Katharine Hepburn, The Films of Katharine Hepburn
“My privacy is my own and I am the one to decide when it shall be invaded.”
Katharine Hepburn, The Films of Katharine Hepburn
The Films of Katharine Hepburn is currently available via the Nick Harvill Libraries kiosk at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.
Image Credit: Horst Portraits
“The first time we ever met, me in awe, I said to her, ‘The other night I saw one of your [early] movies in which your face was more beautiful than anyone’s I’ve ever seen other than Garbo’s.’ ‘Alice Adams,’ she said, and she was right.”
Robert Gottlieb, Avid Reader: A Life
Brought together by their mutual friend Irene Mayer Selznick, Knopf's Robert Gottlieb edited Katharine Hepburn's memoir, The Making of the African Queen. An excerpt from Avid Reader in which Gottlieb recalls his experiences with not only Hepburn but also Irene Selznick and Lauren Bacall is available at Vanity Fair.
A copy of The Making of the African Queen signed by Katharine Hepburn is available via the Nick Harvill Libraries kiosk at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.
“[Africa] is a like a great sponge—it finally absorbs you. Eventually you will get malaria or you will get dysentery and whatever you do, if you don’t keep doing it, the jungle will grow over you.”
Katharine Hepburn, The Making of The African Queen
“I don't know anything about it. I never went out. I never went out anywhere ever except to George Cukor's house.”
Katharine Hepburn, The New York Times, "Style, If the Hills Were Alive," Nov. 19, 2000
For more on George Cukor's art-filled, Billy Haines-decorated home, check out Architectural Digest's "Visit George Cukor's Mediterranean-Style Home in California." [Note: The AD article identifies Cukor's home as within the limits of Beverly Hills. That is incorrect. It is in Los Angles, several blocks east of the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills.]
See also: Dinner at George Cukor's.
“If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.”
“It takes a cynic to be an idealist; the sentimentalist gets left at the first fence.”
Compton Mackenzie, The Early Life and Adventures of Sylvia Scarlett
“I've made forty-three pictures. Naturally I'm adorable in all of them.”
Katharine Hepburn, 1991
The American Film Institute ranked Katharine Hepburn the number one actress on its list of 50 Greatest American Screen Legends. Her filmography begins in the early 1930s and stretches through every remaining decade of the 20th Century. In the later years, her costume designer of choice was the late, great Noel Taylor. Nick Harvill Libraries recently listed a book Hepburn warmly inscribed to him, and a marvelous book it is.
The Private World of Katharine Hepburn records her golden years in photographs, depicting her on the set with John Wayne and Jane Fonda and at her various residences—a New York townhouse, her family home on the Long Island Sound, and her permanent guest cottage at her dear friend George Cukor’s Sunset Strip home.
The Noel Taylor costume illustration of Katharine Hepburn is via a private collector. Photographs are from The Private World of Katharine Hepburn.
Is there life after death? Does anyone really know? Well, in the case of Coco Chanel, the answer seems to be in the affirmative. So strong was the legend she created that physical demise was but a blip on the radar. In her reincarnated form, however, she is more god than mortal—the avatar of a multi-billion dollar fashion empire.
In 1969—when the couturier was still among the living—a curious co-mingling of legends occurred. Producer Frederick Brisson finally brought his long-gestating show Coco, The Musical to Broadway. He intended it as a vehicle for his wife Rosalind Russell, but she dropped out due to poor health. Instead, Brisson cast Katharine Hepburn to play Chanel at the suggestion of their mutual friend Irene Mayer Selznick.
It was an odd choice. Not only did Hepburn lack experience with song or dance, her own myth rivaled Chanel’s and not in a complementary manner. Coco was the embodiment of chic feminine elegance. Hepburn, in her men’s trousers, exuded Yankee idiosyncrasy and fortitude. A Chanel twin set suited her about as well as it would have Spencer Tracy. The story goes that the selection took Chanel by surprise as well. She assumed that the Hepburn cast to portray her was the more gamine Audrey.
One must admire Hepburn for gamely taking on the challenge. She not only had to contend with the reservations of Chanel and Beaton but with her own. She refused to accept the part until ten days of training with an MGM vocal coach convinced her she could do it. Critics eventually thought otherwise, but Hepburn turned out to be the show’s financial anchor. The Broadway version played to full houses and closed soon after Hepburn left the cast, confirming that she, not the legend of Chanel, was the appeal. Hepburn then joined the road company, which not only sold out but also survived the fashion designer herself who died in Paris during the show’s run.
There is no need to rely on critical reviews of Hepburn’s performance. A grainy version the show-stopping number she performed at the Tony Awards is available via YouTube.