Katharine Hepburn

On this date in 1907, Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born in Hartford, Conn., the daughter of a progressive physician and a suffragist/birth control advocate. The legendary tomboy, independent thinker and athlete graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1928 with degrees in history and philosophy. She went on to become a celebrated actress (surviving a critic’s comment that she was “box office poison”) and a four-time Oscar winner.

Her string of movies includes “Bill of Divorcement” (1932), “Christopher Strong” (1933), “Little Women” (1933), “Morning Glory” (1933), “Spitfire” (1934), “Alice Adams” (1935), “Sylvia Scarlett” (1935), “A Woman Rebels” (1936), “Stage Door” (1937), “Bringing Up Baby” (1938), “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), “Woman of the Year” (1942), “Adam’s Rib” (1949), “Pat and Mike” (1952), “Desk Set” (1957), “Suddenly, Last Summer” (1959), “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (1962), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), “The Lion in Winter” (1968) and “On Golden Pond” (1981). Perhaps her signature role was in “The African Queen” (1951).

Hepburn routinely defied Hollywood convention and wore her trademark slouchy slacks everywhere. She wrote about her freethought views in her autobiography, Me (1991), and spoke about her atheism and other unconventional views in interviews. (D. 2003)

Freedom From Religion Foundation