! 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Great Depression 1987 (Movie)

("Summer Theatres" - "Economy Blues") (Actor)

George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey 1985 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Grace Quigley 1985 (Movie)

Grace Quigley (Actor)

On Golden Pond 1981 (Movie)

Ethel Thayer (Actor)

The Corn Is Green 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Olly, Olly, Oxen Free 1978 (Movie)

Miss Pudd (Actor)

Rooster Cogburn 1975 (Movie)

Eula Goodnight (Actor)

A Delicate Balance 1972 (Movie)

Agnes (Actor)

The Trojan Women 1970 (Movie)

Hecuba (Actor)

Hollywood: The Selznick Years 1968 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

The Madwoman of Chaillot 1969 (Movie)

Countess Aurelia (Actor)

The Lion in Winter 1968 (Movie)

Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (Actor)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1966 (Movie)

Christina Drayton (Actor)

Long Day's Journey Into Night 1962 (Movie)

Mary Tyrone (Actor)

Suddenly, Last Summer 1959 (Movie)

Mrs Venable (Actor)

Desk Set 1957 (Movie)

Bunny (Actor)

The Iron Petticoat 1956 (Movie)

Vinka Kovelenko (Actor)

The Rainmaker 1956 (Movie)

Lizzie Curry (Actor)

Summertime 1955 (Movie)

Jane Hudson (Actor)

Pat and Mike 1952 (Movie)

Pat Pemberton (Actor)

The African Queen 1952 (Movie)

Rose Sayer (Actor)

Adam's Rib 1949 (Movie)

Amanda Bonner (Actor)

State of the Union 1948 (Movie)

Mary Matthews (Actor)

Sea of Grass 1947 (Movie)

Lutie Cameron (Actor)

Song of Love 1947 (Movie)

(Actor)

Undercurrent 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

Without Love 1945 (Movie)

Jamie Rowan (Actor)

Dragon Seed 1944 (Movie)

(Actor)

Stage Door Canteen 1942 (Movie)

(Actor)

Keeper of the Flame 1941 (Movie)

(Actor)

Woman of the Year 1941 (Movie)

Tess Harding (Actor)

The Philadelphia Story 1940 (Movie)

Tracy Lord (Actor)

Bringing Up Baby 1938 (Movie)

Susan (Actor)

Holiday 1937 (Movie)

Linda Seton (Actor)

Quality Street 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

Stage Door 1936 (Movie)

Terry Randall (Actor)

A Woman Rebels 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mary of Scotland 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Alice Adams 1934 (Movie)

Alice Adams (Actor)

Break of Hearts 1934 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sylvia Scarlett 1934 (Movie)

Sylvia Scarlett a.k.a. Sylvester (Actor)

Spitfire 1933 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Little Minister 1933 (Movie)

(Actor)

Christopher Strong 1932 (Movie)

Lady Cynthia Darlington (Actor)

Little Women 1932 (Movie)

(Actor)

Morning Glory 1932 (Movie)

Eva Lovelace (Actor)

A Bill of Divorcement 1931 (Movie)

Sydney (Actor)

Bacall on Bogart (TV Show)

Actor

Directed by John Ford (TV Show)

Actor

Hollywood: The Golden Years (TV Show)

Actor

Laura Lansing Slept Here (TV Show)

Actor

Love Among the Ruins (TV Show)

Actor

One Christmas (TV Show)

Actor

The Corn Is Green (Movie)

Lilly C. Moffat (Actor)

The Glass Menagerie (TV Show)

Actor

The Man Upstairs (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A true iconoclast known for her intelligence, determination and fierce demeanor Katharine Hepburn demonstrated remarkable staying power in a screen career that spanned more than six decades, winning three of her four Best Actress Oscars after the age of 60. An overnight sensation upon winning her first Academy Award for "Morning Glory" (1933), the headstrong actress soon chafed under the constraints of the male-dominated studio system. Brash and outspoken - she was one of the first American female celebrities to wear trousers - her prickly public image and a series of poor project choices earned her a reputation as "box office poison" until "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) allowed her to take control over her career as few actresses had before. From then on, Hepburn carefully cultivated roles that were largely reflections of her own unique persona. She perfected the battle-of-the-sexes comedy formula with the love of her life, Spencer Tracy, in such films as "Woman of the Year" (1942) and "Adam's Rib" (1949), then entered a second phase of her career with the prim "spinster" roles first seen in "The African Queen" (1951). For many, these iconic performances would eventually outshine her earlier triumphs. Hepburn's final film with Tracy in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967) won her another Oscar, as did her pairing with Peter O'Toole in "The Lion in Winter" (1968) and Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond" (1981). An unrepentantly private person, Hepburn maintained a reclusive, yet deeply satisfying life up until her passing at the age of 96.

Relationships

Robert Hepburn

Brother

Peg Hepburn

Sister

Marianne Grant

Sister
deceased

Leland Hayward Producer

Companion

Thomas Hepburn

Father
urologist who attempted to educate the public about venereal disease died in 1962

Richard Hepburn

Brother
died on October 18, 2000 at age 89

Katharine Houghton

Niece
played daughter of Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the film "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967)

Howard Hughes Producer

Companion
conducted a three-year relationship

Ludlow Smith

Husband
married in 1928 divorced in 1934 Hepburn insisted that he change his name to S Ogden Ludlow so that she wouldn't become known as 'Kate Smith'

Spencer Tracy Actor

Companion
acted together in nine films, from "Woman of the Year" (1942) to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967)

EDUCATION

Hartford School for Girls

Hartford , Connecticut

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr , Pennsylvania 1924 - 1928

Milestones

1994

Returned to feature films to play a supporting 'guest star' role in "Love Affair"; provided the high point (as Warren Beatty's feisty aunt) of this soulless remake of "An Affair to Remember" (1957)

1994

Last screen performance the NBC-TV movie "One Christmas"

1993

Hosted and starred in "Katharine Hepburn: All About Me," an autobiographical documentary produced by TNT

1986

Hosted the PBS documentary tribute, "The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn"

1985

Last feature film for nine years, "Grace Quigley"

1981

Earned an unprecendented fourth Best Actress Academy Award for "On Golden Pond"; first screen teaming with Henry Fonda

1979

Last collaboration with George Cukor, the TV-movie remake of "The Corn Is Green" (CBS)

1977

Portrayed by Tovah Feldshuh in the TV biography "The Amazing Howard Hughes" (CBS)

1976

Returned to Broadway as star of "A Matter of Gravity"

1975

Collaborated again with director George Cukor on his first TV-movie, "Love Among the Ruins" (ABC); co-starred with Laurence Olivier; won Emmy Award

1973

Made TV acting debuts in an ABC adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie"; received first Emmy nomination

1968

Earliest TV appearances include being one of the interviewees for the NBC documentary TV special "Hollywood: The Selznick Years"

1968

Over 30 years after being named 'box office poison' in a poll of motion picture exhibitors, made the annual top ten list of box office stars conducted each year by Quigley Publications

1968

Starred as Eleanor of Aquataine in "The Lion in Winter"; became most nominated actress and first to win three Best Actress Oscars; tie with Barbra Streisand was first and (to date) only instance in that category in the Academy's history

1967

Returned to films after a five year absence to co-star with Tracy in their last film together (and the last of his career), "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"; won second Academy Award as Best Actress

1962

Returned to films after an absence of three years to co-star in an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" directed by Sidney Lumet; garnered a Best Actress Academy Award nomination

1960

Returned to the American Shakespeare Festival to act in productions of "Twelfth Night" and "Antony and Cleopatra"

1959

Earned eighth Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Suddenly, Last Summer"

1957

Performed in productions of "The Merchant of Venice" and "Much Ado About Nothing" with the American Shakespeare Festival

1956

Received another Best Actress Academy Award nomination for "The Rainmaker"

1955

Toured Australia with Britain's Old Vic theatrical company in productions of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Measure for Measure"

1955

Oscar-nominated for her turn as a spinster in Venice in "Summertime"

1952

Last feature film collaboration with director George Cukor, "Pat and Mike", co-starring Spencer Tracy

1952

Made London stage debut in a production of George Bernard Shaw's "The Millionairess"; also brought the production to Broadway

1951

Journeyed to Africa to act opposite Humphrey Bogart in her first film shot largely on location outside the USA, "The African Queen"; earned fifth Best Actress Oscar nomination

1950

Returned to Broadway to play Rosalind in a production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It"

1949

Made one of her best-remembered films opposite Tracy, "Adam's Rib"

1944

Starred in the film version of "Without Love" opposite Spencer Tracy

1941

Returned to Broadway to star in Barry's "Without Love" (without heat); insisted the radiators be turned off because they made too much noise and played to freezing audiences in the winter

1941

First of nine co-starring film appearances opposite Spencer Tracy, "Woman of the Year"; received Oscar nomination as Best Actress

1940

Narrated war-time short subject, "Women in Defense"

1940

Sold the film rights to "The Philadelphia Story" to MGM, with whom she signed a contract; stipulated that she reprise role of Tracy Lord; also had a say in choice of co-stars and director; film's popularity rejuvenated her career in movies; earned Best Ac

1939

Enjoyed resounding Broadway success in the role of Tracy Lord in Barry's "The Philadelphia Story", to which she acquired the movie rights

1938

Lent to Columbia to play leading role in screen adaptation of Philip Barry's "Holiday"

1938

Bought out RKO contract rather than appear in "Mother Carey's Chickens"; role subsequently was played by Ruby Keeler

1937

Toured the USA in a stage adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel "Jane Eyre"

1936

Career mired in temporary slump due to boxoffice failure of several films; labelled 'box office poison' in 1938 by motion picture exhibitors; other stars named included Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich

1935

Hit picture, "Alice Adams", restored her diminished boxoffice stature momentarily; received Best Actress Oscar nomination

1934

Her brief, unsuccessful return to Broadway in "The Lake" prompted the famous put-down in a drama review by Dorothy Parker: "Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B"

1933

Enjoyed considerable popular and critical success in "Little Women" and "Morning Glory" (for which she won her first Best Actress Oscar)

1932

Moved to Hollywood; signed with RKO at $1500/week; originally had no interest in movies and came up with the $1500 figure thinking the studio would consider it ridiculously high; RKO surprised her by agreeing to it

1932

Film acting debut in "A Bill of Divorcement"; also marked first collaboration with director George Cukor

1932

Broadway starring role as Antiope, the Amazon queen, in the comedy, "The Warrior Husband", led to film contract

1929

First US stage tour, "Death Takes a Holiday"

1928

Moved to Baltimore to join stock company; with company made professional stage acting debut as lady-in-waiting in "Czarina"

1928

Broadway debut in "Night Hostess"

1928

First came to the attention of the American public as Veronica Sims in "These Days" on Broadway

1919

Appeared in amateur stage productions at age 12 (date approximate)

1915

First performed publicly at age 8 as part of a women's suffrage rally (date approximate)

Met playwright Philip Barry when she signed on as an understudy for the Broadway production of his successful comedy-drama "Holiday"

Put career on hold to help Spencer Tracy's wife take care of the ailing actor

Returned to Broadway to star opposite Dorothy Loudon in "The West Side Waltz"

Returned to Broadway after many years to star in a musical of designer Coco Chanel, "Coco"; received Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical

Appeared on "Michael Jackson" (1988), an episode of the ongoing series "Motown on Showtime", and the later CBS special "Michael Jackson . . . The Legend Continues" (1992), both documentary and interview tribute specials to the pop singer and songwriter

Bonus Trivia

.

Reportedly, Hepburn turned down the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. Bette Davis became the first female recipient instead.

.

"When I started out, I didn't have any desire to be an actress or to learn how to act. I just wanted to be famous." --Katharine Hepburn.

.

"She has a face that belongs to the sea and the wind, with large rocking-horse nostrils and teeth that you just know bite an apple every day." --Cecil Beaton.

.

"She makes dialogue sound better than it is by a matchless clarity and beauty of diction, and by a fineness of intelligence and sensibility that illuminates every shade of meaning in every line she speaks" --writer-director Garson Kanin.

.

"As an actress, she's a joy to work with. She's in there trying every moment. There isn't anything passive about her; she 'gives'. And as a person, she's real. There's no pretense about her. She's the most completely honest woman I've ever met." --Cary Grant.

.

"She talks at you as though you were a microphone ... She lectured the hell out of me on temperance and the evils of drink. She's actually kind of sweet and lovable, though, and she's absolutely honest and absolutely fair about her work. None of this late on the set or demanding close-ups or that kind of thing. She doesn't give a damn how she looks. She doesn't have to be waited on, either ... I don't think she tries to be a character. I think she IS one." --Humphrey Bogart.

.

"I've had a fascinating life. I don't think I'm the least bit peculiar, but people tell me I am." --Katharine Hepburn

.

"The single most important thing anyone needs to know about me is that I am totally, completely the product of two damn fascinating individuals who happened to be my parents." --Katharine Hepburn.

.

"I have always lived my life exactly as I wanted. I've tried to please no one but myself and very likely displeased a great number in the process ... But I'm entirely content. I can sit back in my old age and not regret a single thing. It's what I wish for you, my dear. A life with no regrets." --Hepburn's character in "One Christmas", quoted in USA Today, December 19, 1994.

.

"It is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of 4"---Hepburn on Acting People March 08, 1982

SIMILAR ARTICLES