Katharine Hepburn mocked Jane Fonda over Oscar row: ‘Won’t catch me now!’ | Films | Entertainment
Today, Katharine Hepburn stars alongside Hollywood royalty Humphrey Bogart as the pair’s The African Queen airs on BBC Two, from 2.45pm. The Academy Award winning film, directed by John Houston, tells the tale of a prim missionary who seeks solace in a gin-drinking sea captain, as she attempts to flee German forces in World War 1 Africa. Along the way, the pair are faced with a series of tough challenges as they attempt to evade their German rivals on The African Queen riverboat.
For his part in the 1951 classic, Bogart claimed an Oscar, and though Hepburn missed out on a win, she still remains the only person to have won four acting Academy Awards in their career.
As well winning in Morning Glory in 1934, Hepburn also collected Best Actress gongs for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond.
Those wins keep her ahead of record-breaking rivals Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, who have collected two Best Actress/Best Actor awards, as well as a Best Supporting Actress/Best Supporting Actress win.
Hepburn was clearly proud of her incredible record, and engaged in a friendly rivalry with anyone she felt could overtake her, including Jane Fonda.
Katharine Hepburn mocked Jane Fonda over Oscar row: ‘Won’t catch me now!’
The pair starred together on On Golden Pond
According to a 2012 Harper’s Bazaar interview, Fonda noted how Hepburn was “really competitive”, and that helped push her on.
She continued: “She really thought that I was out to win more Academy Awards than she was, and when she won for On Golden Pond I called to congratulate her, and she said, ‘You’ll never catch me now.’”
Fonda herself has two Academy Award wins, for films Klute and Coming Home, though in comparison to Streep and Nicholson hasn’t been nominated as many times.
But she noted that the rivalry between herself and Hepburn would often go further.
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Katharine Hepburn won an Oscar for the film
She continued: “She did not like me. She once told [writer] Dominick Dunne that I didn’t have a soul.”
Though the pair failed to engage in a more meaningful way, Hepburn herself noted that she would be seen as different from others when fellow actors, and the public, met her for the first time.
In a New York Times piece from 2003, when Hepburn passed away, the star said: “I strike people as peculiar in some way, although I don’t quite understand why.
“Of course, I have an angular face, an angular body, and, I suppose, an angular personality, which jabs into people.”
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Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars
A BBC obituary quoted Hepburn as adding: “I’m a personality as well as an actress.
“Show me an actress who isn’t a personality, and you’ll show me a woman who isn’t a star.”
Her acting style helped define a new generation of actresses, and was discussed by historian Richard Schickel for the Los Angeles Times in 2011.
He said: “Her best films were when she was presented as a woman on her high horse with slightly pretentious, often comically stated ideas about the world.
Filming locations in UK
“It was for men to bring her down and get her to reveal herself as quite a good gal, sporty and democratic.
“We liked the idea that aristocratic people would be humanised by democratic values—in her case, by slightly rough-necked and good-natured males.”
Hepburn’s death 19 years ago, saw tributes from across the globe posted as the world mourned one of its finest actors.
Among the tributes were then-US President George W. Bush, who said Hepburn “will be remembered as one of the nation’s artistic treasures”.
Prior to her death, Hepburn explained that she had “no fear of death” as it “must be wonderful, like a long sleep”.
She died as a result of a cardiac arrest following treatment for an aggressive tumor.
The African Queen airs from 2.45pm on BBC Two.