Tags: Hollywood | katharine hepburn | roles | missed | famous | actresses

Katharine Hepburn: Roles She Missed That Other Actresses Made Famous

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 03:07 PM

Often called “independent” and “strong-willed,” Katharine Hepburn made a name for herself not only for her trademark trousers but also for being a headstrong leading lady in Hollywood in a career that spanned six decades. She was known for her roles in films like “Bringing Up Baby,” “The African Queen,” “The Philadelphia Story,” and “On Golden Pond.” But there were roles she missed that made other actresses famous.

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“Her prickly public image and a series of poor project choices earned her a reputation as ‘box office poison’ until ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (1940) allowed her to take control over her career as few actresses had before,” Turner Movie Classics says of Hepburn. “From then on, Hepburn carefully cultivated roles that were largely reflections of her own unique persona.” That persona included a personal affair with married actor Spencer Tracy. Hepburn and Tracy starred together in such films as “Woman of the Year” (1942) and “Adam’s Rib” (1949).

Here are three of the roles that went to other actresses:

“Gone With The Wind”
For Hepburn, this may have been the one that got away. “The role Kate had most desperately wanted when she left Hollywood had been Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind,’” author Anne Edwards wrote in the biography, “Katharine Hepburn: A Remarkable Woman.” “Almost no one except Kate thought she was right for it.” Hepburn did not get the job. Vivien Leigh did, famously.

“The Gorgeous Hussy”
Another film that went on without Hepburn was “The Gorgeous Hussy.” RKO Pictures planned to make the movie with her, but then MGM obtained the rights and Joan Crawford was chosen to play the innkeeper’s daughter.

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“The Lost Weekend”
Hepburn also lost out on “The Lost Weekend.” In the movie about a self-loathing alcoholic, Jane Wyman got the part as Helen St. James, the girlfriend. According to Hollywood’s Golden Age, Wyman was the director’s third choice for the role, behind established leading ladies Hepburn and Jean Arthur.

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Often called "independent" and "strong-willed," Katharine Hepburn made a name for herself not only for her trademark trousers but also for being a headstrong leading lady in Hollywood in a career that spanned six decades.
katharine hepburn, roles, missed, famous, actresses
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