Katharine Hepburn – Still an Inspiration!

As I sit in my office writing this post, I look out my window that faces Elizabeth Street, and see a very cold and dreary scene. Not to mention the icicles, some taller than I am, hanging from the roof!This weather is causing a very small knot to form in my stomach as I think about the appointment I have with my swim coach after work today. He’s going to make me work really hard and then it’s going to be really cold afterwards. Then I remember this image of Katharine Hepburn.

It is one of my favorites! I came across it while doing research for the upcoming exhibition Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen opening on April 11th. Here she is in Fenwick in her EIGHTIES! on a 5 degree day and was quoted as saying, “Not everyone is lucky enough to understand how delicious it is to suffer.” Hmm, delicious to suffer… I’ll have to keep telling myself that! At least the pool is heated…

From a very young age Katharine Hepburn was encouraged by her father to be fearless and athletic. So when she became an actress, she insisted on doing most of her own stunts – even in to her 70s! Biographer Anne Edwards described a scene on the set of the 1976 movie Olly, Olly Oxen Free. Hepburn noticed a stuntman, dressed as her character, ready to grab a rope hanging from a hot air balloon as it was about to take off. “That man doesn’t look a thing like me at all,” she said, she grabbed the rope and was lifted off the ground – until the crew pulled her down. Now that’s the kind of shape I want to be in when I’m 79!

Olly Olly Oxen Free from 1978, starting  Katharine Hepburn, Kevin McKenzie, Dennis Dimster

Olly Olly Oxen Free from 1978, starting Katharine Hepburn, Kevin McKenzie, Dennis Dimster

If you want to be inspired by Katharine Hepburn, or just want to see some really incredible clothes from her personal collection of performance clothes – mark April 11th on your calendar and check for upcoming Hepburn-related programs.

Andrea Rapacz is the Head of Interpretive Projects at the Connecticut Historical Society

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