Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kate - The Life of Katharine Hepburn

"Kate" was written by Charles Higham in 1975 and what drew me to it was the fact that he tracked down anybody still alive that had ever worked with Ms. Hepburn for a unique behind the scenes take. He also interviewed her, and in her infamous aversion to interviews hearing what she had to say was just fascinating.

Higham starts with her childhood, how her mother's feminism directly contributed to the fact she never married, or had kids. Goes through how she got into film, and how she never needed Hollywood to be a success, and how even when she was blacklisted she didn't really care because she did what she loved.  Ive never been much of a bra burner, maybe because i've never really had to be, but I have the most admiration for Katharine Hepburn.

Her wit and sense of humor is what has always drawn me to her, and it's in abundance in this book.  From tricks on directors with the cast to the lengths she would go to get her way,  She is an amazing person and her quirks and OCD just make her more interesting to me.

This book shows her as a person that was passionate about what she did, cared about everyone she worked with from the makeup person to the actors, and would never bow to public pressure to be more "womanly" or sensitive to her fans. It goes into detail on her relationship with and handling the death of Spencer Tracy, through her thoughts on every film she made, and her routines and idiosyncrasies in-between.
"She is the greatest actress of our time because she has let us see her life unfold in her playing, and because her technique is so finished it's invisible. ... She challenges the audience because she at once removes her own disguises and demands we do the same . . . When women were wearing what fashion dictated, she wore what she wanted to wear. When women were supposed to be chiefly good for marriage and children, she rejected both. When women were not allowed to have an intellect, speak their own minds, or take on men as equals, she did all three."
-From "Kate" by Charles Higham


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. She charged right ahead, rather early in her career, when others considered her box-office poison. She goes right up there with Cary Grant as being one of the finest actors of all time. In terms of her sensibility, she is still ahead of her time.