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Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was an Emmy and multi-Academy Award-winning American actress of The Philadelphia Story, Woman of the Year, The African Queen, The Lion in Winter, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and On Golden Pond fame.

Her onscreen collaborations with actor Spencer Tracy resulted in some of her most memorable work.

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Katharine Houghton Hepburn

Date, time and place of birth: May 12, 1907, at 5:47 p.m., at 22 Hudson Street, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A. *

Date, time, place and cause of death: June 29, 2003, at 2:50 p.m., Fenwick, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, U.S.A. (Natural causes)

Spouse: Ludlow "Luddy" Ogden Smith (m. December 12, 1928 - April 30, 1934) (divorced)
Wedding took place at 201 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Siblings: Thomas Houghton Hepburn (b. November 8, 1905, at 22 Hudson Street, Hartford, Connecticut - d. April 3, 1921, at about 3 a.m., New York City, New York, by suicide - hanging)
Richard Houghton Hepburn (b. September 8, 1911, at 133 Hawthorn Street, Hartford, Connecticut - d. October 18, 2000, Hartford, Connecticut)
Robert Houghton Hepburn (b. April 4, 1913, at 133 Hawthorn Street, Hartford, Connecticut) (brothers)

Sisters: Marion Houghton Hepburn (b. April 24, 1918, at 352 Laurel Street, Hartford, Connecticut - d. 1986)
Margaret Houghton Hepburn (b. May 17, 1920, at 352 Laurel Street, Hartford, Connecticut)

Father: Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn (a surgeon) (b. December 18, 1879, near Richmond, Hanover County, Virginia - d. November 20, 1962, at 201 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut)
Mother: Katharine "Kit" Martha Houghton (a women's rights activist and birth control advocate, who helped found the organization that became Planned Parenthood) (b. February 2, 1878, Boston, Massachusetts - d. March 17, 1951, at 201 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut**)

Burial site: Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Error corrections or clarifications

* Ms. Hepburn acknowledges past deceptions regarding her date of birth in her autobiography. Contrary to many published reports, May 12th, 1907 is her true date of birth, not "November 8, 1909."

** One biography erroneously reports Katharine Hepburn's mother died in 1950. Kate specifically addressed the death of her mother in her autobiography, and confirms she actually died in 1951.

NOTE: A few sources also misspell her name "Katherine" Hepburn.

Additional note: A couple of sources offer the misspelling of "Thomas Horval Hepburn" as her father's name. For the record, his name was Thomas Norval Hepburn.

All of the following publications, in some past editions, have offered erroneous d.o.b. data on Katharine Hepburn.

Born This Day: A Daily Celebration of Famous Beginnings by Ed Morrow

Collier's Encyclopedia

Compton's Encyclopedia

Earl Blackwell's Entertainment Celebrity Register

Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia

Grolier Encyclopedia

Information Please Almanac

International Motion Picture Almanac

John Willis Screen World

New York Times Encyclopedic Almanac

People Entertainment Almanac

A Remarkable Woman: A Biography of Katharine Hepburn by Anne Edwards

Who's Who in America

The Wordsworth Book of Days

The World Book Encyclopedia Year Book

World Almanac and Book of Facts

It is not our intent to denigrate these fine publications, but merely to point out the above inaccuracy to prevent further circulation of the erroneous data.

Career - Selected credits - Hobbies/sidelines

Legend, icon, spirited, strong-willed, independent, regal, outspoken, brusque, eccentric, free spirit, remarkable, indomitable and sharp-witted are but a few of the terms frequently used to describe Katharine Hepburn. Dubbed the "First Lady of Cinema," Kate was the 20th century's most celebrated screen actress.

She delivered some of her most memorable work when teamed with Spencer Tracy onscreen. Their undeniable chemistry was clearly evident, and led to a long series of film collaborations that established them as one of the screen's greatest pairings. It wasn't long before their onscreen chemistry spilled over into their private lives. Tracy and Hepburn entered into an off-screen romance which continued for the remainder of Spencer Tracy's life. They successfully carried on their decades long affair in secrecy. It was not public knowledge until years later. Kate later revealed she was actually with him at the time of his death. Theirs was truly one of the most storied off-screen love stories in Hollywood history.

Katharine Hepburn was the winner of 4 Academy Awards, and was the first actress to receive 12 Academy Award nominations. Her 4 Oscar wins came for her work in Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968) and On Golden Pond (1981).

In 1991, Hepburn published her autobiography Me: Stories of My Life, in which she acknowledged her past deceptions regarding her age, and revealed her true birth date and age. It offered a rare glimpse into her personal life and career and became a bestseller.

The 4-time Oscar recipient was a role model for generations of women and a beloved heroine to moviegoers for more than six decades. She was a lady who wasn't afraid to wear slacks decades before it became fashionable (or even considered acceptable) for women to do so. Ms. Hepburn was the epitome of a trailblazing, strong-willed, self-confident, modern woman.

In July of 2006, Bryn Mawr College announced it would launch a center honoring the life and work of alumna Katharine Hepburn. The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center was established to honor the American screen legend and four-time Oscar winner, a 1928 Bryn Mawr graduate, and her mother, Katharine "Kit" Houghton Hepburn, an early feminist activist and 1899 Bryn Mawr graduate. The center was authorized by the Hepburn family and executors of her estate. Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner were selected as the recipients of the first-ever annual Katharine Hepburn Medals which recognizes women whose outstanding lifework and achievements embody the intelligence, independence and drive of Katharine Hepburn.

In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service honored the movie legend with her own U.S. postage stamp. The 44-cent First-Class stamp was issued on what would have been her 103rd birthday, May 12, 2010. The stamp is now part of the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series.

Selected film credits:
A Bill of Divorcement (1932) (her motion picture debut)
Morning Glory (1933)
Little Women (1933)
Christopher Strong (1933)
Spitfire (1934)
The Little Minister (1934)
Break of Hearts (1935)
Alice Adams (1935)
Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
Mary of Scotland (1936)
A Woman Rebels (1936)
Quality Street (1937)
Stage Door (1937)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Holiday (1938)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Woman of the Year (1942)
Keeper of the Flame (1942)
Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Dragon Seed (1944)
Without Love (1945)
Undercurrent (1946)
The Sea of Grass (1947)
Song of Love (1947)
State of the Union (1948)
Adam's Rib (1949)
The African Queen (1951)
Pat and Mike (1952)
Summertime (1955)
The Rainmaker (1956)
The Iron Petticoat (1956)
Desk Set (1957)
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
The Lion in Winter (1968)
The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
The Trojan Women (1971)
A Delicate Balance (1973)
Rooster Cogburn (1975)
Olly, Olly, Oxen Free (1978)
On Golden Pond (1981)
The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley (1984)
Love Affair (1994)

Selected TV-movies/Miscellaneous TV:
The Glass Menagerie (1973)
Love Among the Ruins (1975)
The Corn Is Green (1979)
Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986)
Laura Lansing Slept Here (1988)
The Man Upstairs (1992)
This Can't Be Love (1994)
One Christmas (1994)

Selected stage credits:
The Czarina (her stage debut 1928)
The Cradle Snatchers (1928)
The Big Pond (1928)
Night Hostess (her actual Broadway debut, September 12th, 1928, in a bit part)
These Days (her big Broadway "debut" November 12th, 1928, at the Cort Theatre)
Death Takes a Holiday (1929)
A Month in the Country (1930)
The Admirable Crichton (1930)
The Romantic Young Lady (1930)
Romeo and Juliet (1930)
Art and Mrs. Bottle (1930)
The Warrior's Husband (1932)
The Lake (1933-34)
Jane Eyre (1936-37)
The Philadelphia Story (1939-40)
Without Love (1942-43)
As You Like It (1950)
The Millionairess (1952)
Measure for Measure (1955)
The Taming of the Shrew (1955)
The Merchant of Venice (1955, and also 1957)
Much Ado About Nothing (1957)
Twelfth Night (1960)
Antony and Cleopatra (1960)
Coco (1969-70)
A Matter of Gravity (1976)
The West Side Waltz (1981-82)

Selected radio credits:
Romeo and Juliet
A Farewell to Arms
The Philadelphia Story
Little Women
Woman of the Year
The Game of Love and Death

Golf, swimming, tennis, hiking, bicycling, and painting.

Residences of Katharine Hepburn:
Note that these residences may no longer exist, and it's possible the addresses have changed over the years. This is not to suggest that she owned each and every one of these structures. We're only reporting the fact that she called them home at one point or another in her life.

22 Hudson Street, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
133 Hawthorn Street, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
352 Laurel St., Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
244 East 49th Street, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Fenwick, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, U.S.A.


More than four dozen sources were consulted in preparing this biography.
One of the most in-depth of these was her 1991 autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life.

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