Katharine Hepburn: The Living of My Life

Katharine Hepburn in The Sea of Grass (1947)

Interview with Katharine Hepburn
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City

I was lucky, pure and simple, lucky. I grew up in what I consider an ideal family, and I fell into other ideal families with whom I worked and played. It's what I wanted; it's what I sought; it's what I felt I deserved, but that doesn't mean much if the luck isn't there, and I had the luck. You know, you have the luck or you don't, and all I can do is be around and aware and try to be the luck for someone else. So I try to see people and raise people up.

I was also lucky in having parents who taught me that I had to answer to something higher and greater and tougher than the opinions of others. I have to be good for a director or a writer--I have to keep others going around me--but in what I'll call the real world, the walking-around world, I have a conscience, that still, small voice inside here that tells me what's right and fair and decent, and also what's a lot of bunk, and I listen to that.

I never could listen to what other people told me to do in the living of my life. I'm very ornery that way; I'll cut you off right away if you think you know better than I what I should do. Men are really annoying in this way, because men cannot imagine a greater honor in this world than to earn their attention and their opinion. How honored I must be if a man tells me how I look or how I should live! Well, I smiled a lot and beat it from those situations, and only I was the wiser. Ask me my opinion and you'll be here for days, but I'm not going to offer it, and if I want yours, I'll ask for it. But if you give it to me unsolicited, it's going to come flying right back at you.

    ©  2017 James Grissom 


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