On this day in 1907, Katharine Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut. The daughter of New England intellectuals who stressed rigorous exercise and independent thinking, Hepburn studied at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and went on to become a stage actress.Her success onstage led to a movie contract and almost instant success. Her first movie, A Bill of Divorcement (1932) with John Barrymore, was a hit. She went on to win three Oscars, for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), and The Lion in Winter (1968).
Hepburn’s fierce independence often brought her into conflict with studio executives, who generally deferred to her demands, which gave her unusual power for an actress during the studio era. In 1942, she played a political journalist who falls in love with a sportswriter, played by Spencer Tracy, in Woman of the Year. Tracy and Hepburn actually did fall in love, but Tracy, a devout Catholic, was unwilling to divorce his wife. Tracy and Hepburn’s love affair continued for 25 years, until his death. Tracy was gravely ill during the last five years of his life, and Hepburn took time out from her career to nurse him. She continued to make screen appearances into the 1990s.

(With thanks to History.com)