179 Facts About Katharine Hepburn


Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress whose career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned over six decades.


Katharine Hepburn was known for her headstrong independence, spirited personality, and outspokenness, cultivating a screen persona that matched this public image, and regularly playing strong-willed, sophisticated women.


In 1999, Hepburn was named the greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute.


Katharine Hepburn masterminded her own comeback, buying out her contract with RKO Radio Pictures and acquiring the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she sold on the condition that she be the star.


Katharine Hepburn challenged herself in the latter half of her life as she tackled Shakespearean stage productions and a range of literary roles.


Katharine Hepburn found a niche playing mature, independent, and sometimes unmarried women such as in The African Queen, a persona the public embraced.


Katharine Hepburn received three more Academy Awards for her performances in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond.


Katharine Hepburn made her final screen appearance at the age of 87.


Katharine Hepburn shunned the Hollywood publicity machine and refused to conform to society's expectations of women, famously wearing trousers before they were fashionable for women.


Katharine Hepburn was briefly married as a young woman but thereafter lived independently.


Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born on May 12,1907, in Hartford, Connecticut, the second of six children.


Katharine Hepburn's parents were Thomas Norval Hepburn, a urologist at Hartford Hospital, and Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn, a feminist campaigner.


The Katharine Hepburn children were raised to exercise freedom of speech and encouraged to think and debate on any topic they wished.


Katharine Hepburn's parents were criticized by the community for their progressive views, which stimulated Hepburn to fight against barriers she encountered.


Katharine Hepburn said she realized from a young age that she was the product of "two very remarkable parents", and credited her "enormously lucky" upbringing with providing the foundation for her success.


Katharine Hepburn remained close with her family throughout her life.


The young Katharine Hepburn was a tomboy who liked to call herself Jimmy and cut her hair short.


Thomas Katharine Hepburn was eager for his children to use their minds and bodies to the limit and taught them to swim, run, dive, ride, wrestle, and play golf and tennis.


Katharine Hepburn loved swimming in Long Island Sound, and took ice-cold baths every morning in the belief that "the bitterer the medicine, the better it was for you".


Katharine Hepburn was a fan of films from a young age and went to see one every Saturday night.


Katharine Hepburn would put on plays and perform for her neighbors with friends and siblings for 50 cents a ticket to raise money for the Navajo people.


Katharine Hepburn had tied a curtain tie around a beam and hanged himself.


The Katharine Hepburn family denied it was suicide and maintained that Tom's death must have been an experiment that had gone wrong.


Katharine Hepburn shied away from other children, dropped out of Oxford School, and was tutored privately.


Katharine Hepburn initially agreed to attend the institution to satisfy her mother, who had studied there, but ultimately found the experience to be fulfilling.


Katharine Hepburn struggled with the scholastic demands of university, and once was suspended for smoking in her room.


Katharine Hepburn was drawn to acting, but roles in college plays were conditional on good grades.


Katharine Hepburn performed the lead role in a production of The Woman in the Moon in her senior year, and the positive response it received cemented Hepburn's plans to pursue a theatrical career.


Katharine Hepburn graduated with a degree in history and philosophy in June 1928.


Katharine Hepburn received good reviews for her small role, and the Printed Word described her performance as "arresting".


Katharine Hepburn was given a part in the following week's show, but her second performance was less well received.


Katharine Hepburn was criticized for her shrill voice, and so left Baltimore to study with a voice tutor in New York City.


Katharine Hepburn was immediately fired, and the original leading lady rehired.


Undeterred, Katharine Hepburn joined forces with the producer Arthur Hopkins and accepted the role of a schoolgirl in These Days.


Katharine Hepburn planned to leave the theatre behind but began to miss the work and quickly resumed the understudy role in Holiday, which she held for six months.


In 1929, Katharine Hepburn turned down a role with the Theatre Guild to play the lead in Death Takes a Holiday.


Katharine Hepburn felt the role was perfect, but again, she was fired.


Katharine Hepburn went back to the Guild and took an understudy role for minimum pay in A Month in the Country.


Katharine Hepburn left halfway through the summer season and continued studying with a drama tutor.


Katharine Hepburn was released from the role after the playwright took a dislike to her, saying "Katharine Hepburn looks a fright, her manner is objectionable, and she has no talent", but Hepburn was re-hired when no other actress could be found.


Katharine Hepburn appeared in a number of plays with a summer stock company in Ivoryton, Connecticut, and she proved to be a hit.


Katharine Hepburn took a small role in an upcoming play, but as rehearsals began, she was asked to read for the lead in the Greek fable The Warrior's Husband.


Katharine Hepburn arrived in California in July 1932, at 25 years old.


Katharine Hepburn starred in A Bill of Divorcement opposite John Barrymore, but showed no sign of intimidation.


The picture was a success and Katharine Hepburn received positive reviews.


Katharine Hepburn has a vital something that sets her apart from the picture galaxy.


The picture was not commercially successful, but Katharine Hepburn's reviews were good.


Katharine Hepburn had seen the script on the desk of producer Pandro S Berman and, convinced that she was born to play the part, insisted that the role be hers.


Katharine Hepburn's success continued with the role of Jo in the film Little Women.


The picture was a hit, one of the film industry's biggest successes to date, and Katharine Hepburn won the Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival.


Katharine Hepburn asked Hepburn to appear in the play The Lake, which she agreed to do for a low salary.


Katharine Hepburn kept a photo of herself as Hicks in her bedroom throughout her life to "[keep] me humble".


Katharine Hepburn later referred to Harris as "hands-down the most diabolical person I have ever met", and claimed this experience was important in teaching her to take responsibility for her career.


Katharine Hepburn loved the book and was delighted to be offered the role.


Katharine Hepburn received the second most votes, after winner Bette Davis.


Katharine Hepburn's hair was cut short for the part, as her character masquerades as a boy for much of the film.


Katharine Hepburn next played Mary Stuart in John Ford's Mary of Scotland, which met with a similarly poor reception.


Katharine Hepburn had a difficult relationship with the press, with whom she could be rude and provocative.


Katharine Hepburn sensed that she needed to leave Hollywood, so she returned east to star in a theatrical adaptation of Jane Eyre.


Towards the end of 1936, Katharine Hepburn vied for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.


Katharine Hepburn was praised for her work at early previews, which gave her top billing over Rogers.


Katharine Hepburn was cast in Howard Hawks' screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, where she played a flighty heiress who loses a leopard while trying to woo a palaeontologist.


Katharine Hepburn approached the physical comedy of the film with confidence, and took tips on comedic timing from her co-star Walter Catlett.


Katharine Hepburn turned it down, and instead opted to buy out her contract for $75,000.


Katharine Hepburn signed on for the film version of Holiday with Columbia Pictures, pairing her for the third time with Grant, to play a stifled society girl who finds joy with her sister's fiance.


Katharine Hepburn left Hollywood to look for a stage project, and signed on to star in Philip Barry's new play, The Philadelphia Story.


Several of the major film studios approached Katharine Hepburn to produce the movie version of Barry's play.


Berg describes how the character was crafted to have audiences "laugh at her enough that they would ultimately sympathize with her", which Katharine Hepburn felt was crucial in "recreating" her public image.


Katharine Hepburn was responsible for the development of her next project, the romantic comedy Woman of the Year about a political columnist and a sports reporter whose relationship is threatened by her self-centered independence.


The idea for the film was proposed to her in 1941 by Garson Kanin, who recalled how Katharine Hepburn contributed to the script.


Katharine Hepburn's terms accepted, Hepburn was given the director and co-star of her choice, George Stevens and Spencer Tracy.


Critics praised the chemistry between the stars, and, says Higham, noted Katharine Hepburn's "increasing maturity and polish".


The World-Telegram commended two "brilliant performances", and Katharine Hepburn received a fourth Academy Award nomination.


In 1942, Katharine Hepburn returned to Broadway to appear in another Philip Barry play, Without Love, which was written with the actress in mind.


Since Woman of the Year, Katharine Hepburn had committed to a romantic relationship with Tracy and dedicated herself to helping the star, who suffered from alcoholism and insomnia.


Katharine Hepburn's only appearance in 1943 was a cameo in the morale-building wartime film Stage Door Canteen, playing herself.


Katharine Hepburn took an atypical role in 1944, playing a Chinese peasant in the high-budget drama Dragon Seed.


Katharine Hepburn was enthusiastic about the film, but it met with a tepid response and she was described as miscast.


Katharine Hepburn then reunited with Tracy for the film version of Without Love, after which she turned down a role in The Razor's Edge to support Tracy through his return to Broadway.


Katharine Hepburn trained intensively with a pianist for the role.


Tracy and Katharine Hepburn appeared onscreen together for a third consecutive year in the 1949 film Adam's Rib.


The 1950s saw Katharine Hepburn take on a series of professional challenges, and stretch herself further than at any other point in her life at an age when most other actresses began to retreat.


In January 1950, Katharine Hepburn ventured into Shakespeare, playing Rosalind on stage in As You Like It.


In 1951, Katharine Hepburn filmed The African Queen, her first movie in Technicolor.


Katharine Hepburn played Rose Sayer, a prim missionary living in German East Africa at the outbreak of World War I Co-starring Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen was shot mostly on location in the Belgian Congo, an opportunity Hepburn embraced.


Katharine Hepburn's parents had read Shaw to her when she was a child, which made the play a special experience for the actress.


Two years of intense work had left her exhausted and her friend Constance Collier wrote that Katharine Hepburn was "on the verge of a nervous breakdown".


Katharine Hepburn subsequently tried to get the play adapted into a film: a script was written by Preston Sturges, and she offered to work for nothing and pay the director herself, but no studio picked up the project.


Katharine Hepburn later referred to this as the biggest disappointment of her career.


Pat and Mike was the last film Katharine Hepburn completed on her MGM contract, making her free to select her own projects.


Katharine Hepburn spent two years resting and traveling, before committing to David Lean's romantic drama Summertime.


The movie was filmed in Venice, with Katharine Hepburn playing an unmarried woman who has a passionate love affair.


Katharine Hepburn described it as "a very emotional part" and found it fascinating to work with Lean.


At her own insistence, Katharine Hepburn performed a fall into a canal and developed a chronic eye infection as a result.


The tour was successful and Katharine Hepburn earned significant plaudits for the effort.


Katharine Hepburn received an Academy Award nomination for the second year running for her work opposite Burt Lancaster in The Rainmaker.


Again she played a lonely woman empowered by a love affair, and it became apparent that Katharine Hepburn had found a niche in playing mature, unmarried women.


Katharine Hepburn played a cold-hearted Soviet pilot, a performance Bosley Crowther called "horrible".


Tracy and Katharine Hepburn reunited on screen for the first time in five years for the office-based comedy Desk Set.


Katharine Hepburn clashed with director Joseph L Mankiewicz during filming, which culminated with her spitting at him in disgust.


Katharine Hepburn wrote The Night of the Iguana with Hepburn in mind, but the actress, although flattered, felt the play was wrong for her and declined the part, which went to Bette Davis.


Katharine Hepburn returned to Stratford in the summer of 1960 to play Viola in Twelfth Night, and Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra.


Katharine Hepburn's repertoire was further improved when she appeared in Sidney Lumet's film version of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night.


Katharine Hepburn called it "the greatest [play] this country has ever produced" and the role of morphine-addicted Mary Tyrone "the most challenging female role in American drama", and felt her performance was the best screen work of her career.


Katharine Hepburn did not work again until 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, her ninth film with Tracy.


The movie dealt with the subject of interracial marriage, with Hepburn's niece, Katharine Houghton, playing her daughter.


Katharine Hepburn won her second Best Actress Award at the Oscars, 34 years after winning her first.


Katharine Hepburn felt the award was not just for her but was given to honor Tracy.


Katharine Hepburn quickly returned to acting after Tracy's death, choosing to occupy herself as a remedy against grief.


Katharine Hepburn received numerous scripts and chose to play Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, a part she called "fascinating".


Katharine Hepburn read extensively in preparation for the role, in which she starred opposite Peter O'Toole.


The movie was nominated in all the major categories at the Academy Awards, and for the second year running Katharine Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress.


The picture was a failure critically and financially, and reviews targeted Katharine Hepburn for giving a misguided performance.


From December 1969 to August 1970, Katharine Hepburn starred in the Broadway musical Coco, about the life of Coco Chanel.


Katharine Hepburn admitted that before the show, she had never sat through a theatrical musical.


Katharine Hepburn was not a strong singer, but found the offer irresistible and, as Berg puts it, "what she lacked in euphony she made up for in guts".


Katharine Hepburn was nervous about every performance and recalled "wondering what the hell I was doing there".


Katharine Hepburn later said Coco marked the first time she accepted that the public was not against her, but actually seemed to love her.


Katharine Hepburn's work earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.


Katharine Hepburn stayed active throughout the 1970s, focusing on roles described by Andrew Britton as "either a devouring mother or a batty old lady living [alone]".


The studio disliked her changes, so Katharine Hepburn abandoned the project and was replaced with Maggie Smith.


In 1973, Katharine Hepburn ventured into television for the first time, starring in a production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.


Katharine Hepburn had been wary of the medium, but it proved to be one of the main television events of the year, scoring high in the Nielsen ratings.


Katharine Hepburn received an Emmy Award nomination for playing wistful Southern mother Amanda Wingfield, which opened her mind to future work on the small screen.


In 1976, Katharine Hepburn returned to Broadway for a three-month run of Enid Bagnold's play A Matter of Gravity.


The screenwriter James Prideaux, who worked with Katharine Hepburn, later wrote that it "died at the moment of release" and referred to it as her "lost film".


Katharine Hepburn claimed the main reason she had done it was the opportunity to ride in a hot-air balloon.


Jane Fonda had purchased the screen rights for her father, actor Henry Fonda, and Katharine Hepburn sought to play opposite him in the role of quirky Ethel Thayer.


Katharine Hepburn received a second Tony nomination for her portrayal in The West Side Waltz of a septuagenarian widow with a zest for life.


In 1984, Katharine Hepburn starred in the dark-comedy Grace Quigley, the story of an elderly woman who enlists a hitman to kill her.


Katharine Hepburn found humor in the morbid theme, but reviews were negative and the box-office was poor.


Katharine Hepburn received an Emmy nomination for 1986's Mrs Delafield Wants to Marry, then two years later returned for the comedy Laura Lansing Slept Here, which allowed her to act with her grandniece, Schuyler Grant.


In 1991, Katharine Hepburn released her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, which topped best-seller lists for over a year.


Katharine Hepburn returned to television screens in 1992 for The Man Upstairs, co-starring Ryan O'Neal, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.


Katharine Hepburn was known for being fiercely private, and would not give interviews or talk to fans for much of her career.


Katharine Hepburn distanced herself from the celebrity lifestyle, uninterested in a social scene she saw as tedious and superficial, and she wore casual clothes that went strongly against convention in an era of glamour.


Katharine Hepburn rarely appeared in public, even avoiding restaurants, and once wrestled a camera out of a photographer's hand when he took a picture without asking.


Katharine Hepburn Houghton commented that her aunt could be "maddeningly self-righteous and bossy".


Katharine Hepburn confessed to being, especially early in life, "a me me me person".


Katharine Hepburn enjoyed painting, which became a passion later in life.


Katharine Hepburn's name was mentioned at the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, but Hepburn denied being a Communist sympathizer.


Katharine Hepburn practiced Albert Schweitzer's theory of "Reverence for Life", but did not believe in religion or the afterlife.


Katharine Hepburn liked to go barefoot, and for her first acting role, in the play "The Woman in the Moon", she insisted that her character Pandora should not wear shoes.


Katharine Hepburn filed for divorce in Yucatan on April 30,1934, and it was finalized on May 8.


Katharine Hepburn often expressed her gratitude toward Smith for his financial and moral support in the early days of her career, and in her autobiography she called herself "a terrible pig" for exploiting his love.


In 1936, while she was touring Jane Eyre, Katharine Hepburn began a relationship with entrepreneur Howard Hughes.


Katharine Hepburn had been introduced to him a year earlier by their mutual friend Cary Grant.


Hughes wished to marry her, and the tabloids reported their impending nuptials, but Katharine Hepburn stayed focused on resurrecting her failing career.


Katharine Hepburn stuck to her decision not to remarry and made a conscious choice not to have children.


Katharine Hepburn believed that motherhood required a full-time commitment, and said it was not one she was willing to make.


Rumors have existed since the 1930s that Katharine Hepburn was a lesbian or bisexual, which she often joked about.


The most significant relationship of Katharine Hepburn's life was with Spencer Tracy, her co-star in nine films.


Tracy was an alcoholic and was frequently depressed; Katharine Hepburn described him as "tortured", and she devoted herself to making his life easier.


Katharine Hepburn mothered and obeyed him, and Tracy became heavily dependent on her.


Tracy's health declined in the 1960s, and Katharine Hepburn took a five-year break in her career to care for him.


Katharine Hepburn moved into Tracy's house for this period and was with him when he died on June 10,1967.


Katharine Hepburn showed signs of dementia in her final years.


Katharine Hepburn was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford.


American president George W Bush said Hepburn "will be remembered as one of the nation's artistic treasures".


Katharine Hepburn liked to study the text and character carefully beforehand, making sure she knew them thoroughly, and then to rehearse as much as possible and film multiple takes of a scene.


Katharine Hepburn was known to learn not only her own lines but those of her co-stars.


The characters Katharine Hepburn played were, with very few exceptions, wealthy and intelligent, and often strong and independent.


Katharine Hepburn is one of the most celebrated American actresses, but she has been criticized for a lack of versatility.


Katharine Hepburn provided an image of an assertive woman whom [females] could watch and learn from.


Katharine Hepburn was beautiful, but she did not rely on that.


Katharine Hepburn's legacy extends to fashion, where she pioneered wearing trousers at a time when it was a radical move for a woman.


Katharine Hepburn helped make trousers acceptable for women, and fans began to imitate her clothing.


Katharine Hepburn's clipped, patrician voice is considered one of the most distinctive in film history.


Kent State University exhibited a selection of her film and theatre costumes from October 2010 to September 2011 in Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen.


Katharine Hepburn has been honored with her own postal stamp as part of the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series.


Katharine Hepburn is the subject of a one-woman play, Tea at Five, written by Matthew Lombardo.


Katharine Hepburn has been portrayed in Tea at Five by Kate Mulgrew, Tovah Feldshuh, Stephanie Zimbalist, and Charles Busch.


In Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biographical film The Aviator, Katharine Hepburn was portrayed by Cate Blanchett, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


Katharine Hepburn appeared on the stage in every decade from the 1920s to the 1980s, performing plays by Shakespeare and Shaw, and a Broadway musical.


Katharine Hepburn holds the record for the longest time span between first and last Oscar nominations, at 48 years.


Katharine Hepburn received two awards and five nominations from the British Academy Film Awards, one award and six nominations from the Emmy Awards, eight Golden Globe Award nominations, two Tony Award nominations, and awards from the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the People's Choice Awards, and others.


Katharine Hepburn was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1979.


Katharine Hepburn won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 1979 and received the Kennedy Center Honors, which recognize a lifetime of accomplishments in the arts, in 1990.


Katharine Hepburn was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the following performances:.