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Katharine Hepburn


Hepburn signs in person at a 1941 stage performance of The Philadelphia Story,” the play that reignited her career

Katharine Houghton Hepburn, 19072003.  American actress.  Bold pencil signature, Katharine Hepburn, on a slip of paper.  Accompanied by original program and envelope.

This is an excellent vintage signature by the stage and screen icon.  Hepburn signed the piece in person at a performance of The Philadelphia Story at the Municipal Auditorium in Savannah, Georgia, on January 27, 1941.  The signature is accompanied by a 5⅛" x 8½" program from the performance and by the envelope that the collector used to send the items to a relative on January 29, two days after the performance.

The role of the socialite Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story, a play by Philip Barry, was Hepburn's comeback role.  After initial Hollywood success, Hepburn suffered from a series of film failures from 1934 to 1938.  Her lack of success, combined with what many thought was her arrogance, led the Independent Theater Owners of America to include her on a list of actors and actresses whom it labeled “Box Office Poison."  She left Hollywood to look for a stage project and found it in The Philadelphia Story.  The play was a huge hit.  It toured the United States, receiving positive reviews, before opening at the Schubert Theatre in New York on March 29, 1939.  It ran at the Schubert for 417 performances and was both a critical and financial success.  It then made a second American tour, during which Hepburn signed this autograph. 

Hepburn subsequently played the same role in the film version opposite Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.  It marked the turning point in her film career.  She received her first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Philadelphia Story in 1941.  In total, Hepburn received four Academy Awards for Best Actress and was nominated eight other times.  She won for Morning Glory (1934), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1968), The Lion In Winter (1969), and On Golden Pond (1982).  In her long career, she starred alongside such other film greats as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, and, in her last Academy Award winning role, Henry Fonda.

This bold pencil signature is on a 1¾" x 2¾" slip of paper that appears to be the back of a receipt form.  It is in extra fine condition.  Because of the way it it is positioned on the paper, it is perfect for framing with a portrait or movie still photo of Hepburn.




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