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    For more than six decades, actress Katharine Hepburn enchanted audiences with her performances in movies and on the stage. She won four Academy Awards playing feisty, independent characters (from Entertainment Weekly ) such as Ethel Thayer in 1981's "On Golden Pond," in which Hepburn did her own stunts at age 74 (via Jane Fonda ).

    Hepburn started acting while at Bryn Mawr College, and after she graduated she performed on and off Broadway, according to Biography . After an RKO Radio Pictures talent scout saw one of her stage performances, Hepburn got an audition for the 1932 film "A Bill of Divorcement," with acting legend John Barrymore . She won the part and the movie did well. RKO offered Hepburn a contract and just a year later she won an Oscar for her role in "Morning Glory," opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Other lauded performances followed, with Hepburn playing Jo in "Little Women," based on the Louisa May Alcott book; Tracy Lord in "The Philadelphia Story," opposite Jimmy Stewart ; and nine films with Spencer Tracy, who had a 27-year relationship with the actress. Hepburn won another Academy Award when the two paired for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," according to the Smithsonian . 

    Despite the acting accolades, Hepburn wasn't always well-liked on movie sets. She refused to adhere to preconceived notions of how women should behave and preferred wearing pants and no make-up, said History . Plus, she often turned down requests for photos, autographs, and interviews. These attitudes made her seem disagreeable, arrogant, and self-centered — but was she? 

    An actress who valued comfort over fashion

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    Hepburn liked speaking her mind, and that sometimes polluted her reputation. While filming "A Bill of Divorcement" at RKO the costume department took away her preferred clothing — trousers — since they found them boyish and sloppy. Hepburn (above in the movie "Spitfire") never gave in to their demands that she wear something else. Instead, she strode around in her underwear until her pants were returned, according to Biography . "If you obey all the rules," the publication quoted the star, "you miss all the fun."

    She never wholly embraced fans as some stars do, and often sought a way out of the limelight. "Once a crowd chased me for an autograph," Biography quoted. "'Beat it,' I said, 'Go sit on a tack!' 'We made you,' they said. 'Like hell you did,' I told them." The actress was even proclaimed "box-office poison" in 1938 after she acted in several unsuccessful films. RKO and she parted, but instead of giving up, Hepburn continued acting. She appeared in the Broadway play "The Philadelphia Story," later reprising her role as Tracy Lord in the film adaptation (from Legacy ). Playwright Philip Barry wrote the role specifically for Hepburn, said the Santa Barbara International Film Festival .

    Unconventional love affairs

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    Some of Hepburn's most important relationships were rather scandalous, since they involved married men. In an excerpt from the biography " Katharine Hepburn ," by Barbara Leaming, printed in Vanity Fair , the author wrote about how when Hepburn worked with director John Ford on 1936's "Mary of Scotland," he told her, "You're a hell of a fine girl. If you'd just learn to shut up and knuckle under, you'd probably make somebody a nice wife." Still, he liked her intelligence, her opinionated ways, and her willingness to try things. The two entered into a relationship of sorts; Ford was married and he considered divorcing his wife, Mary, for her, but never did.

    Her long-term love affair with actor Spencer Tracy (with Hepburn, above) also occurred while he was married to his wife. Tracy and Hepburn met in 1942 to film "Woman of the Year," said History . Tracy, a Catholic, refused to divorce his wife, but often lived with Hepburn, even though they had separate homes. Still, many quietly accepted their pairing as the studio tried to keep the romance quiet, afraid of a negative response from audiences. Biography quoted Gene Kelly as saying that the two would meet at lunchtime, "they'd just meet and sit on a bench on the lot. They'd hold hands and talk — and everybody left them alone in their little private world." 

    Hepburn died on June 29, 2003. She was 96. "Life is hard," she joked in her autobiography (" Me: Stories of My Life "). "After all, it kills you" (from Good Reads ).

    Was Katharine Hepburn a snob?
    Hepburn broke all sorts of unspoken rules: she was an unabashed snob, and her voice rang with the sort of class that people outside New England love to hate. more
    Did Katharine Hepburn have OCD?
    I wondered if I could take a shower in your bathroom.” After that, the astonished woman, who recognised the star, allowed her to use her bathroom every day during the shoot. Whilst of course we can't say she didn't suffer with OCD, we've found no real evidence to support the theory Hepburn suffered with OCD. more
    Did Katherine Hepburn have Parkinson's?
    A. Katharine Hepburn's ailment, recently discussed on television by her niece Katharine Houghton, was not Parkinson's disease, but a progressive yet treatable neurological disorder called essential tremor. Ms. Hepburn's was referred to as familial tremor, the inherited form. more
    Are Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn related?
    Audrey Hepburn is not related to Katherine Hepburn Katharine was the daughter of two wealthy Connecticut Americans; Audrey the daughter of Dutch nobility. There is no meeting of family lines. They do, however, have a lot in common: talent, beauty, the same star sign, multiple acting awards. more
    Was Katharine Hepburn a queer?
    Whether these were lesbian relationships as we understand today is hard to pin down: "'Lesbian' was, for Hepburn, a specific term to describe a very butch woman, not her type at all," wrote Catherine Shroad in Telegraph. Hepburn just wasn't a huge fan of sex, with men or women. more
    Did Audrey Hepburn and Elvis date?
    But nobody once stopped to explain, why they landed on the theme “Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn”—which, by the way, not one character is excited about. Elvis and Audrey never appeared in a movie together, and apparently never even met. more
    Was Audrey Hepburn rich?
    Audrey Hepburn had a net worth of $55 million at the time of her death in 1993. That's the same as $100 million in today's dollars, after adjusting for inflation. Hepburn died on January 20, 1993 at the age of 63. She was recognized as a film and fashion icon during Hollywood's Golden Age. more
    Did Katherine Hepburn wear dresses?
    Though she was famously famous for wearing pants (everywhere) off screen, Hepburn wore any number of beautiful dresses on screen, and some of the ones with which she is most identified grace the exhibit. more
    Did Katharine Hepburn drink alcohol?
    All that changed after Tracy's death in 1967, when she would often join Bacall for a drink before dinner – Hepburn with a Scotch, Bacall with a vodka or a Jack Daniel's. Scotch was always Hepburn's tipple of choice. more
    Is Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn related?
    Audrey Hepburn is not related to Katherine Hepburn It has been a persistent misconception since Audrey came to prominence in the 1950s. Katharine was the daughter of two wealthy Connecticut Americans; Audrey the daughter of Dutch nobility. There is no meeting of family lines. more
    What is Audrey Hepburn style?
    Pieces you probably have in your wardrobe now: cigarette pants, black polo necks, trench coats, ballet flats, head scarves. Her sophistication dazzled in its simplicity. Hepburn was also the wearer of arguably the most famous little black dress in history: the Hubert de Givenchy one she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's. more


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