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Thread: Katharine Hepburn, the last true star

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default Katharine Hepburn, the last true star

    Sarah Standing remembers Katharine Hepburn and compares her to the sad specimens of tawdry celebrity who survive today.

    Author Karen Karbo recently published a book called How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great, which interweaves biographical fact with Katharine Hepburn's maxims on life, and then gives them a modern, analytical twist. Kate was my godmother, and the Kate I knew and loved paid scant lip service to self-analysis. Her thinking was much too selfless, clear, level-headed and straightforward to waste precious time pondering the "what-ifs" of the world. She was singularly unimpressed by our modern obsession with self-importance.


    Katharine Hepburn: A real, bone fide star

    "What a bore," she'd drawl in her distinct New England/Bryn Mawr accent and then immediately move on to discuss or do something she deemed "really" important. Really important things to Kate were all do to with finding joy in the simple, basic elements of life. Chopping wood outside and then building a decent fire. Eating dark chocolate after dinner and drinking a strong whisky before. Always having three meals a day. Getting a good night's sleep. Having fresh flowers in the house because "you can't be miserable in a room full of flowers." Going to bed early and getting up at dawn – "Why waste the day? So much to see." Swimming every morning in the ocean, regardless of the weather. Taking cold showers – "Exhilarating!" She was the most self-disciplined woman I've ever met; yet she was a complete non-conformist.

    We live now in an insidious age that glorifies the dubious culture of plankton-like celebrity. Fame carries a status that used to belong to people who did proper jobs. Today, notoriety and the kudos of notoriety is something – irrespective of talent – that many kids aspire to. It's a potential job opportunity, a career choice – and I'm vaguely surprised it doesn't appear on the National Curriculum.
    Weekly, daily, hourly we are bombarded by nonsensical non-
    information about non-entities. Reality television participants are dubbed "stars" and thousands of words are devoted to their piffling once-private, now public, lives.
    Katharine Hepburn was a star. A real, bone fide star. She was an intensely private woman who largely lived her life according to her own rules. She was never a celebrity – she was far too stylish for that. She was an original, inspirational and unique woman. A one-off. A talented, outspoken, free-thinking, trail-blazing individual who spent the majority of her life actively avoiding the press and deliberately leaving a false paper trail of clues as to who she really was.
    She was lucky enough to be born into an era that truly understood and embraced the notion of "getting a grip". Kate thought sharing emotions with total strangers was frightfully bad manners. She cleverly gave away just the barest-of-bare, homogenised facts and left her public guessing and intrigued. Her relationship with Spencer Tracey was widely speculated upon, but never sanctioned by either party until the very end of her life. Undoubtedly, Tracey was the love of her life but as he was both a Catholic and married, Kate would have considered their affair no-one's business except her own. It simply wasn't her style to air either dirty or clean laundry in public. And her lifelong reluctance to "play the game" has only served to increase and enhance her appeal, fascination and longevity.

    The lessons on living I learnt first hand from Kate are numerous and seeped in practicality and old-fashioned common sense. When I had my heart broken at the age of 17, I went to live with her in New York for six months. She was then in her mid-seventies. "You can't sail a leaky boat. You either keep rowing or you sink. Swim to safety before it's too late," was her sage advice. "Don't ever commit to anything unless you're prepared to give it 100%," went another one of her mantras, "or else you'll just come across as a flake." She told me she always wore trousers, "because it's impossible to explore properly in a dress," and she found it very tedious if I didn't follow her example. We'd go on daily three-hour "adventure walks" across Central Park, and despite our vast age difference she expected me to keep up with her.
    The most important gift she gave me was an enthusiasm for life. I remember her once saying with typical lack of sentimentality: "When you're dead, you're dead. Life is what's important. So live it." On reflection, I guess she taught me How to Hepburn. And nobody did it better than her.

    Katharine Hepburn, the last true star - Telegraph

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    Elite Member azoria's Avatar
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    Here here!

    I love this "..... compares her to the sad specimens of tawdry celebrity who survive today." Ain't it the truth.

    And Kate gave possibly the best movie performance of her life at the age of 61 in "The Lion in Winter".

    No, Ashley Tisdale, Jessica Simpson, Heidi whatsyourname, Mary Kate Olsen, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, and the rest of you forgettable little flops, they don't make em like that any more.

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