Saturday, April 14, 2007
What a night this was back in 1969! All the egos and glamour of Hollywood were gathered together in one place for the annual Academy Awards presentation. All in the theatre and those watching the extravaganza on television could feel the electricity in the air as the envelope, announcing the Best Actress Award, was opened.
It was the 11th nomination for Katharine Hepburn, an academy record! And, the Oscar goes to ...
For the first time in the history of the Academy Awards, a tie resulted in two stars sharing the Best Actress Oscar. Barbra Streisand for her performance in Funny Girl had reached the top, only to share the honor with the ‘First Lady of the American Screen’, Katharine Hepburn for her starring role in The Lion in Winter.
Hepburn also broke the record that night as the only actress to win three Best Actress Oscars. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner awarded the previous year and Morning Glory [1932-33] were the other films. She was also only the third person to win two years in a row. Hepburn added a twelfth nomination and a fourth Oscar in 1981 for her performance in On Golden Pond with co-star Henry Fonda. She earned three of these awards after her sixtieth birthday.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “He who laughs last, laughs best.” Not all of Katharine Hepburn’s peers were admirers. After completing her first film (A Bill of Divorcement) in 1932, she told her lecherous, co-star John Barrymore that she would never act with him again. His reply, “Really, my dear? I didn’t know you ever had.” Hepburn, who had made her stage debut on Broadway in 1928, was reviewed by columnist Dorothy Parker for a 1933 performance as “running the gamut of emotions from A to B.” And, in 1938 she was labeled “box-office poison.” Obviously Hepburn has had the last laugh.
Her most memorable performances include Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story opposite Cary Grant; Woman of the Year, Adam’s Rib, Pat and Mike with co-star and significant other, Spencer Tracy; The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Suddenly Last Summer opposite Montgomery Clift. Long Day’s Journey into Night earned her a 1962 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress award.
From Broadway to Hollywood to television ... 1975 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in her ABC Theatre performance, opposite Laurence Olivier, in Love Among the Ruins ... to literature ... two best-sellers, The Making of "The African Queen" or How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind and her autobiography, Me, Katharine Hepburn remains a star, the idol of independent, talented young women in their search for fame and fortune.