Katharine Hepburn

Highest Rated: 100% Desk Set (1957)
Lowest Rated: 17% The Sea of Grass (1947)
Birthday: May 12, 1907
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
"I'm a personality as well as an actress," Katharine Hepburn once declared. "Show me an actress who isn't a personality, and you'll show me a woman who isn't a star." Hepburn's bold, distinctive personality was apparent almost from birth. She inherited from her doctor father and suffragette mother her three most pronounced traits: an open and ever-expanding mind, a healthy body (maintained through constant rigorous exercise), and an inability to tell anything less than the truth. Hepburn was more a personality than an actress when she took the professional plunge after graduating from Bryn Mawr in 1928; her first stage parts were bits, but she always attracted attention with her distinct New England accent and her bony, sturdy frame. The actress' outspokenness lost her more jobs than she received, but, in 1932, she finally scored on Broadway with the starring role in The Warrior's Husband. She didn't want to sign the film contract offered her by RKO, so she made several "impossible" demands concerning salary and choice of scripts. The studios agreed to her terms, and, in 1932, she made her film debut opposite John Barrymore in A Bill of Divorcement (despite legends to the contrary, the stars got along quite well). Critical reaction to Hepburn's first film set the tone for the next decade: Some thought that she was the freshest and most original actress in Hollywood, while others were irritated by her mannerisms and "artificial" speech patterns. For her third film, Morning Glory (1933), Hepburn won the first of her four Oscars. But despite initial good response to her films, Hepburn lost a lot of popularity during her RKO stay because of her refusal to play the "Hollywood game." She dressed in unfashionable slacks and paraded about without makeup; refused to pose for pinup pictures, give autographs, or grant interviews; and avoided mingling with her co-workers. As stories of her arrogance and self-absorption leaked out, moviegoers responded by staying away from her films. The fact that Hepburn was a thoroughly dedicated professional -- letter-perfect in lines, completely prepared and researched in her roles, the first to arrive to the set each day and the last to leave each evening -- didn't matter in those days, when style superseded substance. Briefly returning to Broadway in 1933's The Lake, Hepburn received devastating reviews from the same critics who found her personality so bracing in The Warrior's Husband. The grosses on her RKO films diminished with each release -- understandably so, since many of them (Break of Hearts [1935], Mary of Scotland [1936]) were not very good. She reclaimed the support of RKO executives after appearing in the moneymaking Alice Adams (1935) -- only to lose it again by insisting upon starring in Sylvia Scarlett (1936), a curious exercise in sexual ambiguity that lost a fortune. Efforts to "humanize" the haughty Hepburn personality in Stage Door (1937) and the delightful Bringing Up Baby (1938) came too late; in 1938, she was deemed "box-office poison" by an influential exhibitor's publication. Hepburn's career might have ended then and there, but she hadn't been raised to be a quitter. She went back to Broadway in 1938 with a part written especially for her in Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story. Certain of a hit, she bought the film rights to the play; thus, when it ended up a success, she was able to negotiate her way back into Hollywood on her own terms, including her choice of director and co-stars. Produced by MGM in 1940, the film version was a box-office triumph, and Hepburn had beaten the "poison" label. In her next MGM film, Woman of the Year (1942), Hepburn co-starred with Spencer Tracy, a copacetic teaming that endured both professionally and personally until Tracy's death in 1967. After several years of off-and-on films, Hepburn scored another success with 1951's The African Queen, marking her switch from youngish sophisticates to middle-aged character leads. After 1962's Long Da

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
50% Rooster Cogburn Eula Goodnight 1999
No Score Yet The Hidden Army: Women in World War II Narrator 1999
No Score Yet The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story Actor 1996
No Score Yet Katharine Hepburn: On Her Own Terms Actor 1996
No Score Yet Women of Substance: Katharine Hepburn Actor 1996
No Score Yet One Christmas Cornelia Beaumont 1994
30% Love Affair Ginny 1994
No Score Yet The Man Upstairs Victoria Browne 1993
No Score Yet Fonda on Fonda Actor 1992
No Score Yet Katharine Hepburn: All About Me Actor 1992
No Score Yet Michael Jackson - The Legend Continues Actor 1989
No Score Yet Laura Lansing Slept Here Laura Lansing 1988
No Score Yet Bacall on Bogart Actor 1988
No Score Yet Spencer Tracy Legacy Host 1987
No Score Yet Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry Margaret Delafield 1986
No Score Yet Grace Quigley (The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley) Grace Quigley 1985
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey Herself 1984
No Score Yet Storytime Classics: Katharine Hepburn's World of Stories Actor 1983
92% On Golden Pond Ethel Thayer 1981
No Score Yet The Corn Is Green Miss Moffat 1978
No Score Yet Olly Olly Oxen Free Miss Pudd 1978
No Score Yet That's Entertainment, Part 2 Actor 1976
No Score Yet Love Among the Ruins Jessica Mendicott 1975
No Score Yet The Glass Menagerie Amanda Wingfield 1973
71% A Delicate Balance Agnes 1973
No Score Yet The Trojan Women Hecuba 1971
20% The Madwoman of Chaillot Countess Aurelia 1969
92% The Lion in Winter Eleanor Of Aquitaine $18.7K 1968
71% Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Christina Drayton 1967
93% Long Day's Journey Into Night Mary Tyrone 1962
67% Suddenly, Last Summer Mrs. Violet Venable 1959
100% Desk Set Bunny Watson 1957
No Score Yet The Iron Petticoat Vinka Kovelenko 1957
No Score Yet The Rainmaker Lizzie Curry 1956
93% Summertime Jane Hudson 1955
90% Pat and Mike Patricia "Pat" Pemberton 1952
60% Road to Bali Rose Sayer 1952
98% The African Queen Rose Sayer 1951
100% Adam's Rib Amanda Bonner 1949
80% State of the Union Mary Matthews 1948
No Score Yet Song of Love Clara Wieck Schumann 1947
17% The Sea of Grass Lutie Cameron Brewton 1947
No Score Yet Undercurrent Ann Hamilton 1946
No Score Yet Without Love Jamie Rowan 1945
No Score Yet Dragon Seed Jade Tan 1944
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen Stage Door Canteen Star 1943
No Score Yet Keeper of the Flame Mrs. Christine Forrest 1942
92% Woman of the Year Tess Harding 1942
No Score Yet Women In Defense Actor 1941
100% The Philadelphia Story Tracy Lord 1940
100% Holiday Linda Seton 1938
93% Bringing Up Baby Susan Vance 1938
95% Stage Door Terry Randall 1937
60% Quality Street Phoebe Throssel 1937
No Score Yet A Woman Rebels Pamela Thistlewaite 1936
No Score Yet Mary of Scotland Mary Stuart 1936
90% Sylvia Scarlett Sylvia Scarlett 1935
No Score Yet Break of Hearts Constance Dane Roberti 1935
93% Alice Adams Alice Adams 1935
No Score Yet The Little Minister Barbara 1934
No Score Yet Spitfire Trigger Hicks 1934
92% Little Women Jo March 1933
67% Morning Glory Eva Lovelace 1933
No Score Yet Christopher Strong Lady Cynthia Darrington 1933
No Score Yet A Bill of Divorcement Sydney Fairfield 1932

QUOTES FROM Katharine Hepburn CHARACTERS