She was truly an outstanding person. How much impact on the culture of our times did "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" have? Her films remain landmarks not just for acting but for the thought provoking content. Here is a lovely obituary I found online
Top screen legend Hepburn dies
Katharine Hepburn, who died aged 96 on Sunday, brought a regal presence to the screen career that spanned more than six decades, and came to be revered as the top female screen legend of all time.
Katharine Hepburn created an image of a strong-willed woman of classic beauty that brought her an unequaled four best actress Academy Awards.
Ms Hepburn was called the first lady of American cinema. Her trademarks: high cheekbones, auburn hair and a voice redolent of her upper-class New England origins.
Ms Hepburn, who died aged 96 on Sunday, brought a regal presence to the screen career that spanned more than six decades, and came to be revered as the top female screen legend of all time.
"She is the person who put women in pants, literally and figuratively," her biographer, Christopher Andersen, told Reuters in 2000.
"She is the greatest star, the greatest actress, that Hollywood has ever produced."
"With the passing of Frank Sinatra, and the death of Jimmy Stewart, she really was the the last of that breed of Hollywood royalty," Mr Andersen said.
"And she was by far the greatest."
The actress did not escape criticism, however. Her performances were sometimes called cold, and it was of Ms Hepburn that Dorothy Parker made her famous quip that she displayed "the gamut of emotions from A to B."
She won the best actress Oscar four times -- in 1933 for Morning Glory, 1967 for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, 1968 for The Lion in Winter and in 1981 for On Golden Pond. She was nominated for the award eight other times.
She defied Hollywood's obsession with youth by making some of her greatest films after 40, and winning three of her Oscars after age 60.
Irreverent and feisty, Ms Hepburn always spoke her mind. Her independent spirit made her a role model to many women, and she was voted America's most admired woman in a 1985 Ladies Home Journal survey.
Ms Hepburn also starred in film classics including Little Women, The African Queen, The Philadelphia Story, A Bill of Divorcement, Pat and Mike, Adam's Rib, State of the Union and Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Her last film was Love Affair in 1994, in which she played Ginny, aunt of ex-football star Mike Gambril, played by Warren Beatty.
She won her first Oscar as a stage-struck tomboy in Morning Glory in 1933 but before the decade was over had been labeled "box office poison" for a string of flops, including Mary of Scotland (1936) and Quality Street (1937).
Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born May 12, 1907, the second of six children of a wealthy surgeon and a suffragette, whose shared advocacy of women's rights and physical fitness shaped Hepburn's character and career.
For years reference books listed her birthday as 2-1/2 years later, on Nov. 8, 1909.
Finally, in her 1991 autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life, she acknowledged her true birth date and age.
She admitted that she had lied about her age, telling The New York Times that she knocked two years off when she approached 30 and had adopted the November birth date of her elder brother Tom.
One of the most disturbing episodes of Ms Hepburn's life occurred when she was just 14 and found the body of her adored brother Tom, hanged in his bedroom during a visit to an aunt in New York.
The cause of death remained a mystery, with the family denying a suicide.
She discovered his body and, according to a recent biography of her by Barbara Leaming, Ms Hepburn tried to become him, fulfilling his role as his father's favorite child.
Ms Hepburn was educated at home by tutors. She was a tomboy and at 15 cut her hair very short, wore pants and pretended to be a young man named Jimmy.
Despite her masculine tendencies, rumors that Ms Hepburn was bisexual or gay were not true, author Mr Andersen said.
Ms Hepburn became interested in dramatics while attending college at Bryn Mawr, where she received a BA in 1928.
After some summer stock success, she made her Broadway debut in a show called Night Hostess. The show was short-lived but it led to other Broadway parts and to her first big stage success, The Warrior's Husband, which brought her film offers.
She was married from 1928 to 1934 to Ludlow Ogden Smith, a wealthy Philadelphian, who changed his name to Ogden because she did not want to be known as Mrs. Smith. After the divorce she decided that "marriage was not a natural institution" and never remarried.
"Luddy was in love with me but you see my hitch was that I was in love with myself," Ms Hepburn wrote in Me.
She went on to have a series of relationships, including a three-year affair with reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes and 25-year partnership with actor Spencer Tracy, her great love.
Of Hughes, Ms Hepburn wrote "we each had a wild desire to be famous - I think that this was a dominant character failing".
"People who want to be famous are really loners or they should be."
With Spencer Tracy, it was different.
"I loved Spencer Tracy. He and his interest and his demands came first. This was not easy for me because I was definitely a me, me, me person," she said.
Despite the relationship, Tracy remained married to his wife, Louise, until his death in 1967.
He was a Roman Catholic and his church would never allow divorce.
Woman of the Year (1942) marked the beginning of the relationship with Tracy.
"We lived openly enough together," she said. "I certainly had no intention of breaking up his relationship with his wife."
Ms Hepburn said she first met Tracy's wife on the night he died in Ms Hepburn's house and she called his family.
In an interview four years before Tracy died, she said, "I have had 20 years of perfect companionship with a man among men. He is a rock and a protection. I've never regretted it."
They made nine films together, completing Guess Who's Coming to Dinner just days before his death.
Ms Hepburn won an Oscar for the performance, after having taken five years off to nurse Tracy through his final illness.
Then she plunged back into filmmaking, earning her third Oscar for her role as Elinor of Aquitaine opposite Peter O'Toole's King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (1968).
She went on to win her fourth in 1981 opposite Henry Fonda and his daughter, Jane, in On Golden Pond, the study of a family and particularly the relationship between the elderly parents as they come to grips with failing health.
She remained active into the 1990s, appearing in films and writing memoirs and her autobiography, but was increasingly slowed by Parkinson's, a progressive neurological disease.
Hartford, Connecticut native Ms Hepburn in late 1996 gave up the townhouse on New York's East 49th Street that she had kept since the 1930s. She retreated fulltime to the family mansion in Fenwick, an upper-class borough in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, on Long Island Sound.
"Giving up the townhouse was a difficult decision for her; it was very wrenching emotionally," said Mr Andersen, author of the 1997 book An Affair to Remember: The Remarkable Love Story of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
Ms Hepburn lived a quiet, reclusive life in Fenwick, and was rarely seen in public. Friends and relatives said she suffered from short-term memory loss, but it was not clear if she had Alzheimer's Disease.
In 1999 she was voted the top female screen legend of all time by the American Film Institute.
Despite her carefully guarded privacy that fueled occasional speculation that she was seriously ill, Ms Hepburn surprised the world in March of 2000 -- two months before her 93rd birthday -- when she told a New York newspaper she was feeling fine.
"Tell everyone I am doing fine!" she told the New York Post in a rare interview published on March 10, 2000. "I am OK."
Dressed in a purple jumpsuit and sitting by a roaring fire in her living room, the actress said she was still a big eater, enjoying homemade meals prepared by her cook.
Ms Hepburn was an amateur painter of some skill and her work decorated walls at the New York townhouse that she shared with Tracy and where she lived for over 60 years.
She once said, "I find myself absolutely fascinating ... but I'm uncomplicated. When I'm supposed to talk, I talk. When I go to bed, I sleep. When I'm supposed to eat, I eat."
But summarizing a Ms Hepburn film retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, critic Kenneth Tynan countered: "She is not versatile. She is simply unique."
She told The New York Times in an interview published in September 1991 that her screen and private personas hardly differed. "I had a very definite personality and I liked material that showed that personality," she said.