- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: GP Putnam And Sons; 1st Edition edition (July 11 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399151648
- ISBN-13: 978-0399151644
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3.4 x 22.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 612 g
- Average Customer Review: 95 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #887,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Kate Remembered Hardcover – Jul 1 2003
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Published a mere 13 days after the death of Katharine Hepburn, Kate Remembered is best appreciated as a valentine of devoted friendship. It's a moving study of mutual trust and admiration between Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg and legendary Hollywood icon Hepburn, who'd established an instant rapport in 1983, beginning a 20-year conversation that blossomed into this enchanting "biographical memoir." As a casual but authoritative survey of Hepburn's career, Berg's book offers little new information to anyone who's read previous Hepburn biographies or Me: Stories of My Life, Hepburn's bestselling 1991 memoir. But the duality of Berg's title reinforces his purpose: "More than my remembrances," writes Berg in his author's note, "this book intends to convey hers." As such, Kate Remembered offers a rare, unvarnished portrait of one of the 20th century's most influential women, achieving a personal intimacy while making the reader feel welcomed in Hepburn's private world of privilege.
Although Berg (the acclaimed biographer of legendary editor Max Perkins, producer/mogul Samuel Goldwyn, and aviator Charles Lindbergh) had written all but the final paragraphs by 2001, Hepburn insisted this book remain unpublished until after her death, which came, in quiet dignity at age 96, on June 29, 2003. Given the book's pre-publication secrecy, it's hardly tabloid-worthy, serving instead to correct or clarify details from Hepburn's glory days--especially her long-term affair with Spencer Tracy--while offering choice bits of Hollywood gossip, Hepburn's frequently scathing assessments of other actors, and amusing encounters with such luminaries as Michael Jackson and Warren Beatty (both of whom appear as mock suitors with selfish motivations). It's a brisk read but a substantial one, richly emotional and as dignified as Hepburn herself, whose faults and foibles make her even more appealing than her beloved public persona. --Jeff Shannon
From Publishers Weekly
Even those who've read many Hepburn biographies will find Berg's immersion in the actor's world engrossing, full of crisply-voiced takes on old Hollywood and intimate looks at her everyday life. As a longtime friend and ardent fan, Berg (Lindbergh; Max Perkins; etc.) does not attempt an objective biography; instead, he aims to convey Hepburn's thoughts and memories. Framed by Berg and Hepburn's 20-year friendship, the book charts the inescapable subjects of Hepburn's life, such as her romance with Spencer Tracy and her assessment of her own performances. She considered Tracy the greatest American screen actor and her last years with him (in the 1960s) the happiest of her life. Among her movies, she spoke warmly of her films with George Cukor. As to Hepburn's sexual orientation, Berg notes that in the 1930s she lived with actress Laura Harding and decades later was rumored to have exceptionally close relations with a woman, but Hepburn reported nothing. Most interesting is Berg's depiction of Hepburn's early acting days: how she moved from Broadway to Hollywood, negotiated an outsized salary, and, after becoming box-office poison, fought her way back with The Philadelphia Story. Throughout those years, she was befriended personally and professionally by her husband Ludlow Ogden Smith and by industrialist Howard Hughes. Berg is true to his subject and lets her voice come through in every quote, whether she's pooh-poohing him for thinking the 50-ish-degree water near her Connecticut house is cold ("Only for the first few seconds. And then you're numb") or explaining why she never tried to marry Spencer Tracy: "I never wanted to marry Spencer Tracy." Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Scott Berg, who had long personal friendship with Hepburn, does an excellent job in providing a behind the scenes glimpse into her life, what made her tick, and possibly, why she has been so attractive to so many. "Kate Remembered" is a well-written, fast-paced biography. This is a biography written with the reader in mind.
Berg describes the source of her fierce independence and her moves from stage to movies and later to TV. He also gives us a glimpse of some of the biggest names in Hollywood during her era, and the role Louis Mayer and Sam Goldwyn played in shaping their careers. He spares no details of her relationships with George Stevens, Cary Grant, Howard Hughes, Leland Hayward, and, of course, Spencer Tracy.
Learn about her views of Sir Laurence Olivier (a "small" man), John Wayne, Timothy Dalton, Peter O'Toole, and Bob Hope (a big egomaniac), Warren Beatty (vanity), Michael Jackson (a ten year old boy in 25 year old body), and her favorite movies.
While Hepburn stood alone with her fierce independence, beauty, and brains, Berg shows us that this hardly defined the feisty woman from Connecticut. She was a woman "with attitude" not caught up with Hollywood, a woman who was grounded, a woman who never developed a sense of entitlement, and, yet, a woman who had few friends as she got older.
Berg goes into great detail about why Tracy was the event in her life that taught her how to love rather than seeking to be loved; why Judd Harris tired to destroy her after she resurrected her career; why she felt she could never attend the Academy Awards; and how "The Philadelphia Story," which saved her career, was created and produced.
Some of the book's priceless quotes include:
Her response after Sean Penn punched out a photographer... "Why wouldn't someone who pays to see your picture in the movies, not want to take your picture?"
On her profession..."Actors and actresses are prostitutes selling themselves for our entertainment."
On having children... She never wanted to have to make the choice between giving a scheduled performance or staying home to care for a sick screaming child.
"Life, it is not easy. Life is tough for everyone, most become its victim."
She was the keeper of her own flame, and while she maintained a starry distance, she always seemed like our favorite aunt. And Berg's book tells us why, she was our favorite aunt!
We are fortunate for her enduring relationship with Scott Berg that made this book possible.
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