Katharine Hepburn tells her story: her family, her loves, her career, her motivations, her secrets, her demons, and her indomitable spirit!

Kate at the age of 80

In I’m Kate! she lays out her background as she marches across the stage. She talks about her family: her father (who was a doctor), her mother (who was a

Young Kate

suffragette), and her three brothers and two sisters—living a privileged life in Hartford, Connecticut. Both parents were very liberal—her mother was a Communist. Her father pushed his children to achieve higher goals. She admired her mother and worshipped her father. They did not approve of her choice of career as an actress, but she

Kate’s brother Tom, whom she idolized

chose it anyway. In Just Call Me Jimmy she tells us what it was like choosing to be a boy when she was very small, but she discovered the error of her ways. She was very close to her older brother, Tom, who hung himself when he was seventeen—Kate was fourteen. She was devastated, and in Onliness she describes her philosophy of life. She can never be close to anyone else again, because it was too painful to lose them. In college at Bryn Mawr, she wasn’t happy until she discovered theater. Since it was a girls’ school, she had many opportunities to play the male roles, and she decided she liked wearing slacks

Kate at Bryn Mawr as one of the
‘male’ members of the cast

more than dresses. But, in a self-effacing way she tells us that All Actors are Swine. She meets people who get her started in professional theater, but she has trouble with her speaking voice and studies with Frances Robinson-

Kate with her great friend and lover Laura Harding

Duff in New York, where she meets her greatest friend (and lover) Laura Harding. Laura always made Kate feel happier and more confident. Throughout her life, Kate always goes back to her. Kate’s parents wanted her to marry Luddy, a young man who becomes part of her family, so obediently she does. But, in her acting, she admits she did not know what she was doing, but she did it with great style. And her stage career consisted of understudying and getting fired. Then lightening strikes when she is cast in The Warrior’s Husband on Broadway, which is a big

Kate in The Warrior’s Husband
on Broadway

success. Leland Hayward, an agent, believes in her and brings her to Hollywood. George Cukor gives her a makeover. She stars in Bill of Divorcement with John Barrymore, which is a success. In Christopher Strong, the critics dismissed the picture but noticed her. She fights her way into Morning Glory, where she wins her first Oscar. She plays the part of Jo March in Little Women and becomes a Hollywood superstar. But she really wants to star on Broadway. But her performance in The Lake was a debacle, and she pays $13,000 to get out of it. She finally divorces

Kate in Sylvia Scarlett

Luddy. She loved playing Alice Adams. But her career begins a slide in 1933 that wouldn’t quit until 1938. She flops in Sylvia Scarlett, opposite Cary Grant. She plays a girl in male drag during most of the film. In Men are Men and Women are Women she reveals her androgynous nature. Howard Hughes lands his plane in the field next to where she is playing golf with Cary Grant, who is Hughes good friend. Kate and Howard strike up a serious friendship. In Mary Queen of Scots she works with John Ford and falls for

Box Office Poison

him. Bringing Up Baby may have been a flop, but she had fun with the leopard and Cary. But she had made four skunks in a

Cecil Beaton, Margaret Sullavan, Adolph Menjou
My Enemies

row, and goes back to Connecticut to lick her wounds. In Box Office Poison she tells what it’s like to be a ‘poisonality’. She breaks her film box office jinx with

It’s hard to out-Hepburn Hepburn

Stage Door and her Broadway jinx with The Philadelphia Story. And along the way she manages to pick up some detractors: My Enemies She brags about the affairs she had with Hollywood men, other than Spencer Tracey. And she compares herself to her own competition in You Can’t Out-Hepburn Hepburn. She considers herself an expert on just about everything. After the commercial failure of Holiday and the mild disappointment of not getting Scarlett O’Hara, she returns to her parents’ Fenwick home on the Long Island Sound, just in time for the biggest hurricane of the season which washes the home into the Sound.

After the hurricane hit Fenwick

Fenwick She rebuilds the family home in brick the following year. She sings the praises of L.B. Mayer at M.G.M. He buys The Philadelphia Story and produces it with her, Jimmy Stewart, and Cary Grant starring. Woman of the Year, her first picture with Spencer Tracy. They fall in love. Spence She confesses what it was like to keep

Woman of the Year

Spencer on the straight and narrow, his struggle with NOT becoming a priest, and her deep down feelings for him. He always has choice nicknames for her in His Bag of Bones. She enumerates Spencer’s

Adam’s Rib

final films and his acting and personal legacy.

The spark of life

She admits that she is a happy person and loves life. The Spark of Life Her mother dies. She insists on going to Africa to film

With Humphrey Bogart in
The African Queen

The African Queen. Making the African Queen She makes The Desk Set with Spencer, and Suddenly Last Summer with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, whom she saves during the shooting. During Long

With Peter O’Toole in
The Lion in Winter, Oscar number three

Day’s Journey into Night she nurses her father in Connecticut and Spencer in Los Angeles, flying back and forth. She wins her second Oscar for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Spencer, who dies two weeks later. And then her

On Golden Pond
Oscar number four.

unprecedented third Oscar for The Lion in Winter. She tells of her adventures starring in Coco on Broadway. She wins her fourth Oscar for On Golden Pond. She goes into the tragedy of her brother, Tom, hanging himself, and its affect on her. My Tom She has a dream that he confesses

Kate and her older brother, Tom

that it was an accident, which is reassuring to her. She speaks about what its like being at the end of her career—looking back—and all the people who gave her courage. I’ve Got it All!

Kate has it all!

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate

Katharine’s mother and her six children

Kate’s father and mother

Kate at Bryn Mawr

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate!

Adolphe Menjou, Kate, and Douglas Fairbanks,
Jr. in Morning Glory, Oscar number one

Kate and the leopard in Bringing Up Baby

Cary Grant, Kate, and Jimmy Stewart in
The Philadelphia Story

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate!

Kate in Sylvia Scarlett

Kate’s family home in Fenwick, Connecticut

Humphrey Bogart and Kate in
The African Queen

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate!

Kate, Spencer, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Houghton, Kate’s niece, in
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Oscar number two

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate!

Jillann Gabrielle as Kate!