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Legendary Actress Katharine Hepburn Dies - 2003-06-30


The legendary actress, Katharine Hepburn, has died at age 96. She was a Hollywood icon, whose career spanned six decades.

She was one of the last great stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, known both on and off the screen for her irreverence and independence. Born in 1907, in Hartford, Connecticut, Hepburn credited her parents for her outspoken manner. "I'm a total result of a father and mother who weren't afraid of anything. I mean, they were really socialists who moved into a Republican community and complained about white slave traffic, prostitution, and women not having the vote, abortion, illegitimate children. I was brought up in that atmosphere, don't be afraid," she said.

Katharine Hepburn graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1928, and by 1932 was acting on Broadway. Her screen debut came the same year in the film A Bill of Divorcement, in which she played the daughter of star John Barrymore.

Over the next 60 years, she would star opposite some of Hollywood's top leading men, including Cary Grant in the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story, Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen in 1951, and Peter O'Toole in 1968's The Lion in Winter.

Her pairing with Spencer Tracy in 1942 marked the start of a long relationship both on and off the screen. Movies featuring the couple range from Woman of the Year to the 1967 drama Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? That film with Sidney Poitier dealt with sensitive racial issues, and it brought Hepburn the second of four Oscars that she earned in her career.

In 1981, she won praise again, and an Oscar, for her role opposite Henry Fonda in the film On Golden Pond` a story of family reconciliation.

Hepburn: "Listen to me, Mister. You're my knight in shining armor, and don't you forget it. You are going to get back on that horse, and I am going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we are going to go, go, go."
Fonda: "I don't like horses."
Hepburn: "Hahah."

She was lured out of retirement in the early 1990s to play in the Warren Beatty film Love Affair.

Katharine Hepburn suffered from a neurological ailment, possibly Parkinson's disease. She died at her home in Connecticut Sunday, surrounded by friends and family.