The subject of our Monday Quiz this week is one of the most written-about (partially by herself) movie stars in classic Hollywood history.
Still, we’re betting that you couldn’t immediately comes up with answers to our 10 questions about her (scroll down to Monday’s blog for the queries).
Well today is crunch time, answers to our Katharine Hepburn Quiz. For both yesterday’s questions and today’s answers we are indebted to author Jason Robert Parish’s insightful 2005 biography, Katharine Hepburn: The Untold Story.
Let’s see how you did:
1) Answer: c) the suicide (accidental or otherwise) of her older brother, Tom, whom Hepburn idolized, was a teenage trauma that she carried to her grave.
2) Answer: b) False. Hepburn’s encounter with John Barrymore on the set of 1932’s Bill of Divorcement was actually quite cordial. She arrived with swollen red eyes after a long train journey to Hollywood. The 50-year-old Barrymore, still in the pink of his career, took her aside and handed her a vial of eye-drops. The hard-drinking actor explained he always used them after a night of boozing to make him appear clear-eyed the next day.
3) Answer: c) Ginger Rogers, the biggest star at RKO. Both she and Hepburn were extremely ambitious and hardworking, and locked horns several times at the studio. Hepburn was miffed when she found that she and Ginger were simultaneously vying for the affections of Howard Hughes. One incident involved Katherine dousing Ginger’s new mink coat with a bucket of water.
4) Answer: c) Cary Grant. Although they enjoyed a friendly professional relationship, Hepburn was never particularly close to Grant. However, she remained close friends with John Ford, Leland Hayward and Howard Hughes for far longer periods.
5) Answer: c) According to author 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 Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg, which also portrayed Spencer Tracy (pictured above) as bisexual.
6) Answer: b), c) and d). 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.”
7) Answer: a) True. Spencer 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.”
8) Answer: d) George Stevens’ Woman of the Year. It was the first Hepburn/Spencer Tracy pairing. The couple costarred in nine films. Their off-screen relationship lasted more than a quarter century.
9) Answer: a) True. In the mid-1980’s Nora Kuzma, all of 16 from Steubenville, Ohio, made her underage porno movie debut. It caused an uproar at the time. She has gone on to a conventional acting career, mostly in action and horror films, under the name of Traci Lords. Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story is named Tracy Lord.
10) Answer: b) Hepburn was nominated 12 times and won four best-actress Oscars. Still a record for a performer.