Two years ago I went to see The Philadelphia Story play on a big screen in Bryant Park. It was July and so hot my brother and I had been spending the day in the penguin exhibit at the zoo, but then we heard about the film— my favorite film— playing outdoors and rushed downtown.
We were too late to get a seat. It was packed like I have never seen any New York open space since the Dalai Lama came to Central Park. We were disconsolately looking for a wall to sit on, when suddenly two unholy fools, two morons, changed their minds and gave up their second-row seats. Hard to describe how happy we were. And then over the loudspeakers came some news: Hepburn had been taken ill in the night — gasps, I mean, real gasps— but it was okay— happy sighs— she was back from the hospital and wished us all well. We roared! And then the film started, and I said all the lines before they came, and my brother asked me to shut up. But I wasn’t the only one at it. When Katharine whispered to Jimmy Stewart, “Put me in your pocket, Mike!” a thousand people whispered with her. That was the best night at the movies I’ve ever had.
Two days ago she died, aged ninety-six. I don’t know why I should be surprised, but I was, and when I found out, I wept, and felt ridiculous for weeping. How can someone you have never met make you cry?
— Zadie Smith [June 2003]
The stars are ageless » Katharine Hepburn
“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”
Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
My reaction when people talk to me
Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy in “Adam’s Rib”
"Children need boundaries, so they can know how far they have to go to get beyond them."
- Katharine Hepburn
Lauren Bacall, director John Huston, Bogie & Katherine Hepburn on the set of “The African Queen” (1951)
katharine hepburn and spencer tracy just break my heart
Katharine Hepburn in a gown by Adrian
Katharine Hepburn 1936, photo by Ernest A. Bachrach
What appealed to me in the idea of Summertime? Loneliness. Why? Because I think that loneliness is in all of us, it is a more common emotion than love, but we speak less about it. We are ashamed of it. We think perhaps that it shows a deficiency in ourselves. That if we were more attractive, more entertaining and less ordinary we would not be lonely.
The film is about a lonely woman who falls in love, and as I know no better remedy for the complaint I hope you will find it sympathetic.
- David Lean