10 years after her death, the spirited actress Katharine Hepburn perseveres as a timeless cultural icon.
Hepburn, star of classics such as “Bringing Up Baby” and “The African Queen,” was known for her spunk. And her hatred of skirts.
She once threatened to walk around the set naked when film executives confiscated her pants — which weren’t socially appropriate for women to wear in the 1930s — according to the biography, “Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Chic.”
“Though she only stripped down as far as her silk underwear before stepping out of her dressing room, she made her point,” fashion writer Nancy MacDonnel wrote, “and she got her trousers back.”
Hepburn’s flair for selecting roles that reflected her headstrong personality landed her top billing spots in “Morning Glory,” “A Philadelphia Story,” and “On Golden Pond.”
She died on June 29, 2003 at the age of 96.
'Morning Glory' (1933): Katharine receives her first Academy Award for Best Actress as Eva Lovelace, a wildly optimistic aspiring actress who goes into a frenzy after tasting fame.
'Alice Adams' (1935): Katharine's popularity declined until her starring role as Alice, a lovesick young woman climbing the social ladder out of the lower-middle class — earning her an Oscar nomination and her fan base back.
'Bringing Up Baby' (1938): In a role written for her, Katharine played Susan, a flighty heiress with a pet leopard and a crush on a paleontologist. The film tanked upon its first release, but is today considered a classic screwball comedy.
'A Philadelphia Story' (1940): After a few consecutive flops, Katharine was labelled 'box office poison.' She redeemed herself as a haughty socialite trying to get rid of her playboy ex-husband, played by Cary Grant.
'Woman Of The Year' (1942): Katharine portrays a successful, feminist reporter who falls for another newsie, played by Spencer Tracy. The two go on to star in nine movies together and have a scandalous love affair.
'The African Queen' (1951): Katharine as a straitlaced, iron-willed missionary cruises down an African river with a rough-and-tumble captain, played by Humphrey Bogart.
'The Iron Petticoat' (1956): In yet another empowering role, Katharine is a defected Russian officer running around London with Bob Hope's character during the Cold War.
'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' (1967): More than 30 years after her first Oscar win, Katharine scoops a second Academy Award for Best Actress, playing a mother whose liberal beliefs are challenged when her daughter brings home a black boyfriend. It was her final film acting alongside Spencer Tracy.
'The Lion In Winter' (1968): Katharine delivers another Oscar-worthy performance as King Henry II's scheming wife, who threatens to peel him like a pear after he imprisons her.
'On Golden Pond' (1981): Katharine's fourth and final Academy Award for Best Actress is for her role as the witty and buoyant Ethel Thayer, who makes a loveable sparring partner for her husband, played by Henry Fonda.
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