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Katharine Hepburn is truly a rare breed in a world of manufactured glamour. Now Barbara Leaming has discovered thousands of never-before-seen documents that finally illuminate this enigmatic, fascinating woman. Controversial and compelling, this biography reveals Katharine Hepburn with the intimacy of a close friend.
Posted January 6, 2003
This is easily the worst biography ever written about Katharine Hepburn. It is full of inaccuracies and wild speculations. The author's central theme is that Ms. Hepburn had a life long, unrequited love for the director John Ford. Anyone who has read any of Katharine Hepburn's own books and her many interviews know that this is simply not true. Having fabricated the fictional relationship between Katharine Hepburn and John Ford, the author then uses it to denigrate Hepburn's real long time love, Spencer Tracy. Leaming makes incredibly scurrilous and completely undocumented statements about Tracy such as that his supposed veneral disease caused his son's deafness. Ms. Leaming fails to offer even one iota of evidence for this outrageous statement. Page after page of this book is full of wildly fanceful speculations passed off as fact. What are we to make of the following passage at page 393: "If Tracy wondered whether, or how Ford would react to news of the affair with Kate, he did not have to wait long to find out. On September 3, five days after shooting on Woman of the Year began, Ford suddenly left town under mysterious circumstances. . . .Ostensibly, Ford's sudden, rather theatrical departure had nothing to do with Kate. Still, there can be no question that it shadowed her relationship with Tracy from the start. A man of Tracy's tormented and deeply suspicious nature could never accept that Ford's timing had been purely coincidental. . . . " So, according to Ms. Leaming, John Ford left Los Angeles and joined the military because he was upset that Katharine Hepburn had become involved with Spencer Tracy and further she asserts that Spencer Tracy knew this and was 'tormented' by it. How silly can one author get? What I find passing strange is all the positive reviews that were given to this book by presumably reputable reviewers. I can only assume that the reviewers don't actually read the books they review or that they knew so little about Ms. Hepburn's life that they concluded that the book was accurate even though it has so many obvious inaccuracies.
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Posted September 12, 2010
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