42 Katharine Hepburn Quotes And Photos To Inspire You To Break The Rules

katharine1 98bf9

From her trademark trousers to her wild red hair, Katharine Hepburn was a classic Hollywood style icon, but it was her fiercely independent personality that made her a feminist inspiration ahead of her time. Famously stubborn and a snob, Hepburn insisted on cold showers to build character and did her own stunts in her movies because the stuntwomens' posture was not up to her standards. She lived her life according to her own rules in many ways, flouting social expectations of women's behavior and conducting a long affair with her on-screen and off-screen partner, Spencer Tracy. But romance was not the focus of Hepburn's life, as demonstrated by the fact that she won four Best Actress Oscars, more than any other performer, over a career that spanned six decades. Hepburn was fiercely private in her retirement, and died in 2003 at the age of 96 in the same house where she had grown up in Connecticut.

katharine9 dc171Hepburn's college year book photo from Bryn Mawr College. (source)


 If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn in New York City, March 2, 1955. (source)

Live dangerously. There's a lot to be said for sinning. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn dressed as a boy in Sylvia Scarlett (1935). (source)

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn on set in 1938. (source)

Enemies are so stimulating. (source)

katharine1 98bf9(source)

If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940). (source)

Everyone thought I was bold and fearless and even arrogant, but inside I was always quaking. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn in 1952. (source)

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn in Christopher Strong (1933). (source)

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything. (source)

katharine10 7c7e1Hepburn in 1930. (source)

I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex. (source)

katharine11 6caefHepburn on the set of The Philadelphia Story (1940). (source)

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. (source)

katharine22 e4594(source)

In some ways I've lived my life as a man, made my own decisions. I've been as terrified as the next person, but you've got to keep a-going; you've got to dream. (source)

katharine13 33321(source)

I realized long ago that skirts are hopeless. Anytime I hear a man say he prefers a woman in a skirt, I say: `Try one. Try a skirt.' (source)

Katharine14 cc1b0(source)

Free Download:  Great Dames!

Get inspired by some of our favorite interviews, featuring Dolly Parton, Solange, Tina Fey, Jessica Williams, Kathleen Hanna, Laverne Cox, the Broad City gals, and more! Plus, keep up with the latest from BUST.

I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old, or being young for that matter. (source)

katharine15 f5021Hepburn as a child, when she had cropped hair and often wore boys clothes. (source)


I strike people as peculiar in some way, although I don't quite understand why. Of course, I have an angular face, an angular body and, I suppose, an angular personality, which jabs into people. (source)


katharine16 f60e7Hepburn after the Great New England Hurricane of September 21, 1938. (source)

If motherhood doesn't interest you, don't do it. It didn't interest me, so I didn't do it. Anyway, I would have made a terrible parent. The first time my child didn't do what I wanted, I'd kill him. (source)

katharine17 8503a(source)

Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself. (source)

katharine18 4836cHepburn in Antony and Cleopatra (1960). (source)

Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living... After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four. (source)

hepburn19 7d408(source)

If you’re given a choice between money and sex appeal, take the money. As you get older, the money will become your sex appeal. (source)

katharine21 e5daf(source)

It'd be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack. (source)

katharine20 7a38d(source)

Life can be wildly tragic at times, and I've had my share. But whatever happens to you, you have to keep a slightly comic attitude. In the final analysis, you have got to not forget to laugh. (source)

katharine1 98bf9Hepburn in her garden. (source)


Cold sober, I find myself absolutely fascinating. (source)


More from BUST

21 Joni Mitchell Quotes And Photos To Celebrate Her 74th Birthday

31 Fierce Dolly Parton Quotes And Photos To Make Your Day

These 10 RuPaul Quotes Will Inspire You to Live Boldly

Molly McLaughin is a writer who likes pizza, politics and poetry. In that order. She tweets at @mollysgmcl. 

Support Feminist Media! During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com. Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.


If our bold, uncensored reporting on women's issues is important to you, please consider making a donation.

donate button