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Tribute to Katharine Hepburn

Aired June 30, 2003 - 21:00   ET


KATHARINE HEPBURN, ACTRESS: One should always listen closely when people say goodbye, because sometimes they're really saying farewell.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood icon, American original, dead at 96 after an extraordinary life. Including four Oscars and a legendary love affair.

Joining us from Canton, Connecticut, Katharine Hepburn's brother, Dr. Robert Hepburn. From Aspen, Colorado, actor Robert Wagner, a longtime friend of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. From Berkshire, Massachusetts, Richard Chamberlain, one of Hepburn's co- stars in the 1969 film "The Mad Woman of Chaillot." In New York, Katharine Hepburn's grand niece, and one time co-star, Schuyler Grant. Also in New York, syndicated columnist, best-selling author Liz Smith, a good friend of Katharine Hepburn. And here in L.A., Katharine Hepburn's namesake and goddaughter, Katharine Kramer. Her father was Stanley Kramer, who directed Hepburn and Tracy in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." We'll also have an exclusive with comments from Spencer Tracy's daughter, Susie. All that and others, more next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Talking about a great lady, and we've got lots of people to talk about her, and we'll get right into it. Robert Wagner, what's your main memory about Katharine Hepburn?

ROBERT WAGNER, ACTOR: Well, Larry, I mean, she was so marvelous to me, and I met her under such wonderful circumstances because I became very close with Spencer Tracy, as you know. And I met her through him and she was just always so generous and so wonderful to me. She had such a tremendous heart, and she was so -- she welcomed me every time I wanted to ever see her, she was so -- so open and so wonderful and so dear to me, and very special lady.

KING: You named your daughter after her?

WAGNER: Yes, I did. I did. And do I have time to tell you a little bit about that?

KING: I'm just making quick rounds and then we'll come back and we'll find out the whole story.

WAGNER: All right.

KING: Let's go to Schuyler Grant. What is your memory most about your grand aunt -- or your great-aunt, I guess. You're the grand niece, she's the great aunt, right?

SCHUYLER GRANT, KATHARINE HEPBURN'S GRANDNIECE: Right. Well, it's, you know, there is always this disconnect between someone who's a public persona and someone who is your great aunt, who is just a member of your family. And I guess my biggest memory is coming to the East Coast, I grew up on the West Coast, and coming to the East Coast and having her show me this world that was completely apart from anything I knew. And to be able to go out and go out and go to a Michael Jackson concert with her, who she was fascinated by, that was probably the coolest thing you could do for a 13-year-old in rural California. And then to go home and just have dinner, which is what we normally did. To know someone intimately, publicly, and personally is really a gift.

KING: Dr. Hepburn, what is a special memory you have of your sister? You are the younger brother, the retired surgeon. What pops in your mind when you think of your sister?

ROBERT HEPBURN, KATHARINE HEPBURN'S BROTHER: Well, many, many things, but perhaps in connection with her career, I remember going down to Bryn Mawr see her do a play at the college called "Woman (UNINTELLIGIBLE)." The thing that seemed to me so evident was that she was perfectly comfortable in the presence of all these people. She -- I think, really enjoyed acting. And for some reason, which God only knows what it could be, she was very happy in doing that rather than in doing something else.

KING: Kat Kramer, you were very close, in fact, you're her goddaughter.


KING: Your father was Stanley Kramer who directed her, and you're called Kat?

KRAMER: Yes, yes, actually, I am Katharine, but I chose to go by Kat, because first of all, no one ever spells Katharine the way we spell our name is the traditional English way, k-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e. No one ever gets that right, and she used to send me letters from aunt Kat, and I know she -- that Spencer used to call her Kat a lot. She was known as Kate and Katie, but I just loved the name Kat and I thought that I would keep that as my name professionally.

KING: What's your number one thing when you think of memories?

KRAMER: Full of life, amazing, a great sense of humor. You had to always be on your toes with her, because she would always make jokes and quips. You had to absolutely be ready for anything.

KING: Your father liked directing her?

KRAMER: Oh, yes, yes. Of course, they always butted heads a little, you know, because she was so strong willed.

KING: Richard Chamberlain, what was it like to work with her?

RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN, ACTOR: On "Mad Woman," she was amazing. I was just kind of in awe of her all the time. She was one of the last really great, huge personalities that our culture created some time ago. I don't think our society creates those people anymore. But she was just, she was completely professional, very available, very sweet. Really played with you, but she was so big. There was something so huge about her and grand. That's what I remember.

KING: In fact, we have a clip from that movie, I think we're showing it now. But let's go -- that's not the one we're showing. Let's go to the clip from "Mad Woman of Chaillot."


K. HEPBURN: I know why you were in such a hurry to drown yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't at all.

K. HEPBURN: That prospector wanted you to commit a horrible crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you know that?

K. HEPBURN: He stole my boa, and now he wants you to kill me.


K. HEPBURN: But they can't kill me, because I have no desire to die.


K. HEPBURN: To be alive is to be fortunate.


KING: Pretty good line. Liz Smith, I understand you spoke to her about a week ago, is that right?

LIZ SMITH, FRIEND OF KATHARINE HEPBURN: Well, I saw Ms. Hepburn a lot in the 10, 13 years that I was privileged to know her toward the end of her life. But Larry, my greatest memory of Ms. Hepburn is going out to the theater with her in New York, and she had a white car always, because she said she wanted to be able to find it at the end of the theater and get -- and make a clean break of it, she'd say. She was always talking about escaping from her clamoring fans.

But the reality was that she never made a clean break of it. She was too thoughtful of the actors in every play, and she always went back to see them. And I remember once we went to see the great Eileen Atkins (ph) in a play, and Ms. Hepburn dragged us all back, stage actor, and Ms. Atkins (ph) almost fainted upon seeing her. And Diane Reese (ph) was there too, and she almost fainted, so it was a great experience to be with her.

And when we would leave then and go on, Ms. Hepburn would go sort of into a thing where she would make fun of herself and her fame. And she would say, well, the creature did it again. She referred to her famous self as the creature. She certainly was a great creature.

KING: We're going to take a break. When we come back, we'll be joined on the phone by Susie Tracy. This is rare. She's the daughter of Spencer Tracy. I don't know that I've ever heard anyone talk with her on the air before, and then we'll come back to our panel and get a lot more stories. We'll be joined also later by Ann Miller and Jayne Meadows, and we'll be including your phone calls on this tribute to the late Katharine Hepburn, who passed away at age 96. We'll be right back.


HUMPHREY BOGART, ACTOR: I don't blame you for being scared, miss, not one little bit. Ain't no person in their right mind ain't scared of whitewater.

K. HEPBURN: I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating.

BOGART: How's that, miss?

K. HEPBURN: I have only known such excitement a few times before. A few times in my dear brother's sermons when the spirit was really upon him.

BOGART: You mean you want to go on?

K. HEPBURN: Naturally.




HEPBURN: I must say it's very special what's you all secret?

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) A great chef never divulges.

HEPBURN: There's another secret that I'm must more interested in. Your report to Mr. Issa (ph) on my department.

SPENCER TRACY, ACTOR: Don't know about that yet.

HEPBURN: Then you admit no machine can do our work?

TRACY: You and Imoric (ph) have something in common, you're a singled minded. You go on relentlessly trying to get the answer to whatever it is you are trying to get the answer to.

HEPBURN: What does she do when she can't get the answer? TRACY: Very sensitive. She becomes frustrated. Her whole magnetic circuit is out of order.

HEPBURN: Something like that is happening to me.


KING: We interrupt the panel to go to the phones. This is an invite a call to someone who has never done this before, the daughter of Spencer Tracy, Susie Tracy. Thank you very much, Susie, for joining us. We really appreciate it.

SUSIE TRACY, DAUGHTER OF SPENCER TRACY: Good evening, Larry. Thank you for asking me.

KING: How did you get to know Katharine Hepburn?

TRACY: That is a story in itself. I'm not sure I can really tell you that. I just -- I met her years before I really got to know her. I really didn't know her until after my father died. But I saw her in a play in New York and I met her on the set with my day in one of the pictures. But I didn't really get to know her until after his passing.

KING: And then you got very close?

TRACY: We were very good friends, I felt, yes. I was very fond of her and we had some wonderful times together.

KING: Did your father talk about her a lot?

TRACY: Not really. Only in a professional way. I'm doing so and so with Kate Hepburn. I'm doing so and so and so. But I think he and I had an understanding and I knew, you know, we knew what we were talking about.

KING: Respect to your mother in a light?

TRACY: Yes. Yes, indeed.

KING: That had to be at best a difficult situation for you.

TRACY: Yes, it was. It was very difficult.

KING: What kind of father was your father?

TRACY: Of course, growing up, I thought he was like any other father and this is what he did. He was an actor and so forth and I didn't think much about it. Then, as you probably all know, there came a point where he did not live in the house any more, so it became different. But I saw him every weekend and he always came to the ranch and we played tennis. It was -- those were nice times. I call them Sundays at the ranch. They were wonderful. And I just, I'm sorry now quite honestly, that I didn't get closer to him. We were close, but I guess we all have that feeling later on that we wish we'd done more. KING: And is the relationship with Katie Hepburn grow?

TRACY: Are you talking about with me?

KING: Yes.

TRACY: I think so. We were great friends. I was able to go to -- she arranged that when she did "Love Among The Ruins," you know in London, with Olivia, I was able to do some photographs on the set, which was wonderful. I spent three memorable weeks there with her and it was, that was a very special time.

KING: Did she talk about your dad a lot?

TRACY: Yes. Oh, yes. I would say so. I would say so. Spencer this and Spencer that. Yes, she did speak of him.

KING: He was her life -- I mean off screen he was her life.

TRACY: Well, we're getting into areas that I don't...

KING: Forget the romantic angle. He was a factor in her life.


KING: Way beyond romance.

TRACY: Of course, of course, of course. And when he needed taking care of, she was the one who did it. She, when he was not well any longer, she was right there all the time.

KING: What was she like as a friend?

TRACY: Well, as everyone says, she was so funny and so quick and so you know, and so quick on the trigger, quick on the uptake and so forth. She was just nice. Easy. I enjoyed her very, very much. And we somehow hit it off immediately. It was not difficult to get to know her. We somehow talked very easily from the beginning.

KING: Susie, as we continue to talking about do you want to remain with us a while?


KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with the panel, that might be nice. You hang with on the phone, we'll have an open phone and we'll be coming back to you.

TRACY: I'll hang in there then.

KING: With us on the phone is Susie Tracy -- not doing bad for a first ever interview.

All right, Robert Wagner, what is the story of the naming of the daughter? WAGNER: Well, when Spencer introduced me to Katie, it was a wonderful thrill for me to meet her and also the thing that was so extraordinary was that he trusted me. He gave so much to me, Spence did, you know, over the years. When he included me in this way with his relationship with Kate, I of course was in enamored with her. And when we had our child we named her after Kate. And they came out to the ranch to see her, they came out together and they came in and they brought this wonderful crib that they had bought, beautiful French crib at an antique store. They had wonderful taste.

They brought that and another piece that we put on the wall to put pictures in and things like that. But she said just a minute and she went back out to the car and she came in and she had made two dolls for our Kate and one of them was Katie Hepburn, Kate Hepburn and her wonderful slacks with the little belt and open shirt and a sweater tied around her neck and it looked absolutely wonderful. And Kate made it herself and she made a doll of Spence from the "Old Man In The Sea." This is the way my Katie started off in life. That's not too bad, you know.

They were, they were just so special, you know. She had such a wonderful heart and she was so warm. I mean, you know, this word is thrown around a lot, you know, but she was thought of as an icon and one of a kind and that's all very true, but that was the professional part. The other side was so, I mean, she had so much charm. You know the wonderful thing about her, Larry, I was thinking about it earlier, she had a great rhythm. A wonderful rhythm about her life. The way she moved and the way she engaged people and the way her speech pattern was and all of that. The two of them together, it was so great. Can you imagine I was thought of and trusted enough to be involved with that. So it was great for me.

KING: Kit, you were supposed to be named Spencer, right?

KRAMER: Right. That's what my father was hoping for. I was born April 4 and Spencer's birthday was April 5. So he sent my dad a note from the loser when I came out a girl. And Kate had wanted me to be named Tracy, but my mom loved the name Katharine. And said no I think that would be a perfect name.

KING: What is this outfit?

KRAMER: This is her actually christening dress. She sent it to my parents

KING: Katharine Hepburn's?

KRAMER: This is Katharine Hepburn's christening dress and she sent it to my parents and me when I was born so I have had it ever since. And she wrote in the not that you will tell her to spell it with an "a" because they almost got the name, you know, spelling it wrong.

KING: You never let go of that.

KRAMER: No. This item is incredible. KING: We'll be back with more and read a letter from Katharine Hepburn. A lot more to go with the panel. More guests coming in by phone. Your calls, if we can manage that. Don't go away.


SPENCER TRACY: We've had our little differences and I always tried to see your point of view, but this time you have my stumped, baby.

HEPBURN: You haven't tried to see my point of view. You don't even have respect for my...

SPENCER TRACY: There we go, there we go, there we go. Here we go again, the old juice. Guaranteed heart melter. A few female tears stronger than any acid, but this time they won't work. You can cry from now until the time the jury comes in and it won't make you right and it won't bring you that sunny case.

HEPBURN: Adam, please, please try to understand.


KING: We're back on this tribute to Katharine Hepburn. We got a lot of guests and we're trying to move through the swirl as best we can.

Joining us on the phone is Ann Miller, the famed actress, and entertainer who starred with Katharine Hepburn in that film "Stage Door" back in 1937. Ann, what are your memories about Katharine?

ANN MILLER, ACTRESS: Well, she was a terrific woman. I liked her so much. You know, when we did "Stage Door", every afternoon she had it in her contract that at 5:00 she would have her tea and it didn't matter whether Gregory La Cava was in the middle of a huge dramatic scene with Ginger Rogers, or what -- everything stopped and in came the tea cart and in came the cookies and all the doughnuts and the crew just loved her. Of course, all the actors did. And we'd have our tea and after all that was over, we'd go back to work.

She got along so well with me because I was only 14 when I said I was 18 and I looked like a big gangly grown up, I was trying to act grown up and she and Ginger nicknamed me "String Bean" and that's the name they called me in the movie.

Later on when I did "Sugar Babies" on Broadway with Mickey Rooney, she came back stage to see me and I was so thrilled to see her.

KING: She had that kind of effect on people. Just the fact that she would come back stage thrilled people.

MILLER: Yes. Don't you think that is kind of special in her. I just loved her.

KING: Dr. Hepburn, big sisters can sometimes be bossy about younger brothers. Was she bossy to you?

MILLER: Well, she has ...

KING: No this is for Dr. Hepburn, Ann -- Dr.

HEPBURN: No, I wouldn't say she was bossy. I do remember one occasion when she was. Which I shouldn't, perhaps, mention...

KING: Oh, go ahead.

HEPBURN: My brother Dick and I had built a wonderful cathedral in blocks and my -- we were admiring our accomplishment and Marian came by and gave the thing a kick and Marian -- we jumped on Marian for destroying our production and the door opened and Kate came out like a flash to protect her little sister and gave us a bit of a beating.

KING: Schuyler, did she work with you as an actress? Did she ever help you?

GRANT: We did a film together when I was 17, but she was actually my first official acting coach, inadvertently. When I was 14 she had been approached to do a film called "Anne of Green Gables" and she wasn't asked to play Anne and she wouldn't do it if she wasn't the star and she said, "I have a niece". And so they approached me for auditioning for it. She offered very graciously to be my acting coach and she may have been one of the best performers of all time, but she was never cut out to be a teacher.

And we would have these sessions every afternoon for an entire summer that invariably ended in an enormous fight about the method versus technique. And her teaching method was basically to give me line readings, and which I was supposed to repeat with New England accent and I, you know, I would say, look at Spencer. Spencer was such a naturalistic actor and she would argue that Spencer was brilliant and anyone else who is mumbling and fudging around trying to be naturalistic just looks like a mutt, but if I wanted to look like a mutt I, I could join them.

So that was the end of my acting lessons. We did finally work together three years later. She -- she knew all my lines before I did. But she was very, very gracious on the set. She was actually wonderful to work with.

KING: Liz, was she easy to be around or did she not bear fools too well?

SMITH: I don't think she put up with fools gladly, but I believe that at the time I met her she was more willing to listen than maybe in her earlier years. I think she just sat back and thought what fools we mortals be.

Larry, can I just say one really important thing about Ms. Hepburn. When she was named the No. 1 female movie star by the AFI only a few years ago she was told this and she said, but what number is Spencer? And then they told her Spencer had been named number eight and she didn't like that. She said Spencer should have been No. 1. But I think the great thing about Ms. Hepburn that -- in spite of her fabulous acting career, almost unparalleled on the screen, I mean, four Oscars and all of that, she became something else to Americans.

I mean, she became the role model of all role models. She was the forerunner of women realizing they could be liberated and independent. This is no small thing. And she had many, many young people that she helped, Schuyler being one, but I can think a lot of them. Vanlentina Prote (ph) who became a director. Sally Lepetis (ph) who is now in television director and Cynthia McFadden (ph), who you know is with ABC television. So she is a role model to women.

KING: Let me get a break and come back. We'll reintroduce our entire panel. And talk again with Ann Miller. Thank you for joining us, we appreciate your comments.

We'll also be hearing from Jayne Meadows, who knew Katherine Hepburn. Have some more questions for Susie Tracy on the phone. We'll be right back, don't go away.


K. HEPBURN: How are you, dear? Oh fine. No, honestly, much better, in fact. What? Well, tell you the truth, Karl, you did such a long trip and all and you know how I get when you -- ouch -- oh nothing really. He wants come to the tournament tell him not to will you? He won't listen to me.




K. HEPBURN: I have to say it, living with you has been an adventure any women would relish for the rest of time. I look at you with your burned out face and your big belly and your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and your shining eye. But I have to say, you're a credit to the whole male sex and I'm proud to have you for my friend.

JOHN WAYNE, ACTOR: I'll be damned if she didn't get the last word in again.


KING: Tribute to the late Katharine Hepburn. In Canton, Connecticut, Dr. Robert Hepburn, retired surgeon, Kate's younger brother. In Aspen, Colorado, Robert Wagner, we all know him lovingly as R.J., good friend of Katharine and Spencer Tracy. Did two films with Tracy, "Broken Lance" and "The Mountain." In Berkshire, Massachusetts is Richard Chamberlain, one of my favorite people, co- starred with Katharine Hepburn in the 1969 film "The Mad Woman of Chaillot," author of the "New York Times" best-selling autobiography, "Shattered Love: A Memoir." In New York is Schuyler Grant, Katharine Hepburn's grand niece. She co-starred with her great aunt or grand aunt in the 1988 TV Movie "Laura Lansing Slept Here." In New York is Liz Smith, easily the best known columnist in America, friend of Katharine, best-selling author, as well. And here in Los Angeles is Katharine Kramer. They call her Kat, or Kit, her namesake and only goddaughter, the daughter of filmmaker Stanley Kramer, who directed Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Spencer's last movie, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and Kate has a letter from Katharine Hepburn, which you're going to read as she would say it. Right?

KRAMER: Yes, this is the way she would have read it, and this is one of many letters that it's -- after an article that was done on a one-woman show that I did here in L.A.

"Dear K.K.: What a good article. I must say it makes you sound fascinating, and I'm glad that everything is going so well for you. Don't worry about the "E" instead of the "A," you'll face it for the rest of your life.

K. Hepburn."

KING: That was she, right?


KING: Was she demanding, Richard?

CHAMBERLAIN: Well, yes, in certain ways, but -- playing that clip from "Mad Woman of Chaillot" earlier reminded me of an event. Before we filmed it, they were lighting, and I had to -- I was lying on the bench with my head in Kate's lap, and she became very fascinated by my hair. She started fooling around with my hair, and it had been streaked blond for the part, and she wanted to know how it was done and everything, and then she uncovered my ear and she said, "uh-oh," she said, "little pig ears close to your head just like mine." She said "that means you're very, very selfish, just like me."

KING: Susie, what are your memories of your friend, Katharine Hepburn? Susie Tracy, Spencer's daughter, what comes to mind?

TRACY: Well, if you'll bear with me for just for a minute I'll tell you I think a very funny story not many people know, and it's so typical somehow for -- again, while I was in London for "The Love Among the Ruins" film, she and Phyllis Willborn (ph), who was her longtime secretary, and I, went -- left the set after the day's work, and we went to a nursery. Apparently Kate wanted to get a potted plant of some kind.

And while we were there, a gentleman came up to Kate and said, "excuse me, do you have any gooseberries?" And Kate just looked at him and said, "well, no, I don't know, but I'll ask." And so she disappeared and came back and said, "no, I'm sorry, we have no gooseberries today." And he said, "thank you very much" and left, which I thought was priceless, because most people would have said, probably well, I'm sorry, I don't work here. You know? But she just took over and never missed a beat, and just did the whole thing, while Phyllis (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all we could do to keep from getting hysterical inside. It was very funny, a very funny moment.

KING: Dr. Hepburn, when did you last speak to your sister?

HEPBURN: About last Saturday afternoon.

KING: How was she doing then? She always had an alert mind and everything, right? She never lost anything there.

HEPBURN: That's true. On the other hand, she was approaching the final minutes, more or less, so that she was pretty much out of it. And it kind of astonished me, because it was hard to believe that this person with such a remarkably active and bright mind could actually be passing on.

KING: Did she die peacefully, doctor?

HEPBURN: She died very peacefully. She was comfortable. And I was delighted that she was comfortable and not in pain. And, you know, Larry, there's one story I would love to tell about Kate.

KING: Go ahead.

HEPBURN: If it's all right. When Nicholas (ph), my brother, were little boys and sick together with whatever, Kate would come in, and she had a box that was floored with some green wood with slits in it. And Kate had made these figures of characters, and she would play a play, moving all the characters around and then speaking their parts in different voices. And I think that that was a remarkable ability to me, in retrospect. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I think that should be mentioned.

KING: You're not kidding. Did Spence talk about her a lot? You were friendly, you were very close to Spence, did he talk about Kate Hepburn a lot?

WAGNER: Yes, he did. And when -- after Spence left us, I would, whenever I would call and want to see and be able to see Kate, I'd call Phyllis (ph) and she'd work it out, and she would like to talk about Spence a great deal. They both liked to talk about each other. They had the most wonderful love and caring for each other. And to be near that was, indeed, a great privilege, because they had great wit with each other and great humor, and they just fed off of each other.

KING: They were soul mates, right?

WAGNER: Oh, absolutely, absolutely, there is no question about that.

KING: We'll be back with more and include some phone calls for our group on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Joining us by phone now another old friend Jayne Meadows. Actress, entertainer, widow of the late Steve Allen.

She was in 1946 "Undercurrent" with Katharine Hepburn.

What are your memories with Kate Hepburn, Jane?

JAYNE MEADOWS, CO-STARRED WITH KATHARINE HEPBURN: I have been enjoying this show so much. Class, that's a word that hasn't been mentioned on the show enough. Class. She was class personified. She also had such confidence and I had been brought from Broadway I was only 20 years old. I think by now knowing her age she was in her late 30s, probably about 39 but she was so gorgeous and so young. And the plot of the movie was that Robert Taylor was in love with me and I wouldn't marry him so he met this girl that reminded him of me and he falls in love and marries her. Well, of course, you know, now when I think of it, it was ridiculous.

But we had to make a makeup test together to see, you know, how much we really looked like and Vincent Minnelli said to me, I was shaking from head to toe I was so in awe of her. And he said Jayne, smile dear, we want to see what you look like when you smile. And I was petrified and I said, no, they told me not to smile in makeup because my teeth are so white. When I smile I look like I have a mouth full of piano keys. And Katharine said to me, pooh, they said when I smiled I look like a horse and I made it pay for years. Her humor, her confidence and I must say I don't know who a little while ago brought up the subject. I think you said, was she bossy and everyone said no, she was. She was bossy on the set, but she was always right. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

KING: That was quite a statement, always right.

MEADOWS: She was always right.

KING: Jayne, thanks so much.

MEADOWS: Larry, I never miss you.

KING: Thank you, Jayne.

MEADOWS: I never miss you, darling. Bye bye.

Thanks for contributing.

Let's take a call, Tampa, Florida.

CALLER: Yes, Larry.

My question for you panel is, my own mother is my own inspiration, how much influence do you think Katharine Hepburn mother had on her life considering what a fighter she was for women's right in the day that Katharine Hepburn's mother was?

KING: What about your mom, Dr. Hepburn?

HEPBURN: Mother was not like Kate. But I think Kate got her passion, her strong feelings from approval of what here mother was doing. Mother was very quiet, a fine speaker, but she did not raise her voice. She would listen to you, she was a great listener. But when you came away from mother you were convinced of her point of view and her ideas. KING: And that obviously went down -- Liz Smith, you were right about Kate Hepburn being a forerunner of many things other than drama, right.

SMITH: I think she is a leading role model for women, for independence, for showing that you want to use common sense in your life. One of the funniest things Kate ever did was, she was driving along Madison Avenue with a friend and saw all of these sort of badly dressed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people kept pouring out of the Gap. And she said, oh, dear, to think I am to blame for that. She had a great sense of humor. But she was bossy and she did tell people what she thought. Once I went to see her and I was wearing some red cowboy boots and she said, those are the ugliest things. I can't do her justice, but she said they were the ugliest things she had ever seen.

KING: What was her influence on you, Kat?

KRAMER: So much. Everything I do in my life, she is just such a great influence. But I do remember when I was 3-years-old before I moved to Seattle, I guess I was as feisty as she was and still carry that tradition. She supposedly came to visit and said that she wanted to see her baby, that's what she called me.

I remember answering the door and my parents since reminded me of this story, but I do remember it and I said, who are you, what do you want, what's your name? And She said, I'm Kate. I said, I am, too! And I slammed the door in her face.

KING: Madison, Wisconsin, hello.

CALLER: Great show, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: My question for Robert Wagner.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: What can you tell me about Katharine Hepburn's fondest memory of Spencer Tracy?

WAGNER: I would think that her memories of Spence would have -- she has such a joy for him. She loved him and she loved what he did, as an actor professionally, but as a person. And he was like, you know a big bear to her. And she was so, just loving and so in to him. And she just, she could anticipate what he was going to do and he loved it. He absolutely loved it. He kind of put her on a little bit, you know, and it was great. It was just fabulous.

KING: Susie, you mention how you wish you would have been closer to your father.

What is your number one memory of your dad?

TRACY: My goodness, Larry, there are so many I couldn't possibly. KING: What strikes you most when you think of your father, you think what?

TRACY: I think of his sense of humor the wonderful stories. He was the greatest storyteller I have ever heard. Just, we've used the word warmth. I don't know, we had -- even though I didn't know him as well as I said I would like, we had a wonderful repertoire and I was very grateful for that. But as I said, I wish it could have been more.

KING: Yes.

We'll be back with our many moments and phone calls, we'll keep the panel together.

Don't go away.


HEPBURN: She's a surprise too. You and her, what a surprise. Well, you've certainly got yourself a handful, haven't you?

ANNETTE BENING, ACTOR: Actually, no, I don't.

HEPBURN: You mean, he's got the handful? Good. Very good. It's about time. I like that.

WARREN BEATTY, ACTOR: No, but you got the wrong girl.

HEPBURN: I must say you're a knockout in person and you look so much younger. Did they make you up on television?

BEATTY: Jeannie, this is not Lynn (ph), this is Terry McKay. We were on a plane together and we had to land on the islands.

HEPBURN: Why were you on a plane together?

BEATTY: We were going to Australia.

BENING: We're just friends.

BEATTY: This isn't Lynn.

HEPBURN: Friends. This is not the girl your going to marry.?



BEATTY: We have to back on the boat by 5:00.

HEPBURN: It's nice to meet you miss.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Getting another call in from Dalton, Georgia. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for with taking my call and hello to your guests. Ms. Hepburn was a wonderful actress and so many people admired her. I am just curious besides, Spencer, her mother, who we've already heard about, was there someone in the acting field that she looked up to or admired? Someone perhaps that mentored her or someone who just --

KING: Great question. Schuyler, do you know who your Grand Aunt -- your Great Aunt liked professionally?

GRANT: Spencer. Yes. That's the one answer.

KING: That's it? She never talked about any other actors? or female actors or no -- Kate?

KRAMER: Spence, that was it. For her, that was the role model. Schuyler's right about that, yes.

KING: To have so much -- oh, What did you say, Dr. Hepburn?

HEPBURN: Barrymore. She liked Barrymore. She said he was fascinating.

KING: What did you say, Liz?

SMITH: I said she was in her first picture with John Barrymore, wasn't she?

KING: That is right, but, mind you, it was her first picture and possibly she was affected by that, but she was tremendously impressed with his intensity and feeling.

KING: Who did Spencer look up to R.J.?

WAGNER: Well, I think that...

KING: If you say Kate I'm going to faint here because this sounds like two people involved totally on and off with each other.

WAGNER: ...I think he had great admiration for Laurence Olivier. He had admiration for people who got out of their way of their work. He had that great line, you know. Learn your lines and stay out of the way of the furniture and he had great admiration for people who were professionals and I think that he liked, he liked Jimmy Cagney very much. He had great a admiration for actors. He loved acting and the people that were in it and that could produce and create moments of great reality.

KING: Kat, you got your godmother to do her last movie, right?

KRAMER: Yes, yes...

KING: With Warren Beatty. KRAMER: ...and Annette, right "Love Affair". I visited Warren on the set and he mentioned that -- and I heard that he was trying to get her for that role. So I got on the phone and I said, you know, you have to take this seriously because I know she was so reluctant even though she really wanted the work. She was always so reluctant to read a script or listen to whatever anyone had to say. And I said, you know, Warren Beatty is a master and you got to watch "Reds" and "Heaven Can Wait" and "Bonnie and Clyde" and she was going, like who? You know, like trying to pretend, I knew she knew who it was and then I would call Warren and say get on the phone. Call her now. Send flowers, send a script and so when she did finally come out here to do it we all had had dinner and then I brought my dad to see her and got to watch them have real long conversations. They hadn't seen each other in a long time. So that's a very big memory that I have.

KING: What are the historians going to say about her, Liz?

SMITH: Well, I hope they're going to say what I have already said. Boy, she opened the door for women's liberation in ways nobody else did. No actor, certainly. And, you know, it's interesting what we're talking about her devotion to Spencer which was unquestioned, but in the end of her life, she had a lot of fun sort of fomenting the war between men and women. You know, she would say things like -- that men and women should live next door to each other, but not with each other. She had wonderful, wonderful things to say about sex and marriage and divorce. It was like being in a finishing school to have dinner with her.

KING: Dr. Hepburn, how is your health?

HEPBURN: Well, I'm 90 now and my health is, to me, rather remarkably good. But, you know...

KING: I'll take it. We only have 30 seconds left. I want to thank everybody for participating. We really appreciate, I know how much you appreciated her and we appreciate you doing this. And Susie Tracy, on the phone, thank you again.

TRACY: Thank you for asking me.

KING: Suzie Tracy the daughter of Spencer Tracy in Canton, Connecticut. We heard from Dr. Robert Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn's younger brother. In Aspen Colorado, Robert Wagner, good friend of both. Richard Chamberlain who co-starred with Kate Hepburn, he's in Burkshire, Massachusetts. Schuyler Grant, her great niece, Liz Smith, the friend of Katharine, the syndicated columnist and best selling author. And, of course, Kat Kramer, the daughter of the late Stanley Kramer.

I'll be back in a moment to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night we revisit the story of Roswell, New Mexico. UFOs, and the people who saw them. We don't need a UFO to connect with Aaron Brown, he is a grounded man.


KING: He is of the Earth, yes. Aaron Brown and NEWSNIGHT -- and I like the tie, is next.


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