Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Oct 30, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 656 pages
4 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Chris_El - LibraryThing

The author states near the beginning of this book that he is not really a fan of Kate or her films. He doesn't come right out and say why he is writing this book. Several other reviewers here have ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cyderry - LibraryThing

Just about every biography of Katharine Hepburn was written and influence by Katharine Hepburn herself, however, this book was undertaken after her death and the research that was used were paper ... Read full review


ONE A Sea Change
TWO Such a Good FairyTale Teller
THREE Nobody Likes Crybabies
FOUR Jimmy Was Her Name
SEVEN Never a Member of the Club
EIGHT Getting Her Balance
TWELVE All the Sort of Highbrow Customs
THIRTEEN The Beautiful Scent of Orange Blossoms
FOURTEEN Liking Everything About the Movies
TWENTYTHREE Silencing the Most Articulate Voice
TWENTYFOUR Fancy Her a Heroine
TWENTYSEVEN Dear Dear Friend
TWENTYEIGHT Kissing Her in the Street

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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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