photo of Katharine HepburnPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Katharine Hepburn

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Katharine Hepburn. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress of film, stage, and television. Hepburn's career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned more than 60 years. Known for her headstrong independence and spirited personality, she cultivated a screen persona that matched this public image, and regularly played strong-willed, sophisticated women. Her work came in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and she received four Academy Awards for Best Actress—a record for any performer. In 1999, Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute the greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema.

Raised in Connecticut by wealthy, progressive parents, Hepburn began to act while studying at Bryn Mawr College. Favorable reviews of her work on Broadway brought her to the attention of Hollywood. Her early years in film brought her international fame, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her third picture, Morning Glory (1933), but this was followed by a series of commercial failures culminating in the critically lauded but commercially unsuccessful comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938). Hepburn masterminded her own comeback, buying out her contract with RKO Radio Pictures and acquiring the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she sold on the condition that she be the star. That comedy film was a box office success and landed her a third Academy Award nomination. In the 1940s, she was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where her career focused on an alliance with Spencer Tracy, which spanned 26 years and nine movies and extended to an unacknowledged off-screen affair.

Hepburn challenged herself in the latter half of her life, as she tackled Shakespearean stage productions and a range of literary roles. She found a niche playing middle-aged spinsters, such as in The African Queen (1951), a persona the public embraced. Hepburn earned three more Oscars for her work in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981). In the 1970s, she began appearing in television films, which later became the focus of her career. She made her final screen appearance at the age of 87. After a period of inactivity and ill health, Hepburn died in 2003 at the age of 96.

Hepburn famously shunned the Hollywood publicity machine and she refused to conform to society's expectations of women. She was outspoken, assertive, and athletic, and wore trousers before they were fashionable for women. She was briefly married as a young woman but thereafter lived independently. With her unconventional lifestyle and the independent characters she brought to the screen, Hepburn epitomized the "modern woman" in the 20th-century United States, and is remembered as an important cultural figure.

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

If you survive long enough, you're revered-rather like an old building.

I would have made a terrible parent. The first time my child didn't do what I wanted, I'd kill him.

The woman's position in the world today is so much harder than a man's that it makes me choke every time I hear a man complain about anything.

If you obey all the rules, you'll miss all the fun.

I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret if you have any sense, and if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid.

You sell yourself. The part that I sell is the creature. The adorable part.

Children need boundaries, so they can know how far they have to go to get beyond them.

Don't moan, don't whine, don't blame. Just get on with it.

Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. If someone is in need, lend them a helping hand. Do not wait for a thank you. True kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of something in return.

Nobody owes anybody anything; it's up to each individual to set high standards for himself or herself, and to set about working hard and creating a solid future.

I find a woman's point of view much grander and finer than a man's.

I realised long ago that skirts are hopeless. Anytime I hear a man say he prefers a woman in a skirt, I say, 'Try one. Try a skirt.'

How wonderful are the women and men in the world who feed us. Especially those who feed us with no salary. The mothers--I thought. The wives.

Vitality! That's the pursuit of life, isn't it?

It's a business you go into because you're an egocentric. It's a very embarrassing profession.

You can't change the music of your soul.

I have loved and been in love. There's a big difference.

I don't regret anything I've ever done; as long as I enjoyed it at the time.

Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.

I remember as a child going around with Votes For Women balloons. I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause.

I don't give a damn about marriage. But I do care about honor.

I don't fear death, it must be like a long sleep.

Two of an actress's greatest assets are love and pain. A great actress, even a good actress, must have plenty of both in her life.

I think everyone is an opportunist if they have an opportunity.

Isn't it fun getting older? is really a terrible fallacy. That's like saying I prefer driving an old car with a flat tire.

The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.

I think the reason that very few people really fall in love with anyone is that they're not willing to pay the price.

I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old -- or being young, for that matter.

I can remember walking as a child. It was not customary to say you were fatigued. It was customary to complete the goal of the expedition.

I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I've just done what I damn well wanted to, and I've made enough money to support myself, and ain't afraid of being alone.

Being an actor is such a humiliating experience because you are selling yourself to the public, your face, your personality, and that is humiliating. As you get older, it becomes more humiliating because you've got less to sell.

A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.

I always wanted to be a movie actress. I thought it was very romantic. And it was.

Few people know what they mean when they say, I love you. ... Well, what does the word love mean? It means total interest. I think the reason very few people really fall in love with anyone is they're not willing to pay the price. The price is you have to adjust yourself to them.

If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.

I can't say I believe in prizes. I was a whiz in the three-legged race -- that's something you CAN win.

Now how can anybody look at that and not believe in God? I mean, how can anybody look at this and not believe there is some higher power, some divine force at work in the universe greater than Man, some god that created it, that created all this, that created us?

Who is Katharine Hepburn? It took me a long time to create that creature.

I would have been a terrible mother because I'm basically a very selfish human being. Not that that has stopped most people going off and having children.

The calla lilies are in bloom again.

Longer Version:

The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower--suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.

I could peel you like a pear and god himself would see the justice in it.

I'm a legend because I've survived over a long period of time and still seem to be master of my fate -- I'm still paddling the goddamned boat myself.

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don't paddle your own canoe, you don't move.

I have had twenty years of perfect companionship with a man among men. He is a rock and a protection. I have never regretted it.

It's life isn't it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.

Acting is a nice childish profession -- pretending you're someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself.

If you lead a public life, people are much more on to you than you think.

If you follow all of the rules, you'll miss all of the fun.

It is the plain women who know about love; the beautiful women are too busy being fascinating.

I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.

Show me an actress who isn't a personality and I'll show you a woman who isn't a star.

It is the ordinary woman who knows something about love; the gorgeous ones are too busy being gorgeous.

All my life, I've stayed at parties too long because I didn't know when to go.

Heaven to be the first one up and to eat breakfast all alone.

It's not what you start in life, it's what you finish.

The country is like a great sponge--it finally absorbs you. Eventually you will get malaria or you will get dysentery and whatever you do, if you don't keep doing it, the jungle will grow over you. Black or white, you've got to fight it every minute of the day.

My greatest strength is common sense. I'm really a standard brand -- like Campbell's tomato soup or Baker's chocolate.

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.

If you're given a choice between money and sex appeal, take the money. As you get older, the money will become your sex appeal.

Acting is the perfect idiot's profession.

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get -- only with what you are expecting to give -- which is everything.

Marriage is a series of desperate arguments people feel passionately about.

To be loved is very demoralizing.

Why slap them on the wrist with feather when you can belt them over the head with a sledgehammer.

Only the really plain people know about love -- the very fascinating ones try so hard to create an impression that they soon exhaust their talents.

To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.

I think most of the people involved in any art always secretly wonder whether they are really there because they're good or there because they're lucky.

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.

Never complain. Never explain.

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

Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around.

It would be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack.

Enemies are so stimulating.

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

Dressing up is a bore. At a certain age, you decorate yourself to attract the opposite sex, and at a certain age, I did that. But I'm past that age.

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