HOLLYWOOD star Katherine Hepburn won over Glasgow’s critics and audiences when she appeared at the King’s Theatre in May, 1952, playing the world’s wealthiest woman in George Bernard Shaw’s The Millionairess.

The Evening Times described her ‘panther-like movements, her harshness of voice and her general vitality’, while our sister newspaper The Herald praised her ‘brassy high-powered performance that owes much of its technique to her film experience’ and also paid tribute to her ‘vitality, hard polish and stridency’ in the role.

Glasgow Times:

Photographs of Ms Hepburn at the time show her looking effortlessly beautiful in Balmain dresses (the fashion house which designed her outfits for the show).

One of the Edinburgh newspapers reported: “Katharine Hepburn is a law unto herself as far as publicity is concerned. She has created a reputation for being elusive.

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“On her first British tour prior to her first appearance on the London stage in Shaw’s The Millionairess she conversed with press representatives for 10 minutes after her opening night in each town. So she did at the King’s Glasgow last night.”

Glasgow Times:

The reviewer noted that Ms Hepburn was “very bright, very vivacious in her replies to her questions, but non-committal and briskly firm when she had decided the interview was over.”

Questions about Ms Hepburn’s heritage revealed that ‘no, she has no relatives in Scotland that she knows of, though Hepburn is a Scottish name and all her family have characteristic Scottish colouring.’

“But we went over to America very early, 300 years ago,” she told the newspaper. “It’s a pleasure to play in Scotland. The audiences are so quick.”

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The reporter noted that: “Shaw himself suggested to the New York Theatre Guild 10 years ago that she should play The Millionairess” and added that while she will play a “limited run in London, she cannot tell whether she will also do it in New York.” (She did, in October 1952, at the Shubert Theatre and sadly, critics were not impressed.)

Glasgow Times:

Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, Ms Hepburn was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette. She is most famous for a string of fantastic films, including Morning Glory in 1933, for which she won her first Oscar.

Her refusal to ‘play the Hollywood game’ and pose for photos dolled up to the nines, was unconventional and cost her fans, so she returned to Broadway.

The Philadelphia Story in 1938 was a smash hit and she bought the film rights, returning to Hollywood on her own terms.

The movie version, in 1940, was a box office success and a string of hits followed, including Woman of the Year (1942), in which she was paired with Spencer Tracy, marking the start of a successful on-screen partnership which lasted for 25 years (and an off-screen romance).

She is also famous for The African Queen in 1951, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in 1967 - her last film with Tracy and the last film Tracy ever made; he died just weeks after finishing it – and The Lion in Winter in 1968.

Ms Hepburn’s role in On Golden Pond in 1981, starring with Henry Fonda, was her twelfth Oscar nomination and record fourth win.

Glasgow Times:

She retired in the mid-90s and died in 2003 at the age of 96 at her home in Connecticut.

Did you see Katharine Hepburn in Glasgow back in the 50s? Which famous faces have you spotted in the city over the decades? Share your memories and photos by emailing ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgoe G2 3QB.