I think it’s fair to say that I have grown to love Katharine Hepburn and that she ranks up there as one of my favourite actors. I watched a lot of old, classic movies over the summer, including one that has been a favourite of mine for a very long time: The Philedelphia Story. It’s a great romance, and features Hepburn and Cary Grant before he grew old and wrinkled and far too sun tanned to suit my tastes (I get uncomfortable with him in, say, To Catch A Thief, which was nearly 15 years later).
Also during the summer, I read up about Hepburn’s private life and her career. Did you know that The Philedelphia Story was her attempt to turn around her nose-diving career? She had become quite unpopular, and the opening scene where Grant shoves her in the face, dropping her on her ass, was a in-house acknowledgement of what many fans wanted to do with her themselves. The movie won her back her popularity, and she never lost it again.
Hepburn’s great love of her life was Spencer Tracy, but Tracy and Hepburn never married. Throughout most of their relationship, Tracy was married to another woman. Also, Hepburn was much younger than him, so their relationship was kept under wraps, but they were devoted to each other.
Much later in life, Katherine Hepburn created another unforgettable character, when she played Queen Elenore, in The Lion in Winter, against Peter O’Toole’s charming, rough and hearty Henry. It’s another great movie, one that stands the test of time as much as The Philedelphia Story does.
Happy 105th Birthday, Kate.