I think part of the reason is that there are far more biographies of Kate than there are of Spencer.The few books about Spencer were written before Kate acknowledged a relationship with him. In trying to put together a narrative that supports the main subject of their book (Kate), authors see Spencer (married man, alcaholic) as a villain who perhaps took advantage of Kate's devotion to him. Spencer is in direct conflict with the "independent" Kate storyline. Also, Kate spoke about her life with Spencer, while he never did. The relationship is understood from her point of view, and though Kate never said this herself, the collective impression left is that she sacrificed for him and he didn't sacrifice for her. Finally, many of the accounts of their relationship vividly describe the way Kate cared for Spencer. The few great stories, like the Garson Kanin tale about Spencer defending Kate's acting talent to the famous playwright, are lost in the mix.
I think you're both right. On the one hand we have the whole "she sacrificed herself for him more than he did for her" issue. Katharine put her career on hold mainly to take care of him - I'm not sure he'd have done the same for her. And his occasionally giving up drink for short periods of time doesn't really measure up to the ways in which she showed devotion & respect. But so what? Who says any or equal measures of sacrifice have to take place to make a great relationship?
And Kerrie yes, Katharine maintained her individual career, lifestyle and independence, but when they were together, several of their friends commented that Kate's behaviour changed and she became almost submissively. No-one rushed to note any changes in Spence's behaviour though.
That said, the relationship obviously suited both sides for a multitude of reasons, most of which we can only guess at. A lot of people no doubt think Spence got to have his cake & eat it, by continuing to maintain the semblance of his life with Louise & the children, taking the occasional mistress and going off on drinking binges during his long years with Kate. But she wasn't forced to tolerate this, - she chose to accept it and allowed it to fit in with her expectations at the time. After his death, she might have wondered whether or not he truly loved her, but ultimately she chose to continue the relationship and to live with the good memories rather than confront him outright and risk a negative reply.
It's very sad though, if Kate really didn't know how he felt, when it's up there on the big screen for all to see in the final scene of GWCTD - unless of course they were just doing brilliantly what they both did best......?
Yes, I've read his book several times - in fact if you look elsewhere on the forum, you'll see I've classed it as one of my 2 favourite KH biographies.
Basically though, I'm just trying to answer your original question about why Spencer gets such a bad rap - testing the waters as it were by trying to second guess what causes people to form negative opinions based on the material that's been available for public review so far.
I wonder if we'll ever get a closer insight into their relationship by those who knew them well? Kathy Houghton seems to have changed her mind about writing about her aunt, do you know anyone else who's likely to share "the truth" about their relationship?
Are you referring to the book being researched by 2 women (their names escape me at the moment), or something else? And who's this William guy supposed to be writing yet another tome on Katharine - unfortunately in the same vein as the DP one, I think. Talking of which, do you think DP will actually get round to writing his second volume, if only to read out of curiosity, cast aside and disbelieve 99% of it!
I think anyone should avoid books that begin with "The Secret Life of..." Unless you're like me and want to read anything written about Katharine Hepburn be it tabloid or truth. Separating the two with common sense is the key...
In the beginning, after I started to read about Kate, I had a little angst towards Spence (is that the right word??...) just because of what Karina said. He, from what was written about him, seemed to take advantage of Kate's love for him and was a total alcoholic. But what is so great about it is that Kate knew all this, she knew he wasn't going to change, he wasn't going to sacrifice his "marriage" for her but she took it all on anyway. She loved him in the true sense of the word.
:I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun: Katharine Houghton Hepburn @-}---------
Playing advocate here for Spencer - by all accounts he was a very witty man , intelligent and women adored him . He was an alcoholic but he also went for long periods of time when he didn't drink at all and by the time Katharine met him the absolute worst of his drinking days were over . He still had a problem and he occasionally went off the deep end but they were much rarer after he met Katharine . I doubt that he took advantage of Katharine in any way but that's another story .
I don't know whether you saw the interview with Kathy Houghton in 2003 but she got to know Spencer quite well in the final years of his life . She said she was pretty upset by what has been written about Spencer - that yes he had a drinking problem but she absolutely adored him . She told a really funny story about when Spencer came to visit the Hepburn family .
Judy: All has changed on the Proboard....Not sure my reply got posted. Anyway, thanks for the notice, Evelien. I'm unable to access it. I can watch the clip of the woman flipping through the Kate books and talking about fashion - one of which is Rebel Chic :-)
Feb 4, 2014 20:29:21 GMT -5
dreamer: Ok peeps have tried to figure this new board - with not much success In order to login - click at the upper right corner - use your name from the board and your password and it should be all right. If not - please let me know and I will try to help!
Jul 29, 2014 7:30:03 GMT -5
Judy: I can enter. But not sure how to post now....Although I have nothing exciting to say, except hello to everyone!
Jul 29, 2014 20:34:38 GMT -5
Sherry: Hello in return.
Jul 31, 2014 10:40:25 GMT -5
HollywoodHepcat: Awww, hiiii!! I'm randomly here in hope of sourcing a quote of Kate's about Joel Mccrea-- coming up short, though. Ah well, hope everyone is well!! FINALLY A RED AND WHITE BANNER. TOOK 8 YEARS, BUT... WE MADE IT.
Aug 5, 2014 20:43:01 GMT -5
Tracy Lord: Just wanted to say a big HEY to everyone! I would love it if this board was active like it once was. I've missed it!
Aug 6, 2014 17:23:36 GMT -5
evelien: Hi everyone, hope you're all fine. I'm still alive and kicking and still as big a KH fan.
Aug 12, 2014 12:09:24 GMT -5
evelien: Judy: to reply to an existing thread, you can post a message in the 'quick reply' box under the last post on the page. To create a new thread: click on the folder you wish to post a new thread in and on the top right side you can choose 'New thread'.
Aug 12, 2014 12:11:39 GMT -5
CFK: So we all heard about Betty Bacall, I guess? Pretty rotten news, especially following so closely on Robin Williams. What a lousy week. Watched To Have and Have Not as tribute tonight.
Aug 13, 2014 0:25:58 GMT -5
HollywoodHepcat: Oh my God. Betty. My heart's in my throat.
Aug 13, 2014 5:45:59 GMT -5
lomola : hello fellow KH fans Just stumbled upon this interesting board.. Does anyone have any video interviews with KH?? Or maybe transcripts of them? I´ve been especially looking for the full version of the famous Cavett one forever and ever...
Sept 15, 2014 16:06:41 GMT -5
lomola : the bits of it i found on youtube were just amazing..
Sept 15, 2014 16:07:35 GMT -5
Laura: Is there anybody here? My registration has been pending approval forever... Maybe this board has been abandonned by the owner..
Dec 15, 2014 3:40:49 GMT -5
Fran: I think the problem with actresses such as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford was that they played SEX SYMBOLS and did woman movies. They were sexy in their day and were the main love interests in the movie. When they got older those woman type movies were dead
Jun 26, 2017 16:56:41 GMT -5
Fran: Bette Davis made very different movies from Katherine Hepburn Hepburn. Bette was sexy. So was Crawford. They made woman type movies. Hepburn was the masculine feminist. When their looks went, so did their careers. Hepburn was never that type.
Jun 26, 2017 16:57:53 GMT -5
Angela: Personally, I like Bette Davis best she was "a woman for all season" she didn't mince words she did the role without having to apologize for creativity she musters to do the work. Also, she could look different without worrying about her appearance.
Mar 14, 2019 19:54:07 GMT -5
Angela: Personally, I felt Bette Davis was the "woman for all seasons" since she used all her creativity to make her artwork. As for Katherine she seems to sound the same - her voice didn't change. Granted she was good in Shakespeare which I give credit.
Mar 14, 2019 19:56:35 GMT -5
SJS: Bette had a mostly latent tendency to ham, and she admitted it. She really appreciated a director who could get her to tone it down. She lost respect for a director who would let her get away with it. But she took chances that most actresses wouldn't.
Apr 15, 2020 14:12:32 GMT -5