Katharine Hepburn

Born: 12 May 1907, Hartford, CT
Died: 29 Jun 2003, Fenwick, CT


Common Ancestor:
Sarah Tracey
9th Gr Grandmother
of Merle G Ladd
7th Gr Grandmother
of Katharine H Hepburn
Elizabeth Partridge John Partridge
Ruth Allen George Partridge
Jonathan Bangs Hannah Partridge
Allen Bangs Partridge Richardson
Phebe Bangs Charlotte Richardson
Allen Crowell Sophronia M Oakes
Charles Crowell Alfred A houghton
Freeman S Crowell Katherine M Houghton
Graceland M Crowell Katharine H Hepburn
Allen D Ladd  
Merle G Ladd  
Relationship to Merle G Ladd:
8th Cousin, 2 Times Removed
Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 12th, 1907 to a prominent New England family; her father was a renowned urologist, her mother an early crusader for women's rights. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1928, she embarked on a sometimes tempestuous career as a theatrical actress, appearing in several summer stock and Broadway productions. Her 1932 Broadway appearance in The Warrior's Husband led to a film contract with RKO Studios, where she debuted as John Barrymore's daughter in A Bill Of Divorcement (1932).

Her unusual looks and manner - and her absolutely unique New England voice, once anonymously described as "a cross between Donald Duck and a Stradivarius" - put off some moviegoers at first, but her endearing performance as Eva Lovelace in Morning Glory (1933) won her the first of her record four Academy Awards. In her early films she portrayed memorable feminine characters, showing off her versatility in movies like Little Women (1933), Alice Adams (1935) and Stage Door (1937). By the time she teamed up with Cary Grant for the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938), her film career was on the skids, having been named "Box Office Poison" by the American movie exhibitors. She returned to Broadway to star as spoiled socialite Tracy Lord in Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story, which was a smash hit and led to an equally triumphant return to Hollywood in the 1940 film version.

Her next picture, Woman Of The Year (1942) cast her opposite Spencer Tracy. They would star together in a total of nine films in the years between 1942 and 1967, and be off screen lovers until Spencer Tracy died in 1967. Their films together are sparked by the chemistry of their interaction, and are fondly remembered as exhilarating variations on the "Battle-of-the-sexes" subject, several of them made in the 1940's. But some of the peak achievements of her career would be reached in the years to come, like in 1951, when she went on location to Africa with Humphrey Bogart to star in John Huston's The African Queen.

She gave further memorable performances in Summertime (1955), Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) and Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962). Her last appearance on Spencer Tracy's side was in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), which won her another "Oscar", as did her powerful Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion In Winter (1968). She followed this triumph by making her Broadway musical debut as couturier Coco Chanel in Coco. Her continuing work throughout the 1970's and 1980's culminated in her teaming with fellow screen legend Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981), which won her her fourth "Oscar". She continued to star in several "star vehicle" TV movies until 1994, the year in which she also gave what is probably her last big screen appearance as Warren Beatty's feisty aunt in Love Affair.

Her long awaited memoir Me - Stories of my life, which appeared in 1991, is full of incredibly candid and self-deprecating passages, and she most touchingly writes about her 26 year romance with Spencer Tracy.