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75 Inspiring Quotes by Katharine Hepburn

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Katharine Hepburn.

Wikipedia Summary for Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress of film, stage, and television. Hepburn's career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned more than 60 years. Known for her headstrong independence and spirited personality, she cultivated a screen persona that matched this public image, and regularly played strong-willed, sophisticated women. Her work came in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and she received four Academy Awards for Best Actress—a record for any performer. In 1999, Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute the greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema.

Raised in Connecticut by wealthy, progressive parents, Hepburn began to act while studying at Bryn Mawr College. Favorable reviews of her work on Broadway brought her to the attention of Hollywood. Her early years in film brought her international fame, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her third picture, Morning Glory (1933), but this was followed by a series of commercial failures culminating in the critically lauded but commercially unsuccessful comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938). Hepburn masterminded her own comeback, buying out her contract with RKO Radio Pictures and acquiring the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she sold on the condition that she be the star. That comedy film was a box office success and landed her a third Academy Award nomination. In the 1940s, she was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where her career focused on an alliance with Spencer Tracy, which spanned 26 years and nine movies and extended to an unacknowledged off-screen affair.

Hepburn challenged herself in the latter half of her life, as she tackled Shakespearean stage productions and a range of literary roles. She found a niche playing middle-aged spinsters, such as in The African Queen (1951), a persona the public embraced. Hepburn earned three more Oscars for her work in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981). In the 1970s, she began appearing in television films, which later became the focus of her career. She made her final screen appearance at the age of 87. After a period of inactivity and ill health, Hepburn died in 2003 at the age of 96.

Hepburn famously shunned the Hollywood publicity machine and she refused to conform to society's expectations of women. She was outspoken, assertive, and athletic, and wore trousers before they were fashionable for women. She was briefly married as a young woman but thereafter lived independently. With her unconventional lifestyle and the independent characters she brought to the screen, Hepburn epitomized the "modern woman" in the 20th-century United States, and is remembered as an important cultural figure.

red strawberry fruit on red surface

It's life isn't it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them. Time levels.

--Katharine Hepburn

yellow and white abstract painting

I can remember walking as a child. It was not customary to say you were fatigued. It was customary to complete the goal of the expedition.

--Katharine Hepburn

focused photo of a red rose

The calla lilies are in bloom again.

--Katharine Hepburn

Longer Version:

The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower--suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.


yellow and green forest during daytime

Marriage is a series of desperate arguments people feel passionately about.

--Katharine Hepburn

toddlers standing outdoors

If you're given a choice between money and sex appeal, take the money. As you get older, the money will become your sex appeal.

--Katharine Hepburn

white stars in the sky during night time

I can't say I believe in prizes. I was a whiz in the three-legged race -- that's something you CAN win.

--Katharine Hepburn

person holding green plant during daytime

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.

--Katharine Hepburn

tree frog

It's a business you go into because you're an egocentric. It's a very embarrassing profession.

--Katharine Hepburn

black pug puppy on green textile

Vitality! That's the pursuit of life, isn't it?

--Katharine Hepburn

close up photography of moon

Acting is the perfect idiot's profession.

--Katharine Hepburn

white wall paint beside white wall

I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret if you have any sense, and if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid.

--Katharine Hepburn

None

I would have been a terrible mother because I'm basically a very selfish human being. Not that that has stopped most people going off and having children.

--Katharine Hepburn

2 people riding on boat during sunset

Dressing up is a bore. At a certain age, you decorate yourself to attract the opposite sex, and at a certain age, I did that. But I'm past that age.

--Katharine Hepburn

yellow labrador retriever puppy sitting on floor

A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.

--Katharine Hepburn

forest trees photograph

It would be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack.

--Katharine Hepburn

silhouette of mountain

Children need boundaries, so they can know how far they have to go to get beyond them.

--Katharine Hepburn

person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.

--Katharine Hepburn

gray hummingbird

It's not what you start in life, it's what you finish.

--Katharine Hepburn

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I always wanted to be a movie actress. I thought it was very romantic. And it was.

--Katharine Hepburn

brown rock formation

I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear.

--Katharine Hepburn

sunset

I don't regret anything I've ever done; as long as I enjoyed it at the time.

--Katharine Hepburn

black mountain under blue sky during night time

Two of an actress's greatest assets are love and pain. A great actress, even a good actress, must have plenty of both in her life.

--Katharine Hepburn

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

Why slap them on the wrist with feather when you can belt them over the head with a sledgehammer.

--Katharine Hepburn

brown desert under sunny sky

Only the really plain people know about love -- the very fascinating ones try so hard to create an impression that they soon exhaust their talents.

--Katharine Hepburn


blue and white abstract painting

Acting is a nice childish profession -- pretending you're someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself.

--Katharine Hepburn


green mountains beside lake under blue sky during daytime

Enemies are so stimulating.

--Katharine Hepburn

white pendant lamp

My greatest strength is common sense. I'm really a standard brand -- like Campbell's tomato soup or Baker's chocolate.

--Katharine Hepburn

leafless tree

It is the ordinary woman who knows something about love; the gorgeous ones are too busy being gorgeous.

--Katharine Hepburn

white ceramic mug with coffee on brown wooden table

You sell yourself. The part that I sell is the creature. The adorable part.

--Katharine Hepburn

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

All my life, I've stayed at parties too long because I didn't know when to go.

--Katharine Hepburn

sunset dirt road

I don't fear death, it must be like a long sleep.

--Katharine Hepburn


shallow focus photography of brown parquet flooring

If you follow all of the rules, you'll miss all of the fun.

--Katharine Hepburn


fawn pug standing on textile

I don't give a damn about marriage. But I do care about honor.

--Katharine Hepburn

Arizona landscape

It is the plain women who know about love; the beautiful women are too busy being fascinating.

--Katharine Hepburn

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

Heaven to be the first one up and to eat breakfast all alone.

--Katharine Hepburn

yellow green leaf

Isn't it fun getting older?" is really a terrible fallacy. That's like saying I prefer driving an old car with a flat tire.

--Katharine Hepburn


yellow green leaf

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.

--Katharine Hepburn

close-up photography of heart shaped fairy lite on brown sand

Show me an actress who isn't a personality and I'll show you a woman who isn't a star.

--Katharine Hepburn


brown french bulldog wearing yellow shirt

The woman's position in the world today is so much harder than a man's that it makes me choke every time I hear a man complain about anything.

--Katharine Hepburn

closeup photography of wall

Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around.

--Katharine Hepburn

green leaf

I remember as a child going around with "Votes For Women" balloons. I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause.

--Katharine Hepburn

photo of pine tree

You can't change the music of your soul.

--Katharine Hepburn

light match stick

Never complain. Never explain.

--Katharine Hepburn

Arizona landscape

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don't paddle your own canoe, you don't move.

--Katharine Hepburn

yellow sunflower in bloom during daytime

If you lead a public life, people are much more on to you than you think.

--Katharine Hepburn

gray concrete floor

I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old -- or being young, for that matter.

--Katharine Hepburn

assorted books on wooden table

I find a woman's point of view much grander and finer than a man's.

--Katharine Hepburn

stars across the sky view at the desert

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get -- only with what you are expecting to give -- which is everything.

--Katharine Hepburn

gray building

I realised long ago that skirts are hopeless. Anytime I hear a man say he prefers a woman in a skirt, I say, 'Try one. Try a skirt.'

--Katharine Hepburn

Dark purple to red to orange gradient

I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I've just done what I damn well wanted to, and I've made enough money to support myself, and ain't afraid of being alone.

--Katharine Hepburn

blue sky with white clouds

To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.

--Katharine Hepburn

sunset

Who is Katharine Hepburn? It took me a long time to create that creature.

--Katharine Hepburn

grayscale photography of elephant

I could peel you like a pear and god himself would see the justice in it.

--Katharine Hepburn

silhouette photo of person holding flashlight under milk way

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.

--Katharine Hepburn

depth photography of purple petaled flowers

I think everyone is an opportunist if they have an opportunity.

--Katharine Hepburn

black pug puppy

I have loved and been in love. There's a big difference.

--Katharine Hepburn


rainbow

Don't moan, don't whine, don't blame. Just get on with it.

--Katharine Hepburn

None

Nobody owes anybody anything; it's up to each individual to set high standards for himself or herself, and to set about working hard and creating a solid future.

--Katharine Hepburn

person holding yellow petaled flower

If you obey all the rules, you'll miss all the fun.

--Katharine Hepburn

white and gray floral bed sheet

I think most of the people involved in any art always secretly wonder whether they are really there because they're good or there because they're lucky.

--Katharine Hepburn

green boat on beach during sunset

Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.

--Katharine Hepburn

purple petaled flower on gray surface

I'm a legend because I've survived over a long period of time and still seem to be master of my fate -- I'm still paddling the goddamned boat myself.

--Katharine Hepburn

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

I think the reason that very few people really fall in love with anyone is that they're not willing to pay the price.

--Katharine Hepburn

milky way wallpaper

If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.

--Katharine Hepburn

white clouds and blue sky

How wonderful are the women and men in the world who feed us. Especially those who feed us with no salary. The mothers--I thought. The wives.

--Katharine Hepburn

Hey! I miss you

To be loved is very demoralizing.

--Katharine Hepburn


body of water during daytime

I have had twenty years of perfect companionship with a man among men. He is a rock and a protection. I have never regretted it.

--Katharine Hepburn

We wish you a perfect day!