Awards | Article |
Image Credits | THE AFRICAN QUEEN
| THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
In 1942, Hepburn launched the third great professional
partnership of her career when she appeared with actor
Spencer Tracy in
battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, directed by her
ALICE ADAMS director
Stevens. Hepburn earned yet another Oscar
nomination for her performance as Tess Harding, an international political
columnist who butts heads with sports writer
Tracy at the same newspaper. The Hepburn-Tracy
pairing proved so successful in WOMAN OF THE YEAR that the couple went on to make a total of nine
films together over the next 25 years, the most successful of them being the romantic comedies in
which Hepburn's independence both attracts and annoys
Tracy in a series of often-madcap adventures.
In ADAM'S RIB (1949), Hepburn and
Tracy play Amanda and Adam Bonner, married lawyers who end up on
opposite sides of an attempted murder trial involving a woman who shot her
philandering husband. As advertised, "It's the hilarious answer to who wears the pants!"
PAT AND MIKE (1952), Hepburn and
Tracy's seventh film together, was written for them by Ruth Gordon and
Garson Kanin and was designed to showcase Hepburn's natural athletic abilities.
In the role of a professional athlete, she plays tennis with Don Budge and golf
against Babe Didrikson Zaharias, among other notable professionals of the
day. Tracy plays her
manager, determined to keep her on the straight and narrow training path and
away from her boyfriend (William Ching) whose presence causes her to lose
confidence in herself and fall apart in competition.
In their final film together,
Stanley Kramer's GUESS WHO'S
COMING TO DINNER (1967), Hepburn and
Tracy play a middle-aged couple whose grown daughter (played by
Hepburn's niece Katharine Hougton) announces she is going to marry a black
man (played by Sidney Poitier).
Though ground-breaking in many aspects of its approach to the issue of
interracial marriage, the film is probably the most dated of the Hepburn-Tracy
pairings, but nevertheless features outstanding performances from each,
lending both their prestige and their talents to the making of this film.
Tracy died shortly after shooting wrapped. Nominated for ten
Academy Awards including Best Picture, GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER earned
Hepburn her second Best Actress Oscar. As was her custom, she did not attend the ceremony, and
George Cukor accepted the award on
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