Inspiration: Katherine Hepburn

We all know Katherine! So what else could we possibly know about her, well most people know the Spencer Tracy years and her later life but most people don’t know about Katherine during the 20’s and 30’s. Of coarse we all know that Katherine Hepburn was born and raised in Connecticut and truly defined the idea of the tom-boy. She loved it all, sports, the outdoors and so much more. Hepburn was greatly skilled in swimming, tennis, wrestling, running and diving. Her talent for golf would also become a lifelong passion. The 20’s Hepburn was starting to truly find herself and her passions in life as a young adult. 

Entering in to her college years, Hepburn joined the drama department and fell in love with acting. Her carefree childhood was not wildly accepted in college. She struggled academically and was even suspended from Bryn Mawr College for smoking in her dorm room. Right after graduating college, Hepburn left for Maryland to join the cast of new play production with film producer Edwin Knopf. She finish out the 20’s with over a half a dozen theater production but she also had a handful of terminations from those acting jobs. Sadly that pattern would also follow Hepburn to Hollywood. 

In the early 30’s, Hollywood agent Leland Hayward discovered Hepburn on stage and paved the golden way to the silver screen. Hepburn went big and her first screen test was with George Kukor for the movie A Bill of Divorcement, she got the role and starred opposite of silver screen legend John Barrrymore. Both Cukor and Barrymore were noted in saying that Hepburn was extremely unique and one of the most talented actors they had ever met. This first 2years of her career was mounted with great box office success and acclaim. The Women was the pinnacle of this period and regarded one of best portrayals of her career. 

During this same period, Hepburn also wanted to take her fame back to broadway, before she left RKO for the big city, she was contracted to do one more film. In Spitfire Hepburn played and uneducated mouton girl. Sadly the movie bombed and so did her ill-fated return to the stage. Hepburn went back to Hollywood for several more years and endured negative review of one movie after another. It was also during this sad period she appeared alongside one the most successful pairing in film history. In 1935, she met and starred with Cary Grant in Sylvia Scarlett. For this film she did chop hair short for the roll which cemented her androgynous look, both Hepburn and Garbo are cemented as the icons of androgyny. While he career floundered, her second film with Grant Bringing Up Baby received great acclaim by critics but failed at the box office. Sadly her she would suffer the same defeat with their third film together, Holiday.

Some say her near death experience in the the Great Hurricane of 1938 woke up Hepburn’s great love for acting. The following year would see the rebirth of her career. The first film to cement this great success once again was The Philadelphia Story, which paired her with Grant for a fourth time. This great revival of her career would cary her into the 40’s and bring to life her great love affair with Spencer Tracy.

 Katherine Hepburn during her college years.

Katherine Hepburn during her college years.

 Hepburn as Jo in The Little Women

Hepburn as Jo in The Little Women

 Hepburn with her new mens haircut in Sylvia Scarlett

Hepburn with her new mens haircut in Sylvia Scarlett

 Hepburn and Carey Grant in Bringing Up Baby

Hepburn and Carey Grant in Bringing Up Baby

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