“Write a letter to your favorite dead star. What did you always want to tell them? How did they change your life? What’s your favorite thing about them? How did they impact the world and what legacies did they leave? Write about anything you like, as long as it’s addressed to your favorite dead star. Pretend they can hear you: It’s your chance!”
Dear Katharine Hepburn,
Just want to say thank you for what you’ve taught me. Although we didn’t properly meet until after your passing in 2003, sometimes I feel like I know you better than my oldest friends. I probably spend more time with you on average than with any other single person. That would be sad, if you weren’t such an awesome dame.
I had been going through a really rough time in my life when I first read your autobiography (Me: Stories of My Life). I had just returned from a abroad to England and I was really missing it. But reading your book, written in that brusque, straightforward, Yankee speak that is so distinctly Hepburn, I was swept away by your infectious lust for life. To be honest, the stories about your parents interested me the most, especially your mother – what a fascinating woman she must have been!
Each of your films has taught me something different. From Jo in LITTLE WOMEN (1934) I learned how to roll with the punches life throws at us. Susan Vance in BRINGING UP BABY (1938) showed me how to live life to the fullest with her happy-go-lucky attitude. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) taught me not to take myself too seriously. I learned how to stand up for what I believe in in ADAM’S RIB (1949). Your Bunny Watson in DESK SET (1957) was exactly the type of intelligent female businesswoman I aspire to be. From ON GOLDEN POND (1981) I learned how far love and forgiveness can go in maintaining a harmonious family.
Your pragmatic attitude when writing or being interviewed about your career has given me a lot of sound advice as I embark on my own endeavours. When you told Dick Cavett that you had been fired from your first job because you were simply not very good, it was easier for me to admit that I wasn’t a very good secretary, but that that was okay because I could leave that job and do something else. I have always tended to be one of those people who tries to please everybody else, but you once said, “If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” If I remember correctly, this might actually be one of your mother’s gems, and she couldn’t be more right. The other quote that has really helped me is when you spoke about regret:
“I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do you regret, if you have any sense. And if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.”
So, Miss Hepburn, thank you for teaching me that hard work pays off but that you don’t have to beat yourself up over everything. Thanks for letting me know that it is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. I am also indebted to you for the support your energetic, independent, intelligent characters give to me and other young women. I can honestly say that I am pleased to “know” you and proud to represent you in my writing and scholarship.