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Katharine Hepburn (1907 -- 2003)

Front pages the world over mourned the death of Katharine Hepburn, aged 96, at the end of June 2003. Born into a wealthy New England family in 1907, her mother was a leading suffragette, and Katharine in turn was feisty, independent and strong-voiced.

She regularly wore trousers before it became fashionable for women. Katharine began acting on Broadway and was spotted by the then major studio, RKO, who offered her a film contract.

Her screen debut, in RKO's A Bill of Divorcement (1932) opposite John Barrymore, was well received, and she won the first of her unprecedented four Oscars® in only her third film, Morning Glory (1933), in which she played a fresh young actress determined to succeed in New York. She won three further Academy Awards®, for Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) with Spencer Tracy, The Lion in Winter (1968) and On Golden Pond (1981) alongside Henry and Jane Fonda.

She made nine films with Tracy, the greatest love of her life; they remained close for more than 25 years until he died just after completing Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

She starred alongside other members of Hollywood's royalty, including Cary Grant and James Stewart in the witty comedy, The Philadelphia Story (1940), Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951), and John Wayne in Rooster Cogburn (1975). Having suffered ill health in her later years, she passed away at home in Connecticut, surrounded by family members.