"Oh, we're going to talk about me now, are we? Goody."

This post is part of the fantastic The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon, celebrating the lovely Kate's birthday, which is May 12th. Check out the other wonderful posts!

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Katharine Hepburn.
Just the name means a variety of things. To some, it's that old lady with the weird accent. To others, it's the tough-as-nails actress who accomplished a lot. To me, it's...hard to explain. Katharine Hepburn is someone whom I've declared as my favorite actress for a few years now. She's never been easy to put in a box, wrap up with fancy ribbon, and present as "This is my favorite. This is what I like about her. Ain't she grand?" It takes a little more than that.


Kate is my idol. My life coach. My role model. My what-have-you. I know I could never be like her--because no one could--but I'm willing to try at least. She was always thoroughly herself, which was original, strong, independent, simple. She had vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Her relationship with Spencer Tracy continues to fascinate because it contradicted her image as the self-sufficient single woman. I'll admit it, the romantic in me swoons at their 27-year affair, but it also weirdly inspires me. Here was a woman who had a marvelous career that satisfied her, and one day she stumbled into this incredible relationship that completely threw her head over heels for almost three decades. She never really sacrificed who she was, she just learned more about herself.

But to limit Kate to just her and Spence would be a huge injustice. Any actor would be lucky to have a filmography such as hers, not to mention the honors. It makes me happy that her four Academy Award wins are still the record for any performer. She's a genius in everything, from the biggest gestures to the most subtle. She wasn't simply a personality--she was an honest-to-goodness actress, and a damn good one at that. She practically gave off sparks whenever she entered a scene, and it's a struggle to keep your eyes off of her regardless of who else is on the screen with her. The word "transfixing" was made for Kate, I'm sure. My boss actually got to see Ms. Hepburn in one of her plays, and she testified that although she was in the cheap seats of the theater, Kate's presence filled the whole room. To see her on the stage must have been mesmerizing.

The closest we'll ever get to that is probably Kate's TV appearances, which are insanely rewarding. Her two-hour interview with Dick Cavett literally had me glued to the screen. She was bossy, sharp, clever, funny, and self-deprecating. In 1986, she hosted a great documentary about Spencer Tracy called The Spencer Tracy Legacy; then in 1993, she hosted one about herself called Katharine Hepburn: All About Me. Both are invaluable. And then there's Hepburn's own autobiography, Me. Naturally it's one of my favorite books, and one that I return to once a year.

If I could write the most eloquent words about Kate, I would. But honestly, she leaves me tongue-tied. I find constant inspiration from her all the time. Whenever I'm having a hard time with anything, I think of Kate. "Come on, don't be a silly, old fool!" She gives me strength, and through her, I know the kind of woman I want to be. I want to be independent and intelligent and active. I don't need to be married or have kids to fulfill myself. I can wear pants but still be feminine. I'll never let a man define who I am or what I do. If being myself isn't good enough for anyone, screw 'em.


"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get--only with what you are expecting to give--which is everything."

"If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married."

"If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased."

"I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex."

"Life is full of censorship. I can't spit in your eye."
"Once a crowd chased me for an autograph. 'Beat it,' I said, 'go sit on a tack!' 'We made you,' they said. 'Like hell you did,' I told them."

"I find a woman's point of view much grander and finer than a man's."

"Not everyone is lucky enough to understand how delicious it is to suffer."

"Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself."

"Enemies are so stimulating."



Thank you, Kate. Happy birthday.

With so much love,
Michaela

Comments

  1. I liked your description of Kate's on-stage presence filling the theatre. That is not hard to imagine!

    Your post was a wonderful tribute to a larger-than-life actress – and a good one at that, as you pointed out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you for stopping by! I was worried the whole time I was writing it that I wasn't doing the Great Kate justice, so thanks for assuaging my fears.

      I enjoyed your post about Woman of the Year--that films always leaves me conflicted as well, and I appreciated that you didn't place blame on Tracy or Hepburn's characters. You're right that they're just two people trying to figure out a relationship and it gets muddled.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  2. She sure is an inspiration, isn't she? How wonderful to be that self-realized. Lovely post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I enjoyed your post too--beautifully said.

      Delete
  3. This beautiful piece could have been written by myself! I identify with Every. Single. Word. Kate is also my favorite actress, my inspiration, my role-model. Whenever I'm in doubt, I ask myself: "What would Katharine Hepburn do?" and I know how to act.
    Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)
    Kisses!
    Le
    http://criticaretro.blogspot.com.br/2015/05/sem-amor-without-love-1945.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've been slowly making my way through all the blogathon posts, but I was excited to see you chose to write about Without Love. I had just watched it last night and forgot how cute and subtle is. Lucille Ball does a great job too, as you pointed out. I loved the pictures you used as well!

      Delete
  4. I feel the EXACT same way about her. Everything you said.

    P.S. I think I'm becoming obsessed with your blog. It's just fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Carol! I'm thrilled to hear that, and it's nice to hear that Kate the Great means so much to you. She has been and always will be the queen.

      Delete

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