Katharine the Great: A lifetime of secrets … revealed
by Darwin Porter
Blood Moon Productions. 568 pages, $16.95 (paper)
THE BARE BONES of Katharine Hepburn’s life are well known: born in Connecticut into a well-connected family, brilliant career in the movies, had a long-term affair with Spencer Tracy, reclusive dotage before dying in 2003 at the age of 96. What we don’t know much about, except as rumor and speculation, are the details of her putatively lesbian lifestyle.
But along comes Darwin Porter with a tome of 568 pages that covers only the first 43 years of Hepburn’s life. The book, while fascinating reading, addictive really, is mostly based on unsubstantiated gossip. It barely touches on the filmmaking aspects of Hepburn’s life, focusing instead on her sex life and her many Hollywood and New York friends and lovers. The list of men and women that Hepburn supposedly bedded is enormous; and the list of men who were supposedly bisexual is almost as long.