Sunday, December 18, 2011

♫...I wanna be Kate...♫

Katharine Hepburn

One of my all time favorite moves is The Philadelphia Story. Introducing me to that movie was the only positive thing one of my exes did. It was that movie that began my love affair with Katharine Hepburn. It was her humor, her tenacity and her brass balls that earned her place forever in my heart. Her career spanned 62 years and she is credited with 'breaking the mold' for women in Hollywood by playing strong-willed, sophisticated women. 

In Her Own Words:

Being a housewife and a mother is the biggest job in the world, but if it doesn't interest you, don't do it - I would have made a terrible mother.

If you want to give up the admiration of thousands of men for the distain of one, go ahead, get married.

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.

What in the world would we do without our libraries?

I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I've just done what I damn well wanted to, and I've made enough money to support myself, and ain't afraid of being alone.

I would have made a terrible parent. The first time my child didn't do what I wanted, I'd kill him.

Wagging Tongues:

"Goddamnit, Kate, why do you always talk like you have a feather up your ass?" ~ Spencer Tracy, longtime lover

"She only wore white Reebok high-tops, so for a dress-up scene, she’d just pull black socks over them. That’s what she was like. She hit ‘fuck it’ a long time before I met her." ~ Jason Bateman

"I didn't like the 'glamour' side of Kate. I loved the frest, natural Kate when she forgot to be a movie queen." ~ George Cukor

"I just adore her, even when she does hit me." ~ Peter O'Toole (During shooting The Lion of Winter together, he nicknamed her Old Nag, and she called him Pig)

Love Life: 

She married once. She married Ludlow Ogden Smith, a business man from Phildelephia when she was 21 and still a student at Bryn Mawr. She was never truly commited to the relationship and moved to Hollywood four years later. Two years after moving to Hollywood she obtained a divorce in Mexico. She has often expressed her gratitude for his support in those early years of her career, and he remained a lifelong friend.

While living in Hollywood, and still married, she began a relationship with her married agent, Leland Hayward.  Once they were both divorced, Hayward proposed to Katharine, but she declined, stating that she did not wish to be married again and liked the idea of being her own 'single self'. Cary Grant introduced her to Howard Hughes and after being together for two years, he wished to marry her, but she was too focused on reviving her failed career.

...and then there was Spencer Tracy.

Hepburn and Tracy:

In the nearly 30 years that Hepburn and Tracy spent together—starring together in nine films—there would be much shifting in shape. When they met, the 41-year-old actor was a hard drinker and a guilt-ridden Catholic, old-fashioned enough to be scandalized by the brusque actress in rumpled trousers. She, then 33, was the liberal Yankee blue-blood divorcée (she had left businessman Ludlow Ogden Smith after four years) who was disinclined to give a damn what anyone—Mr. Tracy included—might think. Within a week after starting Woman of the Year, in 1941, they were calling each other Spence and Kate—and discovering a once-in-a-lifetime magic. 
"At lunchtime they'd just meet and sit on a bench on the lot," Gene Kelly once recalled. "They'd hold hands and talk—and everybody left them alone in their little private world." 
Alone but not carefree. Tracy's wife, Louise, the mother of his two children, suffered in silence. Tracy, already living apart from his family, settled into a cottage near Hepburn's Beverly Hills house. Outside work, the two were careful not to be seen publicly or photographed together, and Louise never asked for a divorce, the only way that Tracy would end his marriage. After Tracy's fatal heart attack in 1967, Hepburn called Louise (who died in 1983) to see if a peace could be reached between them. "I thought you were a rumor," Mrs. Tracy responded. 
The rebuff stung, but Hepburn's love had given her thick skin. Tracy's displays of affection were gruff—and not helped by his battles with alcohol and depression. In front of visitors, he often sat in judgment as Hepburn brandished opinions. On one occasion remembered by director Stanley Kramer, she spoke of Russian missiles. "So that's another one of those subjects you know all about," Tracy growled. 
"Oh, Spencuh," Hepburn responded. 
"Why do you always talk like you have a feather up your ass?" Tracy shot back. At which—amazingly—the indomitable Miss Hepburn giggled. 
Author Martin Gottfried, who was friendly with Hepburn in the '80s, confirms the sometimes abusive nature of the relationship. "She talked about his drinking and the fact that he hit her, which stuns me," he recalls. "I'm not telling you she justifies violence, but she certainly forgave it in Spencer's case." 
In the end, the size they assumed was not his or hers but uniquely theirs. "I loved Spencer Tracy," Hepburn wrote in her 1991 autobiography, Me. "I would have done anything for him."  <via>

Interesting Tidbits:

  • Graduated from Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1928, with a degree in history and philosophy.
  • She never watched Guess Who's Coming to Dinner because it was Spencer Tracy's last film.
  • Ranked #1 woman in the AFI's "50 Greatest Movie Legends."
  • Walked around the studio in her underwear in the early 1930s when the costume department stole her slacks from her dressing room. She refused to put anything else on until they were returned.
  • She was nearly decapitated by an aeroplane propeller when she was rushing about an airport, avoiding the press.
  • A leading contender for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, she later served as Maid of Honor at Vivien Leigh's and Laurence Olivier's wedding.
  • Turned down the role of Marilla in Anne of Green Gables, but recommended her great-niece, Schuyler Grant for the role of Anne. Schuyler ended up playing Diana instead.
  • Admitted that she was menstruating while making The African Queen, which resulted in giving her fellow crew members the impression that she was moody and difficult.
  • She was one of the few great stars in Hollywood who made no attempt to sugarcoat her true personality for anyone, a personality that was blunt and feisty.
  • Was a natural red head.
  • Became very fond of Christopher Reeve, both as an actor and as a person, when he made his Broadway debut opposite her in the 1978 production of "A Matter of Gravity". She became so fond of him that she used to tease him that she wanted him to take care of her when she retired. Ironically, his reply was "Miss Hepburn, I don't think I'll live that long".
  • She thought Melanie Griffith was a good actress, but would fade away quickly. She also saw Julia Roberts as the next big thing. But the actress she loved above all was Vanessa Redgrave. She adored every performance Ms Redgrave has ever given and would tell people that she was, "A thrill to look at and to listen to".
  • Did not attend Spencer Tracy's funeral out of respect to his family.
  • Did all her own stunts because the stunt woman never stood up straight enough.
  • Was with Spencer Tracy the night he died. According to her, he had gotten up in the middle of the night to get a glass of milk. She followed the sickly Tracy to the kitchen but before she got there she heard a glass shatter and then a loud thud. She found Tracy dead on the floor; he had suffered a massive heart attack.
  • In her book "Me: Stories of My Life", she admitted to posing for nude photos when she was in her 20s. The pictures were later lost.


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