The Hollywood Queen - My Tribute to an Icon
by Emma Redmer

I'm not sure how to go about this. I grew up admiring Katharine Hepburn. In a household full of strong women, she was the ultimate icon - a tough, airy female who played with the biggest boys in Tinsel Town, and won the heart and respect of one of them. She was one of the Hollywood stars of the 30s and 40s that Mom talked about as if she knew her when I was a kid. It was probably only natural that she was among the first stars I read eagerly about when I became an old movie fan during my pre-teen years.

After seeing (and loving) The African Queen, I read her book about the filming of that movie and enjoyed it. I rented (and later, recorded) The Philadelphia Story, got three of the Hepburn/Tracy romances for Christmas one year (and that was a very good Christmas), and recieved The African Queen as a birthday present. (I'm still working on getting the hilarious screwball farce Bringing Up Baby.) My stepfather has Rooster Cogburn...and the Lady, and I remember watching On Golden Pond with Mom when I was very little.

"Miss Kate," as she was known to my sisters and me, was the ultimate in womanhood, what every woman should be - independant (but with a special man in her life), living on her own terms and in her own way, feminine without being frilly, tough without be crude. She went her own way and did her own thing, long before this was the norm for most women. She worked with an astonishing array of male co-stars, from John Barrymore to Bob Hope to Spencer Tracy to Nick Nolte. It was Spencer she clicked with, though, and even though we knew they never married, I always thought their relationship was all the better for it - the ultimate in warm companionship. I don't think she ever stopped loving him.

I saw a cartoon on the cover of a local shopping weekly that had an angel in heaven telling Spencer Tracy "Guess who's coming for dinner?" I hope he set another plate...and Miss Kate, of course, would tell him to let her do it.

You'll be missed here, Miss Kate...but I'll bet Spencer missed you, too.

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