The dress that Katharine Hepburn wears in The Glass Menagerie is actually the same one she wore for the 1939 stage version of The Philadelphia Story. Designed by Valentina, Tracy Lord’s wedding dress was an elaborate affair – pink silk organza, chiffon and crepe de chine, a fusion of modern and romantic elements – and personified a contemporary Southern socialite. Hepburn saved the dress in her personal collection, and bought it out of retirement in 1973, adding a corsage and a neckpiece. Because the actress had retained her slim figure, the waist only had to be let out slightly.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on the set of State of the Union, 1948
Read Kate’s autobiographies Me and The Making of the African Queen. I don’t really like any biographies for her sadly. I can tell you to NOT read the one by William J. Mann because it’s trash. Rebel Chic is good but its about fashion, The Private World of Katharine Hepburn is a fav but thats a photo book really. Kate Remembered and An Affair to Remember are only so-so and have inaccuracies. I would also recommend the newish Spencer Tracy book by James Curtis.
Katharine Hepburn photographed by Ernest A. Bachrach, 1930s
Katharine Hepburn on the set of Quality Street, 1937
Katharine Hepburn touching up her makeup on the set of Alice Adams, 1935
Happy birthday, Katharine Hepburn! Born May 12, 1907, Hepburn was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years.
On September 1, 1950, in the midst of the “Red Scare,” when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated allegations of Communist activity in the film industry, Hepburn wrote to the U.S. Board of Parole on behalf of screenwriter Ringgold Wilmer “Ring” Lardner, Jr.
Lardner was one of the “Hollywood 10,” a group that refused to answer the Committee’s questions when called to testify in 1947, and therefore found guilty of contempt of Congress. They were blacklisted from Hollywood, and Lardner was imprisoned. By signing this letter, Hepburn opened herself to the risk of having her career destroyed.
This letter is currently featured in the National Archives Museum’s “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit in Washington, DC.
Happy Birthday Katharine Hepburn!
(May 12, 1907-June 29, 2003)
Her energy was phenomenal. I’d get to the studio at seven and she’d been there since six, riding the grounds on her bicycle. She has a wonderful wild and lunatic passion for everything she does. It is a tremendously infectious sort of thing and she creates a state of excitement.
Katharine Hepburn in Italy, 1971