Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress. Known for her fierce independence and spirited personality, Hepburn 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 received four Academy Awards for Best Actress—a record for any performer. In 1999, Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute as the greatest female star in Hollywood history.
Raised in Connecticut by wealthy, progressive parents, Hepburn began to act while studying at Bryn Mawr College. After four years in the theatre, favorable reviews of her work on Broadway brought her to the attention of Hollywood. Her early years in the film industry were marked with success, including an Academy Award for her third picture, Morning Glory, but this was followed by a series of commercial failures which led her to be labeled \"box office poison\" in 1938. 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.