Actually that's a point of debate, some believe that they were distantly related...
Hm, Audrey was born to the family name of Ruston - when her father later changed it to Hepburn she did too.
"After the war, her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, found documents about his ancestors, some of whom bore the name Hepburn. This is when he added it to his name, which caused my mother to have to legally add Hepburn to her name as well." (from "Audrey Hepburn an elegant spirit" by Sean Hepburn Ferrer)
This was all i knew until i did a little more research and this is what wikipedia says:
"It is sometimes claimed that Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn were sisters. The truth is they were only very distantly related, and certainly had never met before the former's rise to prominence. The closest relationship that has been identified for them is 19th cousin once removed."
So yeah, distantly related via Audrey's father's ancestors i suppose. Katharine's family was from England too.. so, I stand corrected
I've seen on a TV bio-documentary about Katharine that her family was decended from a "bastard" child of one of the children of an British king. Anyone else heard of that?
Didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
I adore Kate Hepburn read her bio ME if you get a chance- what a life she led.
My favorite photograph of Katharine Hepburn was one taken by fashion photographer Hoyningen-Huené when Kate was 27 years old. She's draped across a huge wicker chair (the same kind that would appear in a famous portrait of Huey Newton decades later). One sandaled foot is tucked under a bent leg, her big toe aimed casually toward the camera. Her arms akimbo, one on her head, her short hair catching the outdoor sunlight, her face turned away, her mind on anything but celebrity, her striped skirt slid way up her thigh, she looks like an idle college girl in her backyard on summer break from school. One can't imagine anyone professional was anywhere nearby to make sure she looked like a Hollywood star. "I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear," she would say. The photo was taken for Vanity Fair magazine, and it appeared in the January, 1935 issue.
The caption to that photo read: "Kate Hepburn, box-office riot." At that time, however, she was not so much of a riot. Although Little Women had been a huge hit, word was out that she was demanding (she had signed with RKO only after they had agreed to her salary demand of $1500 per week) and "haughty," and the public had begun to lose patience with her. By the time this photo appeared in Vanity Fair (and numerous others, as well as a cover - Vanity Fair seemed to be a great cheerleader for our Kate), she had already started to obtain the label "box office poison" around town, retreating to her beloved Broadway stage to star in "The Lake," which had also been a disappointment. A projected film version of Joan of Arc, which Vanity Fair also trumpeted, would get shelved. Various flops or quasi-flops came during the rest of the 1930s, including Bringing Up Baby, which only found its audience much later. (One exception was Alice Adams, which did garnish her an Oscar nomination.) Her final defeat of the 1930s came when she was passed over for the role she wanted the most, that of Scarlett O'Hara. But when she was a hit in the stage play The Philadelphia Story, she found herself the ticket back into Hollywood's good graces. She bought herself the film rights and hand-picked the director (Cukor) and the rest of the cast of the now-classic film.
The point is that the very "pluck" that had already caused such controversy was to be, of course, the very pluck that would differentiate her from countless other studio starlets and make her the enduring first lady of film in our hearts, the role model of the strong woman character who could share the screen with such leading men as Cary Grant, James Stewart, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, and of course, her paramour, Spencer Tracy. The daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, it's no wonder she had strong ideas about who she wanted to be in a "man's world." Later in life, she explained, "I remember as a child going around with Votes For Women balloons. I learned early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause."
Her early life was marked by a central trauma, discovering the body of her dead brother, who had accidentally hanged himself while practicing a rope trick taught to the siblings by their father. Her psychological coping mechanism consisted of switching her May birthday (she was a Taurus through and through) for his in November, it lasted for years, and some biographies still have it wrong. Much of her private life stayed private, and she resisted, always, the studio attempt to make her image over in their own way. She was born Katharine Houghton Hepburn, and she stayed Katharine Hepburn. (You may notice the actress playing Hepburn's and Tracy's daughter in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? is Katharine Houghton - she's Hepburn's niece.) Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? is, by the way, the one film she has never seen and won't watch - Spencer Tracy died shortly after the filming, and she can't bear to see him in it.
Almost too much has been written about Katharine Hepburn - and finally she has written about herself, in her autobiography, Me, and also in her book about the making of The African Queen. Those interested in stories from her life can read, there, and in many other places, about her work and her wonderful world.
What continues to stir me is her unflappable courage, her extraordinary brilliance and wit (which are not the same thing), and her great beauty, which - rare occurrence - followed her from her youth to her nineties. "People have grown fond of me, like some old building," she says. But of course, it's not that. It's her. And it's those certain performances, some less well-known than others. And sometimes what makes a Hepburn performance are just discrete scenes, and sometimes even just moments in scenes, when the parts add up to more than the whole:
-- The moment in The Philadelphia Story when it is the morning after the debauched night, and, as Tracy Lord, she walks outside, gets hit by the sunlight, and puts her arm up in terror, scrunches up her face, and backs away, like a vampire confronted with a crucifix.
-- The moment in The Lion in Winter when, as Eleanor of Aquitaine, she has a knock-down drag-out fight with Peter O'Toole's King Henry II, and, pushed on her ***, sits up, and says, almost directly to the camera, "Well, what family doesn't have its ups and downs?"
-- Her extraordinary performance as Amanda in Anthony Harvey's television version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (unfortunately, not currently available on tape or DVD), with Joanna Miles, Sam Waterston, and Michael Moriarty. Watch for it to show up sometime.
-- The scene in Desk Set between Kate (as Bunny Watson) and Spencer Tracy (as Richard Sumner) on the cold roof of the broadcast building where Richard gives Kate a verbal efficiency test over lunch. Kate passes it with flying colors, of course, proving that she is indeed a "rare tropical fish." The Hepburn/Tracy chemistry is never better than in this scene, written by husband and wife team Phoebe and Henry Ephron (parents of screenwriter/director Nora Ephron).
And of course, her extraordinary performances that grace every film she's in - from On Golden Pond to The Rainmaker; from The Madwoman of Chaillot to Long Day's Journey into Night; from Summertime to Bringing Up Baby to Adam's Rib to Pat and Mike to African Queen to Holiday to Bill of Divorcement to . . . well, you fill in your favorite. There are far too many to name here.
"Wouldn't it be great if people could get to live suddenly as often as they die suddenly?"
Hepburn's mind worked in that quirky way. But in fact, she does get to come alive suddenly, every time a projector is turned on, and a screen is set up in a park somewhere, and an audience gathers. We're glad to present at least a few of those "come to life" moments of Kate's. That twentysomething girl, draped so casually across a wicker chair so many decades ago was so much more than a college girl home for spring break. Vanity Fair knew it. We know it too. Come celebrate her genius with us.
-- Kenn Rabin
from a film night honoring her
(taken from filmnight.org)
If people say that KH didnt deserve to win the Oscar some years or she has no range, I point to her performance in ALICE ADAMS where she was definitely robbed. I always thought this was her greatest performance of her early years. She was so luminous and vurnable, so difference from most of her other characters.
Bette Davis won the Oscar that year for DANGEROUS. It was a consolation Oscar because she didnt win the yr before for OF HUMAN BONDAGE. Even Bette Davis herself said that Kate should have won it.
"I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be inferior."
I loved the high waisted, wide legged trousers she wore. Which, incidentally, flatter most figures.
She used the staff entrance to Claridge's, when meeting Spencer Tracey, rather than give up her trademark trousers. Trousers on a woman, at that time, were not deemed appropriate attire in a hotel like Claridge's.
"True opulence, like true luxury, should be practically imperceptable..." - Genevieve Dariux, "A Guide to Elegance"