Legends of Hollywood Series
Issue Date: May 12, 2010
City: Old Saybrook, CT
Katharine Hepburn’s parents encouraged her to be outspoken and develop both her body and mind. The attributes served the actress well. Hepburn (1907-2003) won a record four Academy Awards and was named the greatest female star in the history of American cinema by the American Film Institute.
Prior to her acting career, Hepburn attended Bryn Mawr College, where she was suspended for breaking curfew and smoking. (She later confessed she also swam naked in the college’s fountain.) Hepburn wore slacks long before they became fashionable, disliked makeup, and often refused to sign autographs. Unconventional behavior became her hallmark.
After moderate success on Broadway, Hepburn was cast in The Warrior’s Husband. Excellent reviews (and a short costume) skyrocketed her to fame. In 1933, her performance in Morning Glory earned her first Oscar. After harsh reviews of a string of Hepburn’s movies, her performance in The Philadelphia Story earned another Academy Award nomination and revived her career.
Hepburn met actor Spencer Tracy during the filming of Woman of the Year, and the couple quickly became one of Hollywood’s most recognizable couples. Tracy and Hepburn appeared in nine films together, including classics such as Adam’s Rib and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.