Filmography

1932
A Bill of Divorcement

 

1933
Christopher Strong
Morning Glory
Little Women

 

1934
Spitfire
The Little Minister

 

1935
Break of Hearts
Alice Adams
Sylvia Scarlett

 

1936
Mary of Scotland
A Woman Rebels

 

1937
Quality Street
Stage Door

 

1938
Bringing Up Baby
Holiday

 

1940
The Philadelphia Story

 

1942
Woman of the Year
Keeper of the Flame

 

1943
Stage Door Canteen

 

1944
Dragon Seed

 

1945
Without Love

 

1946
Undercurrent

 

1947
The Sea of Grass
Song of Love

 

1948
State of the Union

 

1949
Adam’s Rib

 

1951
The African Queen

 

1952
Pat and Mike

 

1955
Summertime

 

1956
The Rainmaker
The Iron Petticoat

 

1957
Desk Set

 

1959
Suddenly, Last Summer

 

1962
Long Day’s Journey into Night

 

1967
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

 

1968
The Lion in Winter

 

1969
The Madwoman of Chaillot

 

1971
The Trojan Women

 

1973
A Delicate Balance

 

1975
Rooster Cogburn

 

1978
Olly, Olly, Oxen Free

 

1981
On Golden Pond

 

1985
Grace Quigley

 

1994
Love Affair

Awards

She was nominated for 12 Best Actress in A Leading Role Academy Awards and won four

1934 Morning Glory – won

1936 Alice Adams

1941 The Philadelphia Story

1943 Woman of the Year

1952 The African Queen

1956 Summertime

1957 The Rainmaker

1960 Suddenly, Last Summer

1963 Long Day’s Journey Into Night

1968 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – won

1969 The Lion in Winter – won

1982 On Golden Pond – won

 

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

Katharine Hepburn: Learn more about her, review her filmography and more

Actress, Biographies

Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, Hepburn was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. She was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was devastated at age 14 to find him dead, the apparent result of accidentally hanging himself while practicing a hanging trick their father had taught them. For many years after this, Katharine used his birth date, November 8, as her own. She then became very shy around girls her age, and was largely schooled at home until she went to college.

While attending Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Katharine Hepburn fell in love with acting. After graduating from the school in 1928 with a degree in history, she spent the next several years acting in plays in and around New York, appearing in productions both on and off Broadway. She got her big break into screen acting when an RKO Radio Pictures talent scout spotted her in a Broadway performance and offered her an audition for a role starring opposite John Barrymore in the 1932 film A Bill of Divorcement

A Bill of Divorcement became a hit, and RKO offered Hepburn a lucrative long-term contract to make films for the studio. Hepburn won the first of her four Academy Awards just a year later, for her performance in Morning Glory, opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Adolphe Menjou. Soon after, her performance as Jo in the hit big-screen adaptation of the beloved novel Little Women by  Louisa May Alcott won her great acclaim, and Hepburn became known throughout the world as a formidable onscreen presence with a fierce intelligence.

Though Hepburn made a series of popular comedies in the late 1930s (the most notable being Bringing Up Baby in 1938, opposite Cary Grant), she also appeared in a handful of flops, and producers began to label her “box-office poison.” Sensing trouble, Hepburn ended her contract at RKO and returned to the stage.

Back on Broadway, Hepburn appeared as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story, winning huge acclaim. Playwright Philip Barry had written the role specifically with Hepburn in mind, and critics and audiences went wild over the production. Hepburn bought the motion picture rights to the story and headed back to Hollywood, where she sold them to MGM on the condition that she would star in the film. With this move, she single-highhandedly regenerated her film career and her appeal. The 1940 film, starring Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart alongside Hepburn, earned multiple Academy Award nominations.

Hepburn’s next life-changing move was the beginning of her enduring onscreen and off screen relationship with the actor Spencer Tracy. Woman of the Year (1942), the first of nine films the duo would make together, was a huge smash. Tracy and Hepburn shared a palpable, electric chemistry on the screen and off it. The pair fell deeply in love while making their first film together; their relationship lasted 27 years, even though Tracy was already married and refused to divorce his estranged wife. Hepburn and Tracy’s unwed romance had its ups and downs, but Hepburn put her career on hold for five years beginning in 1962 to nurse Tracy through the illness that would ultimately take his life in 1967, just days after the pair completed their last film together, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Hepburn won another Oscar for her role in the film but always viewed it more as the Academy’s tribute to her lost love.

Hepburn’s Best Actress Oscar for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner had plenty of company in the trophy case. Over the course of her long career, she made dozens of films and garnered a stunning twelve Academy Award nominations, winning four. Her credits include many of the most celebrated pictures of all time: The Philadelphia Story (1940), The African Queen (1951), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), On Golden Pond (1981). She stole the stage from all the leading men of her era, including Spencer Tracy, of course, but also Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier, to name a few.

Her last Hollywood film credit came in 1994, more than 60 years after she made her memorable debut.  Katharine Hepburn died on June 29, 2003, at the age of 96 in the same house in which she had grown up.

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