WEARING comfortable white slacks, a red sweater and tennis shoes, four-time Academy Award winner Katharine Hepburn had just finished her lunch of chicken salad and what she called “a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.”
Although she will be 86 on Nov. 8, Hepburn, her steel-gray hair pinned loosely at the back of her head, shows few signs of slowing down.
A shaking disorder that was visible in past years appears to have disappeared. She still goes to her family home in Fenwick, Conn., for long weekends, entertains friends in her New York townhouse and remains an avid reader of books as well as the countless scripts that are always being sent her way.
Her 50th film, “This Can’t Be Love,” was broadcast as the “CBS Sunday Movie” last year and “Love Affair,” starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, was also released last year.
“I don’t know what movie I’m going to do next. But then I’ve never known. I just do something that interests me,” Hepburn said, sitting in the second-floor living room of her townhouse. “Sure, I’d do a play – if it interested me.”
Hepburn said she loves movies but does not “see as many as I should.” She wants to see “Apollo 13″ starring Tom Hanks, the Oscar-winning actor who many say has the best chance of eventually tying Hepburn’s record of winning four Oscars.
“I’m lazy I guess,” she said. “I love this house and going to Fenwick. And I’m always reading things people send me.”
Looking back at her long career, Hepburn said all of her Academy Award-winning performances, beginning with “Morning Glory” in 1933 and ending with “On Golden Pond” almost 50 years later, depended on having a good script.
“Doing well in a part is not so much a matter of talent,” she went on in the clear, crackling tones that are unmistakable to almost any film-goer over the age of 12. “It’s really luck – choosing the right material for you. I was lucky enough to get material that the critics liked.”
Hepburn said that while she misses “some of the glamour” show business had in the old days, she nevertheless finds that today’s crop of actors can often be as exciting as the studio icons of yesteryear. …
This article was first published for Reuters in the St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)