Katharine Hepburn (1907)
It was on this date, May 12, 1907, that the First Lady of Cinema Katharine Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut. She was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind and develop it fully. She grew up a tomboy and, after an initial period as “box-office poison,” as critic Leonard Maltin describes it, distinguished herself in strong leading-lady roles. From Morning Glory in 1933, which won her her first Oscar — to On Golden Pond in 1981, which won her her fourth Oscar, Hepburn was considered a national treasure.
“I’m an atheist, and that’s it,” said Hepburn in an interview in the October 1991 Ladies’ Home Journal. “I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.” (p.215) And, as for religion in politics, said Katharine Hepburn, “Our Constitution was not intended to be used by … any group to foist its personal religious beliefs on the rest of us.”
When Katharine Hepburn died, on 29 June 2003 at age 96, no major news outlet mentioned her Atheism.
Originally published May 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.