Classic Hollywood #54 – Katharine Hepburn 1940

Katharine Hepburn Looking Beautiful – Even Her Neck!

katharine-hepburn-1940-photo-van-damm-studioThere are a number of classic movie fans who like Katharine Hepburn as an actress but don’t care for her looks.

Looking at a photograph of Hepburn like this one taken in 1940 by Vandamm Studio, how could anyone say she doesn’t look absolutely beautiful?

The one feature Katharine Hepburn did not like about herself, especially as she aged, was her neck. She called it her “turkey neck.” By the end of the 1940s, wrinkles around her neck made her self conscious, and she would frequently cover up her neck both on screen and off.

In Anne Edwards book, Katharine Hepburn A Remarkable Woman, director – producer Stanley Kramer relates this story about working with Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the 1967 film, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

“We had some tensions on the picture. I was irritated by her fear over her so-called ‘ugly neck‘ — she wore scarves and high collars, and ‘played low.’ . . . Many times she would come into a room and kneel, or sit down at once, so people wouldn’t be aware of her neck. During rehearsal, Tracy would be sitting there, suddenly she would come in and she’d kneel. ‘He’d say what the hell are you doin’ kneeling?’ and she’d say very grandly ‘Spencer, I just thought it would be appropriate,’ and he’d mock her high-falutin’ accent saying ‘Spensuh! Christ you talk like you’ve got a feather up your ass all the time! Get out of there will yah?’ and she’d start to say, ‘I just thought that – ‘ and he’d snap out, ‘Just do what the director guy tells you will yah? ‘ and she’d reply, humbly ‘All right.’ She’d take anything from him. She’d take nothing from anybody else.”

Hepburn died in 2003 at age 96 from old age and a large tumor – in her neck.

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