Saturday, August 27, 2005

Woman of the Year

"Woman of the Year" (1942) is on the Turner
Classic Movies cable channel later this afternoon
at 6:00 P.M. (EDT).
It marks the beginning of the decades-long
relationship between two incredible actors,
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
This is an excerpt from An Affair to Remember
by Christopher Anderson, William Morrow
and Company, Inc., 1997, pages 140 to 141.
"Kate met Spencer for the first time just a few days [after beginning to
negotiate with Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer about "Woman of the Year]. Unfortunately she was wearing her "trick heels" when she emerged from the side entrance to the Thalberg Building at MGM and, on the steps outside, encountered [Joseph] Mankiewicz and Tracy as they left the commissary.
"They got nearer and nearer," she recalled, "and I got more and more excited. I hope he likes me. . . ." As she got closer, Kate recalled that she was two inches taller than the five-foot-nine-inch Tracy.
"There was a long silence," she said. "I didn't know what to say." She grasped his hand and shook it, he later said, "like a stevedore."
"Sorry I've got these high heels on," Kate said, trying to break the ice. "But when we do the movie I'll be careful about what I wear."
Tracy looked at Kate with "those old lion eyes of his." Then Joe Mankiewicz spoke up. "Don't worry, Kate," Mankiewicz said. "He'll cut you down to size."
Afterward Kate rushed to Mankiewicz's office to hear what opinion the great Tracy had of her. "What did he think? What did he think?" she demanded. "He must have said something."
"Well . . ."
"What did he say?"
Mankiewicz shifted nervously in his chair. "He said, "Katharine Hepburn has dirty nails, hasn't she?"
. . .
There's hope for the rest of us if a
passionate love affair can come
from a beginning like this!

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