Date of Birth12 May 1907, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Date of Death29 June 2003, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, USA (natural causes)
Birth NameKatharine Houghton Hepburn
NicknameFirst Lady of Cinema
The Great Kate
Height5' 7½" (1.71 m)
Mini BiographyBorn May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she 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. An athletic tomboy as a child, 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 birthdate, November 8, as her own. She then became very shy around girls her age, and was largely schooled at home. She did attend Bryn Mawr College, however, and it was here that she decided to become an actress, appearing in many of their productions.
After graduating, she began getting small roles in plays on Broadway and elsewhere. She always attracted attention in these parts, especially for her role in "Art and Mrs. Bottle" (1931); then, she finally broke into stardom when she took the starring role of the Amazon princess Antiope in "A Warrior's Husband" (1932). The inevitable film offers followed, and after making a few screen tests, she was cast in Doble sacrificio (1932), opposite John Barrymore. The film was a hit, and after agreeing to her salary demands, RKO signed her to a contract. She made five films between 1932 and 1934. For her third, Gloria de un día (1933) she won her first Academy Award. Her fourth, Las cuatro hermanitas (1933) was the most successful picture of its day.
But stories were beginning to leak out of her haughty behavior off- screen and her refusal to play the Hollywood Game, always wearing slacks and no makeup, never posing for pictures or giving interviews. Audiences were shocked at her unconventional behavior instead of applauding it, and so when she returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in "The Lake", the critics panned her and the audiences, who at first bought up tickets, soon deserted her. When she returned to Hollywood, things didn't get much better. From the period 1935-1938, she had only two hits: Sueños de juventud (1935), which brought her her second Oscar nomination, and Damas del teatro (1937); the many flops included Corazones rotos (1935), La gran aventura de Silvia (1935), María Estuardo (1936), Olivia (1937) and the now- classic La fiera de mi niña (1938).
With so many flops, she came to be labeled "box-office poison." She decided to go back to Broadway to star in "The Philadelphia Story" (1938), and was rewarded with a smash. She quickly bought the film rights, and so was able to negotiate her way back to Hollywood on her own terms, including her choice of director and co-stars. The film version of Historias de Filadelfia (1940), was a box-office hit, and Hepburn, who won her third Oscar nomination for the film, was bankable again. For her next film, La mujer del año (1942), she was paired with Spencer Tracy, and the chemistry between them lasted for eight more films, spanning the course of 25 years, and a romance that lasted that long off-screen. (She received her fourth Oscar nomination for the film.) Their films included the very successful La Costilla de Adán (1949), La impetuosa (1952), and Su otra esposa (1957).
With La reina de África (1951), Hepburn moved into middle-aged spinster roles, receiving her fifth Oscar nomination for the film. She played more of these types of roles throughout the 50s, and won more Oscar nominations for many of them, including her roles in Locuras de verano (1955), El farsante (1956) and De repente, el último verano (1959). Her film roles became fewer and farther between in the 60s, as she devoted her time to her ailing partner Spencer Tracy. For one of her film appearances in this decade, in Larga jornada hacia la noche (1962), she received her ninth Oscar nomination. After a five-year absence from films, she then made Adivina quién viene esta noche (1967), her last film with Tracy and the last film Tracy ever made; he died just weeks after finishing it. It garnered Hepburn her tenth Oscar nomination and her second win. The next year, she did El león en invierno (1968), which brought her her eleventh Oscar nomination and third win.
In the 70s, she turned to making made-for-TV films, with El zoo de cristal (1973) (TV), Amor entre las ruinas (1975) (TV) and El trigo está verde (1979) (TV). She still continued to make an occasional appearance in feature films, such as El rifle y la Biblia (1975), with John Wayne, and En el estanque dorado (1981), with Henry Fonda. This last brought her her twelfth Oscar nomination and fourth win - the latter currently still a record for an actress.
She made more TV-films in the 80s, and wrote her autobiography, 'Me', in 1991. Her last feature film was Un asunto de amor (1994), with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, and her last TV- film was One Christmas (1994) (TV). With her health declining she retired from public life in the mid-nineties. She died at the age of 96 at her home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Tommy Peter