I'm confused about this book; a copy I found on ebay is about 9 1/2 X 13''--that's not the typical size of a biography. Is this more like the LIFE commemorative book rather than the Berg or Kanin book?
"Life is hard. After all, it kills you."--Katharine Hepburn
I don't know much about biographers, but I think the next book about Kate should be written by a fan but one that can be objective about her life and career. They'd also need some good writing skills; if I wanted to read some poorly written piece of crap, I'd write my own biography ;D
"Life is hard. After all, it kills you."--Katharine Hepburn
Yes both Porter and Parrish have appalling writing styles and Parrish tells us really relevant information including the fact that Margaret Sullavan and Katharine were both born under the same star sign .
You need a biographer who can be objective - not someone who paints Katharine as a saint . Someone who respects her .
Judy and smith should collaborate on a book. You guys can dedicate it to all your fellow Kate fans on this forum ;D Seriously, have either of you ever considered this? If Porter and Parrish can do it, certainly you could!
To be a biographer is a really hard ask - you have to be an expert on history, film studies , family relationships and a psychologist - and that's only the start . No wonder there are so many bad biographies out there .
I would really like to be a Hepburn historian - except living in Australia might be too far away - I have met Judy - what do you think Judy of me moving to New York .
I think that Scott Eyman could write an excellent Kate biography. I've met him, I've seen him do presentations, and I've read his other bios all of which are well researched and highly readable. If you are not familiar with his work, here are a few: Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer (2005), Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford, Ernst Lubitsch:Laughter in Paradise, Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart -- this is just a sampling of his work.
In addition to being a highly respected author, he also serves as the book editor of the Palm Beach Post newspaper.
His books have gotten very good reviews. I think that he could look at Kate's life in a fair and even-handed manner. He wrote balanced articles about her after she died. I would not term him a fan but I do think he respects what she accomplished and would look at her life and her career without an agenda which, unfortunately, has been the case with many of the so-called bios that have appeared.
Much as we fans think that we could write a book about Kate, the truth is, we couldn't be objective about her. I, like Judy, have been a Kate fan since I was 12 which is 46 years ago. I own all of the films which I've seen a zillion times, read all of the books, saw her on stage three times, visited her homes, her grave, and have collected Kate-related items for all of those years. But -- the bottomline is -- deep in my heart, I know that I could not write objectively about her life because I've loved and admired and tried to emulate her all of my life. When I first became a Kate fan, I knew that she was my heroine -- the kind of woman that I wanted to be -- independent, career-oriented, childless, etc. Thus, I view Kate through a prism that would make it very difficult for me to write a book that would look at her objectively. Kate was a human being before she was anything else, and like any human being, she had failings and faults and in order to write a biography, the writer has to be capable of laying it all out for the reader while trying to maintain a balanced approach. I don't believe that a real fan can do that no matter how much they may think they can.
As one goes through life, one learns that if you don't paddle your own canoe, you don't move!
I don't think Scott Eyman is a good choice for a biography of Kate. He's been pretty hostile toward her in the past. This is from his review of Kate Remembered. I think Eyman is mostly wrong. I don't recall anyone sending Clark Gable or Humphrey Bogart to AA. ________ Any book on Katharine Hepburn inevitably circles around the quarter-century she spent with Spencer Tracy. On-screen, Tracy was a stolid, know-it-all Oberon who learned a few overdue lessons from her dancing Ariel. He stared and fumed; she smiled and moved languidly away. He kept her from getting too flighty, made her girlish, and she could calm the grumpy bear.
Off-screen, the situation was rather different. More treacle has been spilled about Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn than any couple since Abelard and Heloise, and Mr. Berg doesn't help much. This is possibly because all the treacle was either spilled or stage- managed by Hepburn, and she's still doing it, even though she's dead.
Mr. Berg sees her clearly, but only up to about arm's length. He says, correctly I think, that "[Tracy] and Katharine Hepburn experienced the ups and downs of any married couple; but in never sealing their arrangement legally, they were able to retain an element of unreality in the relationship, a false quality based on neither of them being locked in."
So far, so good. But when he asks Hepburn why nobody ever tried to get Tracy into Alcoholics Anonymous, she responds with a stuttering explanation that encompasses several different rationales, all blatantly phony: She points to Tracy's own psychological cover-up that told him that as long as his drinking didn't interfere with his work, it wasn't really a problem. She also says, "Spencer Tracy was the biggest star in the world, and I don't think he would have been anonymous there for very long. And news of this sort would have killed his career."
So she and, apparently, Mr. Berg would have us believe that Howard Strickling, the vice president in charge of publicity (or lack of it) at M.G.M., the man who could cover up news of Tracy's room-shattering destruction, brawls, liaisons of various degrees of seriousness, not to mention boorish behavior that was by no means limited to the times when he was drunk, would have been powerless to suppress the news of Tracy's going to A.A. Mr. Berg's acceptance of this manifestly lame rationale proves only that he was utterly besotted by Hepburn.
The truth is that nearly every quasi-romantic relationship that Hepburn had, Leland Hayward, Howard Hughes and John Ford as well as Tracy, was with a man who was completely unsuitable for any conventional relationship. Hepburn wanted men who were as gifted and cantankerous as she was, especially if they were tortured Irish alcoholics, but she only wanted them up to a point. Co-existing with her caretaker streak was a strong sense of self-preservation: Tracy could never push her too hard about anything because he was basically dependent on her, at first because of his guilt over his drinking, later because of the interior and exterior corrosion wrought by the drinking. Hepburn would only have left Tracy if he'd gotten divorced, and sobered up.
Likewise, Mr. Berg seems unaware of, or unwilling to acknowledge, her capacity for duplicity, one that rivaled Eve Harrington's. At the same time she was touring with Jane Eyre and sleeping with Howard Hughes, she was writing love letters to John Ford back in Hollywood that expressed abject devotion.
By putting forth Scott Eyman's name as potential biographer, I did not intend to get into a debate. I suggested his name because he has a proven track record of writing well-researched, eminently readable, highly-regarded books about major figures in the motion picture industry. My criteria did not include that he go into the project as a fan or even an admirer of Kate's but as someone who would look at all of the available information and then write a book that reflected what he found. You printed an excerpt from his review of "Kate Remembered" which appeared in the New York Observer. To be fair to the readers of this site, you should have included the entire review -- the complimentary as well as the uncompliementary. Because in that same review, he praises her dramatic gift to portray pain and social awkwardness on screen, states that she could not play a stupid character, and that there was no actress of her generation with a comparable clarity or intelligence except, perhaps, Lombard, and that Lombard's talent didn't come into focus until near the time that she died. He discusses the mutual respect that Kate and L.B. Mayer had for one another and states: "For Mayer, Hepburn was a blessed relief from the bawling, overgrown children that surrounded him, proof that one could have talent without undue termperament. Between two honorable people who understood and respected each other, a handshake was more than enough." He also stated that "she never walked out on a contract a' la Davis or Cagney because she believed in the artist's paramount responsibilty: to her own talent."
So to be fair to Eyman, the entire article should have been posted to show that while he criticizes Kate, he also balances that criticism with some high praise.
I could quote many other complimentary things Eyman has said about her in his various books and you, in turn, can seek out excerpts from other reviews where he makes unflattering comments. However, the bottom line is, he has demonstrated an ability to write about people in the motion picture industry with an attempt to give a balanced account of their lives.
I will include this comment from him in regard to his book about John Ford which is acknowledged as the best bio of Ford to date. An interviewer asked him: Did you end up liking Ford as a person? He answered: I ended up liking him a lot. I didn't start out liking him. A bit of proof that it isn't necessary for a biographer to approach a subject liking that subject.
I will leave you with this final quote in regard to Kate and John Ford. Did you reach any conclusions on the true depth of their relationship and the effect that it had on his work?
His reply: I think they were lovers. I think it had an enormous impact on his life. If you look at his films before their relationship began in 1936 on a bad film called Mary of Scotland, it's very hit or miss. You can just hear Hepburn reading him the riot act, he was wasting his time with junk scripts, when he should be living up to the best of his talent. And he started taking himself seriously as an artist. Ater Hepburn, suddenly in a space of 18 months, he makes Drums Along the Mohawk, Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, and the Long Voyage Home. That's an astonishing achievement in a short period of time. And certainly it's something he would never have attempted five years before. I think Hepburn firmed up his spine and showed him the artist he could be. And I think he always carried that relationship with him. When he made The Quiet Man, he named the heroine Mary Kate. Mary was his wife's name and of course Kate was Hepburn's name. And in the original story, her name wasn't Mary Kate.
I think that segment alone stands as a testament to Kate and the positive effect that she had on the life of one man for whom she cared. Eyman's willingness to credit her influence with bring out the best in another person says to me that he can write even-handedly about her without being a fawner.
As one goes through life, one learns that if you don't paddle your own canoe, you don't move!
I think there's no doubt that the best biography of John Ford to date is the one by Joseph McBride. McBride went to quite an effort to debunk the Kate/Ford relationship story that wasn't. Eyman's conclusion that KH and Ford were lovers is just wrong. His idea that some how Kate was Ford's artistic inspiration is equally wrong and comes off like Barbara Leaming who also didn't know what she was talking about. The whole Kate/Ford thing was a fiction invented by Orson Welles who was well known for making it up as he went along. People like Peter Bogdanovich (who later recanted) and Barbara Leaming bought into his rantings and there's still people like Eyman writing about it. The Ford relationship just wasn't that important to either Ford or Hepburn.
Oh, and by the way, the Mary Kate Story. According to Maureen O'Hara who starred in The Quiet Man, Bogdanovich, Eyman, etc. got it wrong. The name came from the story she told Ford many times about how her parents named her. One wanted to call her Mary and the other Kate and they compromised on Maureen. Go read her book. There's a lot about Ford in it that his biographers have missed.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2005 11:37:11 GMT -5 by guesttoo
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