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Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an American actress who was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years. She appeared in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and she received a record (for any gender) four Academy Awards for Lead Acting Performances, plus eight further nominations. In 1999, Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She was known for her fierce independence and spirited personality. Raised in Connecticut by wealthy, progressive parents, Hepburn began to act while studying at Bryn Mawr College. Favorable reviews of her work on Broadway brought her to the attention of Hollywood. Her early years in film were marked with success, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her third picture, Morning Glory (1933), but this was followed by a series of commercial failures culminating in the critically lauded but commercially unsuccessful comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938), a pairing with Cary Grant. Hepburn masterminded her own comeback, buying out her contract with RKO Radio Pictures and acquiring the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she sold on the condition that she be the star. That comedy film, again co-starring Cary Grant, was a box office success and landed her a third Academy Award nomination, plus won her other co-star, James Stewart, his only Academy Award. Both movies are now considered among the greatest comedy films.

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