Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born May 12, 1907, into an independent-minded family of six children. Her father, Thomas Hepburn, was a respected physician, while her mother, Katharine Martha was a suffrage activist. After the tragic death of her older brother, Tom Hepburn, Katherine left school and received homeschooling till she finished high school.
Losing her brother drained her, and so she withdrew from people around her for a while. With time, she overcame the great tragedy. Katharine later enrolled at Bryn Mawr College in 1924, where she managed to graduate with a degree in history and philosophy in 1928.
Katharine Hepburn got married to a businessman, Ludlow Ogden Smith, in 1928. However, a few years later, in 1934, she divorced him and never got hitched again. In 1942, Hepburn met Spencer Tracy on the set of Woman of the Year. They engaged in a decades-long love affair that ended when he died in 1967. The great duo starred in nine movies over twenty-five years, including Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Adam’s Rib.
Katharine and Spencer had a legendary love that was obvious in many celebrity circles. Yet Tracy was married to Louise Treadwell and had two children. He and Louise lived separately. Therefore, he lived with Hepburn in a director’s friend’s cottage. Tracy never divorced his wife despite being in love with Hepburn for religious reasons.
Katharine Hepburn Achievements
Katharine fell in love with acting while attending Bryn Mawr College. After graduating, she spent several years performing in productions on Broadway and appearing in plays around New York. Katharine Hepburn finally got her lucky break when she got the part of a role of performing opposite John Barrymore in the film A Bill of Divorcement.
During her long career of more than six decades, Katharine Hepburn was nominated for countless awards and won other awards, including:
- Golden Medal from Venice Film Festival and an Academy Award
- New York Film Critics Circle Award
- Woman of the Year Award from Hasty Pudding Theatricals
- Best Actress Award at Cannes Film Festival
- 2 BAFTA Film Awards
- KCFCC Award
- 2 Golden Apple Awards and Primetime Emmy Award
- 4 Academy Awards
- People’s Choice Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild
In 1999, Katharine was considered the number one Female Film Legend ever by the American Film Institute.
The Death of Katharine Hepburn
The unparalleled Hollywood screen legend died of natural causes on June 29, 2003, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She was 96 years old at that time.