Monday, April 20, 2009

1 Famous Philosophy Major (Who Was a Girl!)

I still have a long backlog of posts that I've been working on, but since most of them are just about my unusually strong dislike of Zack Snyder and David Brooks ("Zack the Hack?" "Brook-y the Crook-y?" "Old Blood and Guts-less?"), I figured that y'all might be more interested in this:

Katharine Hepburn
photo: Katharine Hepburn at Bryn Mawr in 1953
In many ways, Katharine Hepburn was the epitome of the New England aristocrat, the product of generations of Yankee ingenuity and liberal arts education. She could trace her genealogy back to King Louis IX of France and (possibly) to James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell and consort to Mary, Queen of Scots. Katharine was born in 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her mother was Katharine Martha Houghton, a leading suffragist, co-founder of Planned Parenthood, and glass manufacturing heiress. Her father was a urologist from Virginia who insisted on his daughters having active and athletic lifestyles as children. As a young woman, Katharine was a champion figure skater, golfer, and swimmer.

True to form, the House of Hepburn was not without tragedy or trauma: In 1921, Katharine's brother Tom hung himself at the age of 17, leaving his body for his sister to find. Katharine's family tried to cover-up the suicide, saying that Tom was just re-enacting one of the dangerous stunts he had seen his younger sister perform.

Katharine attended Bryn Mawr college outside of Philadelphia, where she double majored in philosophy and history. She was known as a trouble-maker there, smoking cigarettes and breaking curfew to swim naked in the pond. She graduated in 1928, and moved to Baltimore to begin her stage career.

Hepburn was throughout her life an outspoken feminist and critic of the institute of marriage. She was briefly a member of the Communist Party, and, later in life, became an atheist. She holds records for Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (12) and for wins (4). In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Katharine Hepburn as the greatest female star in the history of American cinema.

Katharine Hepburn Quotes:

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."

"If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married."

"Enemies are so stimulating."

"Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should just live next door and just visit now and then.

Katharine Hepburn's 1947 Speech Against HUAC

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