This is the title of her autobiography.
As she says:
What are you saying? Who am I?
Well I’m me — I’m what is called the power behind the throne. I’m your — your character. Isn’t that what they call it?
Yes, Kate. That’s what we call it. Character. You were certainly an interesting Character.
Character: a configuration of habits.
Oh, but Kate, we have another word that you never knew much about. The word is Temperament.
What you didn’t know was your Temperament. But I doubt if you would care. You had an interesting and full life anyway. However, you might have understood yourself and others a little more.
Hepburn received a total of 12 Academy Award nominations for Best Actress throughout her career, and her four wins is a record for a performer. Her on-screen persona often matched her own independent personality, and she came to epitomize the “modern woman” in 20th century America. Credited with helping change the way females were depicted on screen, she is acknowledged as an influential figure in the public’s changing perception of women. In 1999, she was named by the American Film Institute as the top female legend of the screen. [Wikipedia]
Like all the Artisans, Crafters are people who love action, and who know instinctively that their activities are more enjoyable, and more effective, if done impulsively, spontaneously, subject to no schedules or standards but their own. In a sense, Crafters do not work with their tools, but play with them when the urge strikes them. Crafters also seek fun and games on impulse, looking for any opportunity, and just because they feel like it, to play with their various toys: cars, motorcycles, boats, dune-buggies, hunting rifles, fishing tackle, scuba gear, and on and on. They thrive on excitement, particularly the rush of speed-racing, water-skiing, surfing. [Please Understand Me II]
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. — Katherine Hepburn
Artisans can become skilled at their profession very early. Hepburn considered herself lucky. She credits her parents.
“You know what I am? I am my main gift from my parents. … I wanted to discover the real reason back of all the fluff. That bit of fiber which can be developed in all of us — there it is — waiting to be used.”
The young Hepburn was a tomboy who liked to call herself Jimmy and cut her hair short like a boy’s. Thomas Hepburn was eager for his children to use their minds and bodies to the limit, and taught them to swim, run, dive, ride, wrestle, and play golf and tennis. Golf became a passion for his oldest daughter: she took daily lessons and became very good, reaching the semi-final of the Connecticut Young Women’s Golf Championship. She loved swimming in Long Island Sound, and took ice-cold baths every morning—generally believing that “the bitterer the medicine, the better it was for you.” Hepburn was a fan of movies from a young age, and went to see one every Saturday night. With her friends and siblings, she would put on plays and perform to her neighbors for 50 cents a ticket to raise money for the Navajo people. [Wikipedia]
She got small Broadway parts in the beginning, after attending Bryn Mawr College. She became a Broadway star and quickly followed into Hollywood. She won her first Academy Award in 1933.
The Hollywood studios had control of publicity in the Golden Era. But there were leaks of her “me me me” behavior off-screen, she didn’t have a good relationship with the press, and her refused to play the Hollywood Game. She was always wearing slacks and no makeup; she never posed for pictures or give interviews. Audiences were shocked at her unconventional behavior instead of applauding it, and so when she returned to Broadway in 1934 to star in “The Lake”, the critics panned her and the audiences, who at first bought up tickets, soon deserted her. Her next movies were flops too, so she was considered ‘box office poison’ for a time.
Casted into the “B movies” by the studio, Hepburn turned them down, and instead opted to buy herself out of her contract for $75,000. Many actors of the time were afraid to leave the stability of the studio system, but Hepburn’s personal wealth meant she could afford to be independent. She went back to Broadway to play in the successful “The Philadelphia Story” and then back to Hollywood, with her boyfriend, Howard Hughes, obtaining the rights for her, she had the leverage, to star in the Academy Award winning film — to revive her film career.
Divorcing her first husband very early, she decided that she wouldn’t again re-marry and have kids. Hepburn stuck to her choice: she felt that motherhood should be a full-time commitment, and it was not one she was willing to make. ”I would have been a terrible mother,” she told her biographer, “because I’m basically a very selfish human being.” Her 26 year affair with Spencer Tracy, never publicized during Tracy’s life time, because he was a Catholic and still married. Hepburn enjoyed the independence, but was devoted to Tracy until he died.
“More than a movie star, Katharine Hepburn was the patron saint of the independent American female.” A Film Critic.
I strike people as peculiar in some way, although I don’t quite understand why. Of course, I have an angular face, an angular body and, I suppose, an angular personality, which jabs into people. – Katherine Hepburn