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Bergan provides a glimpse into the life of a Hollywood legend, by charting both her career, which spanned seven decades, and her off-screen relationships with many of her leading men.
When Katharine Hepburn arrived in Hollywood in 1932, studio executives were confounded by a rare beauty who displayed both an imperturbable sense of humor and an intelligent sensibility. Nobody on screen could be so funny and so moving in making a fool of herself, or so touching in reclaiming her dignity. According to George Cukor, her friend and the director of eight of her films, “She always challenged the audience, [and] that wasn’t the fashion in those days.”
Much like Hepburn herself, her career followed no conventional pattern. Her on-screen personae ranged from the headstrong girl of her early appearances to the vaguely authoritative spinster of her later films; her performances won her a string of accolades, from her first Oscar for Morning Glory in 1933 to her fourth for On Golden Pond in 1981—with which she became the first (and to date only) winner of four Oscars for Best Actress, from a record twelve nominations.
Hepburn was always her own woman, insisting on and retaining the respect of all who worked with her. She refused to give in to the studio’s publicity demands, avoiding interviews and always wearing pants off the set. With her fierce, no-nonsense beauty—to which the 150 sumptuous photographs in this book amply testify—her strong-minded outspokenness, and her controlled yet sparkling performances, she will always be one of cinema’s most seductive illustrations of the advantages of independence.
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