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Book Review: 'Knowing Hepburn and Other Curious Experiences'

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Knowing Hepburn and Other Curious Experiences

Current Status:
In Season
Katharine Hepburn, James Prideaux
Faber & Faber
Biography, Nonfiction, Movies

We gave it an A-

What becomes a legend most? Usually not a memoir of one’s later years and lesser projects. Yet dote as we may upon all the inimitable Kateishness of Katharine Hepburn — salty New England voice, tomboy mien, undying devotion to Spence — it’s bracing to visit it anew in Knowing Hepburn and Other Curious Experiences, hearing her proclaim a thankfully unnamed actress a ”lard ass,” or, upon meeting then President Bush, burst out, ”You’re wrong about abortion! Why is that?” The raconteur du jour, the not exactly well-known playwright and screenwriter James Prideaux — who, like his subject, never jibed with Hollywood — treats three television vehicles he drafted for the aging actress as the high points of his somewhat spotty career. Mercifully, he stops short of worship. In fact, his unsparing, sometimes bemused recollections are, to use guess who’s favorite adjective, quite fascinating. A-