Aunt Kate’s were over. Went down to magazine shop. Got a magazine. Got some shoe polish. Polished my shoes.
|Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 - June 29, 2003)|
Nicknames: First Lady of Cinema, Kate, The Great Kate
After graduating from Bryn Mawr, Hepburn began getting small roles in plays on Broadway
and elsewhere. She always attracted attention in these parts, especially for her role in "Art
and Mrs. Bottle" (1931); then, she finally broke into stardom when she took the starring role
of the Amazon princess Antiope in "A Warrior's Husband" (1932). The inevitable film offers
followed, and after making a few screen tests, she was cast in "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932),
opposite John Barrymore. The film was a hit, and after agreeing to her salary demands,
RKO signed her to a contract. She made five films between 1932 and 1934. For her third,
"Morning Glory" (1933) she won her first Academy Award. Her fourth, "Little Women" (1933)
was the most successful picture of its day.
But stories were beginning to leak out of her haughty behavior off- screen and her refusal
to play the Hollywood Game, always wearing slacks and no makeup, never posing for pictures
or giving interviews. Audiences were shocked at her unconventional behavior instead of applauding
it, and so when she returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in "The Lake", the critics panned her
and the audiences, who at first bought up tickets, soon deserted her.
When she returned to Hollywood, things didn't get much better. From the period 1935-1938, she had
only two hits: "Alice Adams" (1935), which brought her her second Oscar nomination, and
"Stage Door" (1937). The many flops included "Break of Hearts" (1935), "Sylvia Scarlett" (1935),
"Mary of Scotland" (1936), "Quality Street" (1937) and the now- classic "Bringing Up Baby" (1938).
With so many flops, she came to be labeled "box-office poison." She decided to go back to
Broadway to star in "The Philadelphia Story" (1938), and was rewarded with a smash. She quickly
bought the film rights, and so was able to negotiate her way back to Hollywood on her own terms,
including her choice of director and co-stars. The film version of "The Philadelphia Story" (1940)
was a box-office hit, and Hepburn, who won her third Oscar nomination for the film, was bankable
again. For her next film, "Woman of the Year" (1942), she was paired with Spencer Tracy, and
the chemistry between them lasted for eight more films, spanning the course of 25 years, and a
romance that lasted that long off-screen. (She received her fourth Oscar nomination for the film.) Their
films included the very successful "Adam's Rib" (1949), "Pat and Mike" (1952), "Desk Set" (1957), and
their final pairing in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).