After years of being an outsider in Hollywood, Katharine Hepburn found herself on top in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  Where she was once considered too outspoken, and at the same time, too reclusive, she was being hailed as one of the true great actresses.

As the counter culture movement took full swing, Hepburn was praised as a leader.  Her behavior, which was once frowned upon, was keeping her career going, while many of her contemporaries were finding minimal work in B-movies and as supporting players, or else retiring from acting, and even passing away. 

While she never attended an Oscar ceremony, or for that matter, took any interest in anything to do with her own great accomplishments, Katharine Hepburn was always there for the men in her life.  The strong and independent spirit, was the great woman, behind many great men.  

In 1940, The Philadelphia Story, the property that she had acquired the rights to, elevated the status of the film's co-stars, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.  In 1951, Humphrey Bogart finally got his long overdue award for The African Queen.  

Where Spencer Tracy was concerned, Katharine answered to his every need.  "I would have done anything for him," she said.  "Food - we ate what he liked.  We did what he liked.  We lived the life which he liked.  This gave me pleasure, the thought that this was pleasing him."  Despite her success in the 60's, Hepburn actually did very little in the way of movie making, stating later that Spencer's ill health kept her from working.

The one and only time that Katharine Hepburn did make an appearance at the Academy Awards was in 1974 to present the Thalberg Award to Lawrence Weingarten, the famed producer, who brought to life such classics as The Broadway Melody.  He was also behind several Tracy-Hepburn classics, including Adam's Rib and Pat and Mike.  

As Hepburn took to the stage, the theatre erupted in applause by a crowd that was on their feet immediately.  "I'm very happy I didn't hear anyone call out 'It's about time!' ... I'm living proof that someone can wait forty one years to be unselfish."

In 1976, Hepburn appeared with John Wayne in one of his last films, Rooster Cogburn.  Wayne was already suffering from cancer during filming of the sequel to his classic Oscar winner, True Grit, but with Kate in tow, he was able to turn in a respectable performance.  Kate was quite impressed with the man, and went on to defend his conservative politics.  "He is so tall a tree that the sun must shine on him whatever the tangle in the jungle below."  

Speaking of trees, in a classic Barbara Walters interview, Hepburn laughed off what she felt was the ludicrous routine of TV interviews.  She told Barbara that she was waiting for the question "What kind of tree are you?" to pop up.  Walters entertained the idea and allowed Kate to answer the question.  "I'd probably like to be an oak.  They have great strength," she responded.  Kate walked away from the interview unscathed, but the "What kind of tree are you?" question continued to haunt Barbara Walters many years. 

In 1981, Katharine Hepburn appeared in On Golden Pond.  Originally a stage play, the film would star the estranged father and daughter team of Henry and Jane Fonda.  All of the players were excellent, with Henry and Kate standing out for their touching portrayal of an aging couple.  

Like Spencer Tracy, John Wayne and even Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda was ill when he made the movie with Katharine Hepburn.  He was rewarded with the Best Actor Oscar that year, and his daughter, Jane Fonda, accepted, in what would be one of the most touching moments in Oscar history.  

Katharine Hepburn, however, would take some of the glory for herself that night, winning her record breaking fourth Academy Award for Best Actress.  As usual, she wasn't there to accept.  In her absence, Jon Voight took to the stage.  "I don't think there's anyone here or watching who doesn't appreciate the amount of love and gratitude represented by this Oscar selection tonight.  We all send our love to Katharine."

Once asked why she never attended the ceremony, she replied, "It has to be because I'm afraid I'm not going to win.  If I were an honest person, which obviously I am not, I would refuse to compete ... but I do say to myself 'I wonder if I'm going to win it ...?"



Hepburn appears in what would become her trademark role to a brand new audience.
As an elderly couple spending their summer at the cottage, Henry Fonda and Kate spot some loons. 
As Ethel, Kate takes care of her husband as his body and mind begin to fail him.
"You're my knight in shining armor!  And don't you forget it."
Kate instructs Dabney Coleman on the art of skinny dipping. 
Jane Fonda expresses to Kate, her issues with her overbearing dad. 
Kate even finds time to council her daughter's, boyfriends, troubled son.
Kate pretty much looks after everything on Golden Pond.



"It was a great set up and also fun to do.  Jane and Hank were busy working out a rather complicated father-daughter relationship, and this was to be the solution.  An ambitious father and an ambitious daughter find their solutions with an ambitious friend."

... discussing On Golden Pond