A Day With Katharine Hepburn
By: Jordyn Giesbrecht
Not So Loving Love Life
I approached the front door of a big, white mansion in Connecticut where Katharine Hepburn lives. It was a warm June afternoon so she invited me to sit on the patio in the backyard to talk. As I starred at the open water in front of us as she began talking about her only ever marriage to Ludlow Ogden Smith. "When I met him in Philadelphia while I was away for school I knew he was who I would want to marry one day. Unfortunately after a few years I was so consumed with being an actress that I was not fully invested into my marriage. It was hard to balance my love for Hollywood with my love for Ludlow." She said in a sad but truthful tone.
"Once we moved to California I couldn't help myself but to fall for my agent Leland Hayward, we were both married and we knew it was wrong.. Ludlow deserved to be treated better than that. So in 1934 I decided it was best to go to Mexico for a quick divorce. I didn't do it for Leland, but for myself. I wanted to be my own self. Although I stayed with Leland for almost four years." "And of course there were the rumors later on in 1936" she said laughing to herself. "Howard Hughes may have wanted to marry me, but that doesn't mean we were ever going to get married. I was far too focused on trying to save my career after being considered box office poison.." she giggled again as if not to care.
"So after Ludlow I never married, nor did I have children. Being a mother is a full time job and at the time I was already too consumed with my job to even have a lasting relationship with someone let alone a child. But that's okay, I helped raise my siblings and to me that's good enough."
"Ludlow will always be important to me and will always be one of my closest friend but I think my most impactful relationship would have to be with Spencer Tracy. We co-starred together in nine films and I feel as if I would have done anything for him. He was married when we were together but Spencer's wife and him were living separate lives since the early 1930's. It was hard though, I'll admit. He had trouble with alcohol and was struggling to hide me from his wife and the public. It was hard when his health began to decline, and I knew I had to be by his side. I feel him to this day in everything that I do, I miss him everyday." She said quietly as she took a drink of her water.
The Begining of a Star
Katharine started acting in theatre where she was given her first shot to perform only four weeks after joining, she caught the attention of Hollywood in a production called The Warrior's Husband. Her first ever appearance on screen was in 1932 in a film called A Bill of Divorcement. A year later Katharine starred as Jo March in one of her most popular films, Little Woman.
A Small Setback
During the years 1934-1938 many films Katherine was part of flopped and were often described as forgettable. Katharine tells us about her poor reviews specifically with the movie Spitfire (1934), which she performed the role of an uneducated girl named Trigger Hicks, saying she keeps a picture of Trigger Hicks in her bathroom to remind her to stay humble. Along with other movies like Break of Hearts (1935), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Mary of Scotland (1936), A woman Rebels (1936), Quality Street (1937), and Bringing Up Baby (1938) were all given poor reviews. Although during this time Katherine still managed to get an Oscar nomination for the movie Alice Adams (1935),
In 1939 Katharine took a break from Hollywood to star in a play called The Philadelphia Story, which was soon made into a hit movie. Hepburn had many opinions at first about how to make the movie, she did not want to "make a grand entrance" because viewers thought she was too full of herself and wanted her to "fall flat on her face" so the film began with Katherine being knocked over. Another success in 1942 was Woman of the Year.