Monday, May 11, 2009

Birthday Girl: Kate of Kate Hall

...for you are call'd plain Kate,
And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates...
(The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene 1)

Happy Birthday, Katharine Houghton Hepburn - 102 today, had she been even more long-lived, and of all stars, perhaps the most consistently surprising: perfectly beautiful and impossibly gawky; a great, subtle actress and a hopeless, mannered ham; a relentlessly private woman who refused to play the Hollywood game and still wound up on top; a strong-willed independent creature who subjugated herself almost masochistically to a chronic, possibly abusive, alcoholic.

In the end, who has a solider filmography, who a more glorious range of roles? Tracy Lord and Eleanor of Aquitaine; Terry Randall and Amanda Wingfield; Tess Harding and Rose Sayer. Oh, all right, I'll say it: she was yar.

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