Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn

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Macmillan, Oct 30, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 656 pages
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The first major Katharine Hepburn biography independent of her control reveals the smart, complicated, and sophisticated woman behind the image

Onscreen she played society girls, Spencer Tracy's sidekick, lionesses in winter. But the best character Katharine Hepburn ever created was Katharine Hepburn: a Connecticut Yankee, outspoken and elegant, she wore pants whatever the occasion and bristled at Hollywood glitter. So captivating was her image that she never seemed less than authentic. But how well did we know her, really? Was there a woman behind the image who was more human, more driven, and ultimately more triumphant because of her vulnerability?

William J. Mann—a cultural historian and journalist, a sympathetic admirer but no mere fan—has fashioned an intimate, often revisionist, and truly unique close-up that challenges much of what we think we know about the Great Kate. Previous biographies—mostly products of friends and fans—have recycled the stories she hid behind, taking Hollywood myths at face value. Mann goes deeper, delivering new details from friends and family who have not been previously interviewed and drawing on materials only available since Hepburn's death.

With affection, intelligence, and a voluminous knowledge of Hollywood history, Mann shows us how a woman originally considered too special and controversial for fame learned the fine arts of movie stardom and transformed herself into an icon as durable and all-American as the Statue of Liberty.

 

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Kate: the woman who was Hepburn

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With her angular features, androgynous appearance, and distinctive voice, Katharine Hepburn (d. 2003) brought a new, more adult sensibility to American movies. Journalist and cultural historian Mann ... Read full review

Contents

ONE A Sea Change
1
TWO Such a Good FairyTale Teller
15
THREE Nobody Likes Crybabies
23
FOUR Jimmy Was Her Name
36
SEVEN Never a Member of the Club
69
EIGHT Getting Her Balance
79
TWELVE All the Sort of Highbrow Customs
141
THIRTEEN The Beautiful Scent of Orange Blossoms
160
FOURTEEN Liking Everything About the Movies
178
TWENTYTHREE Silencing the Most Articulate Voice
344
TWENTYFOUR Fancy Her a Heroine
365
TWENTYSEVEN Dear Dear Friend
425
TWENTYEIGHT Kissing Her in the Street
439
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About the author (2007)

William J. Mann has written for The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, The Hartford Courant, Salon, and other publications. He is the author of Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger; Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood; and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines. He lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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