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Katharine Hepburn

Filmography | Awards | Article | Downloads | Links | Image Credits | THE AFRICAN QUEEN | THE PHILADELPHIA STORY

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Beginning in 1935 with SYLVIA SCARLETT, Hepburn teamed with the haplessly frazzled yet debonair comedian Cary Grant in a series of screwball comedies which have stood the test of time to become the most popular films of her early career.  In Howard Hawks' BRINGING UP BABY (1938), Kate and Cary run around Connecticut in evening clothes with nets and ropes trying to catch a leopard and her dog George (played by Asta from the THIN MAN movies) who has absconded with a valuable dinosaur bone.

"Baby" is a musical leopard however, and only responds to singing:

"I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.
Dream awhile, scheme awhile,
You're sure to find
Happiness, and I guess
All those things you always pined for.
Gee, it's great to see you looking swell, baby.
Diamond bracelets Woolworths never sell, baby... "

More Memorable Quotations:

  • Click here"I tell you, I'm the mad sister, family problem, the one they don't speak about." --as Linda Seton in HOLIDAY (1938).
  • "Frankly, I stank." --as Linda Seton in HOLIDAY (1938).
  • "Mister, you're looking at a mighty dry waffle." --as Mary Matthews in STATE OF THE UNION (1948).
  • "No woman could ever run for president.  She'd have to admit she was over thirty-five." --as Mary Matthews in STATE OF THE UNION (1948).
  • "You politicians have stayed professionals only because the voters have remained amateurs." --as Mary Matthews in STATE OF THE UNION (1948).
  • "I'm different from Grant.  I'd rather be tight than be president." --as Mary Matthews in STATE OF THE UNION (1948).

A publicity portrait of Kate and Cary for their second screwball comedy of 1938, George Cukor's HOLIDAY, a comedic love story between two free-thinking social outcasts.

Unfortunately, despite the success of these comedies, Hepburn was labeled "box-office poison" by a group of independent exhibitors in 1937, and fearing the label marked the end of her film career, she bought out the remainder of her RKO contract and returned to New York to resume her acting career on Broadway.

Written specifically for Hepburn by playwright Phillip Barry, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY proved the comeback vehicle Hepburn was looking for, and after a triumphant year with the stage show (opposite Joseph Cotten and Van Heflin), she bought the film rights and returned to Hollywood determined to  rejoin filmmaking on her own terms.  MGM took up Hepburn's package for the film and in 1940, she earned her third Best Actress nomination for her role as Tracy Lord opposite Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.  Directed by Hepburn's friend George Cukor (with whom she made eight feature films), THE PHILADELPHIA STORY was a smash and earned six Oscar nominations including one as Best Picture.  Hepburn was back.

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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