Hollywood Stories
Kate Hepburn Tales

"With all the opportunities I had, I could have done more.  
And if I'd done more, I could have been quite remarkable."
                                    Kate Hepburn


 

Anecdotes about the famous actress.
Hollywood Stories: Kate Hepburn Tales by Stephen Schochet

Katherine Hepburn came to Los Angeles in 1932 and like Calista Flockart, had a theater person's snobbish view towards Hollywood. In person, she impressed no one with her looks and style, and executive David O. Selznick worried about her "horse face". She finished her first film, Bill Of Divorcement with John Barrymore and told him," Thank God we're finished. I never want to act with you again". The Great Man replied," My dear girl. I wasn't aware that you had".

Many of Miss Hepburn's co-stars couldn't stand her. The movie Stage Door (1936) called for her to make a speech which would cause Ginger Rogers to cry. The director Gregory La Cava knew that Conservative Ginger Rogers hated Liberal Hepburn, so he called Ginger to the set alone. "Babe I got terrible news. Your mother called, your new house burned down." After filming Ginger's tearful reaction, La Cava excused her, and Hepburn was called to the set to make her speech.

Another film that gave Hepburn problems was the comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Cary Grant. She didn't at first understand the concept of playing comedy straight, letting the script dictate the humor. Her meddling and constant suggestions drove director Howard Hawks to distraction. Finally he confronted her on the set. "Katie, will you please shut up!" Hepburn replied calmly," Howard, you shouldn't talk that way to me. I have many friends on the set. They might arrange for an accident to happen to you." Hawks looked up into the rafters at one of the film techs manning a huge spotlight. "Hey Joey, who would rather drop that light on, me or Miss Hepburn?" "Get out of the way, Mr. Hawks."

Hepburn at one point was declared box office poison and thought her career would be saved by playing Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, which she was willing to do for free. Mindful of what the reaction from the South would be to a New Englander playing the role, David O. Selznick cruelly rejected her by saying," I can't imagine Rhett Butler chasing after you for 10 years."

Despite her liberalism, Kate Hepburn mostly got on well her political opposites, including John Wayne, who kissed her on the lips and called her a "hell of a woman". She laughed when her long time lover Spencer Tracy told the story of visiting her family home in Connecticut. During dinner, her father Doc Hepburn and Kate got into a lively discussion as to what needed to be done by the rich to help the poor. Tired of their moralizing, Tracy went out to the porch for a smoke. After a couple puffs, he noticed a very poor, very lost looking Mexican fisherman, had come onto the property. "Hey better get another plate ready in there, the poor are here to collect," said Tracy. Old man Hepburn came out on the porch. "Hey you, get the hell out of here! I'll sick the dogs on you." After the frightened fisherman ran away Doc Hepburn told the startled Tracy," Got to get the alarms fixed." Then the men went back inside, and the Hepburns resumed their discussion on how to help the poor.

Hepburn was a fearless and generous performer. She fell backwards into the garbage filled Venice canals five times to please Director David Lean for the filming Summertime (1950), causing a permanent eye infection. She gave up her close-up scenes to Judy Holiday to help advance the latter's career during the filming of Adam's Rib (1949). She swam with crocodiles while filming "The African Queen" in 1951 and 30 years later dove in the freezing cold of Squam Lake in Laconia, New Hampshire without a wet suit, during the making of On Golden Pond. She was admired by women for her strong, independent stances, but her first marriage ended in divorce, and her lover Spencer Tracy never divorced his wife Louise. After he died in 1967 Hepburn disappointed feminists many times by saying she did not believe a woman could have it all, meaning both a successful career and a relationship.

 

About the Author

Author/Narrator Stephen Schochet researched Hollywood and Disney stories and lore for 10 years while giving tours of Hollywood. He had the unique idea the stories could be told anywhere and that's what led him to create the audiobooks "Fascinating Walt Disney" and "Tales Of Hollywood". The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," These two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Realaudio samples can be heard at his website www.hollywoodstories.com.

 

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Perhaps Spencer Tracy's best roles were those with Katharine Hepburn as a co-star. Their offscreen love affair almost certainly helped their onscreen love affairs. Whether it was a drama, such as "Without Love" or a comedy like "Adam's Rib," their onscreen romance was untouchable.   Read more

 

Born 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.

Read the rest of Kate's bio and her acting credits

 

 

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Copyright 2005

 

 

 

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