It’s a significant day in the history of cinema.
On this day, 99 years ago, the First Lady of Cinema, Katharine Hepburn, was born.
Easily the greatest actress of the 20th Century, the aura of Katharine Hepburn has stood the test of time.
During Hollywood’s Golden Age, she was everything the typical leading lady was not. She was wildly independent, often controling major aspects of her films from her co-stars and directors to the screenplay.
She never focused on beauty. This translated into a career that spanned six decades, earning her 12 Oscar nominations and 4 wins, (the most by any actor).
Her unusual features, (high cheek bones, distinct accent, tall stature), added to her strong personality. Louis B. Mayer once said that you could feel when Kate was approaching the MGM studios because her persona entered a room before she did.
Most importantly, Katharine Hepburn believed that women should face men head on, instead of falling into the background. It is this attitude that made her such a dominating force. And why she is an essential role model.
Her versatility made her a bankable actress. In Morning Glory she proved she could act. In Little Women, she proved that she was bankable. ALice Adams and Stage Door proved to be her dramatic breaks. In Bringing Up Baby, she showed her comedic timing. The Philadelphia Story demonstrated her ability to bounce back from failure. And Woman of the Year gave her lasting star power when she worked with Spencer Tracy. Their subsequent eight pairings made them a legendary duo of cinema, on and off screen.
The mystique of Katharine Hepburn lives on.
Today I had a conversation with a classmate who wanted help with a research paper on movies from the 1930’s. When I asked if she had ever seen Bringing Up Baby, she replied, “Oh my god, yes! … I want to be Katharine Hepburn.”
The Essential Katharine Hepburn I guarantee if you watch any of these films, you will find yourself falling love with the Great Kate, just like I did.
Bringing Up Baby
The Philadelphia Story
Woman of the Year
The African Queen
Pat and Mike
Suddenly, Last Summer
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
The Lion in Winter
On Golden Pond