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On This Day: May 12th, Katharine Hepburn


Katharine Houghton Hepburn
Katharine Houghton Hepburn

Born on this day in 1907, Player Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an actress whose career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned six decades. Known for her headstrong independence, she regularly played strong-willed, sophisticated women.

Hepburn began to act while at Bryn Mawr College. Her early years in film brought her international fame, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her third film, Morning Glory (1933), followed by a series of commercial failures culminating in the critically lauded box office flop Bringing Up Baby (1938). Hepburn orchestrated her own comeback, acquiring the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she sold on the condition that she be the star. The comedy was a box office smash and landed her a third Academy Award nomination. In the 1940s, she was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where her screen partnership with Spencer Tracy would span 26 years and produce nine films.

Later in life, she took on Shakespearean stage productions and a range of literary roles, finding a niche playing mature, independent, and sometimes unmarried women such as The African Queen (1951). Hepburn would receive three more Academy Awards for her performances in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981). In all, she won a record four Oscars. She made her final screen appearance at the age of 87and died in 2003 at the age of 96.

Blog Contributor
Katharine Ramsden

Katharine Ramsden is a (semi-retired) former journalist and corporate communications executive. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she is a recently new Player, avid reader and one time a cappella singer.

1 Comment

Linda Porto
May 14

Kate the Great, I lived in Turtle Bay for twenty years and finally had a very, brief encounter with KH as I walked past her townhouse late one night. As she stood in her doorway taking deep breaths, I said, "Good Night Miss Hepburn" and she said, "Thank you dearie".

Next day I bought a pretty card, wrote her a note (now I knew her exact address), about loving her performances and her latest book on the making of the "The African Queen".

A few days later I got a handwritten thank you note from Katherine Houghton Hepburn, which I treasure!

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