Katherine Hepburn still holds the record for winning the most best-actress Academy Awards — four wins, from 12 nominations.
Here she is above with her most famous costar, Spencer Tracy. The two, of course, were very close, and made nine films together. Their liaison still provokes speculation.
According to author James Robert Parish, “more urbane members of the film community” assumed that like the other actresses cited, Hepburn was lesbian or bisexual. This was more explicitly stated in 2012’s Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, written by the late Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg, which also portrayed Spencer Tracy (pictured above) as bisexual.
The Tracy-Hepburn romance was motivated by many factors but sexual passion was not high on the list. Hollywood doyenne Irene Mayer Selznick summed it up: “You can’t drink as much as Spencer did and maintain a relationship built on sex.
Tracy said he was prevented from marrying Hepburn by internal family problems. His son, John, had polio as a child and coped with a hearing problem. Tracy said that by the time he felt his family situation had sufficiently settled down, he planned a divorce and marriage to Kate. “By that time Kate didn’t want to marry me anymore, so we just kept on going the way we were going.”
Hepburn’s career tracked a real roller coaster trajectory. After the release of the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, costarring Cary Grant, Hepburn was declared “box office poison.” She responded by taking to the stage to regenerate her career.
How successful she was can be attested to by a review of her Oscar wins. So, here’s a quiz of sorts. We’ll run a .picture of Hepburn in her Oscar-winning roles, and you identify the movie titles.
Questions today and answer tomorrow. Here we go:
- This picture provided Hepburn with her first Oscar winning role as aspiring actress Eva Lovelace. She effectively stole the part from the picture’s intended star, Constance Bennett.
2) This one you should have no trouble identifying. It famously reunited the aging Tracy with the equally aging Hepburn.
3) Hepburn’s Oscar win below is distinctive because it was shared with Barbra Streisand. (How did that happen?)
Hepburn’s fourth best-actress Oscar win found her below in exceptionally good, geriatric company.
Finally, there is Hepburn below in an unheralded but powerful performance that somehow the Academy officialdom completely missed. Can you identify the picture?