Katharine Hepburn   

Birth Name: Katharine Houghton Hepburn
Born: May 12, 1907
Died: June 29, 2003

The most venerated and honored actress of the 20th century, Katharine Hepburn's legend continues to grow within her lifetime. She first came to prominence in Hollywood during the 1930s, but a string of box office failures, including the now-classic Bringing Up Baby (1938), gave her the label of box office poison. That all changed in 1940 when she brought The Philadelphia Story to the screen after enjoying a massive success on Broadway. After that, she produced a solid string of successful films for more than twenty years. During that time, she developed a relationship both on and off screen with Spencer Tracy, and their films together are the highlights of both of their careers. Their last together was 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Hepburn was already semi-retired at that point, and Tracy died shortly after filming was completed. Hepburn kept on working (albeit less often) in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, with a good deal of success. She won an unprecedented (and still unsurpassed) fourth Academy Award in 1981 for On Golden Pond (which also saw her co-star, Henry Fonda, die shortly after filming, only to win a posthumous Oscar on the same night as Hepburn). Her previous Oscars were for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and The Lion in Winter (1968). She lived in retirement in her native state of Connecticut for many years, where she died peacefully at the age of 96. Three months earlier, she saw Meryl Streep break her record of 12 Academy Award nominations, but her enormous contrubution to film and the stage will ensure that she will never be forgotten.
    -- by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>

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