Katharine Hepburn

studio publicity photograph of Katharine Hepburn, c. 1941

Birth Name: Katharine Houghton Hepburn

Date of Birth: May 12, 1907

Place of Birth: Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.

Date of Death: June 29, 2003

Place of Death: Fenwick, Connecticut, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, smaller amounts of German, Welsh, and Scottish

Katharine Hepburn was an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress four times, for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981), the most acting Oscar wins in history. For her Oscar for The Lion in Winter, she tied with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl.

She was the daughter of Katharine Martha (Houghton) and Thomas Norval Hepburn. Her mother was a feminist social reformer and a leader of the U.S. suffrage movement. Katharine’s romantic partner for much of her life, and until his death, was actor Spencer Tracy.

Her niece (sister’s daughter) is actress and playwright Katharine Houghton. Katharine is married to actor and musician Ken Jenkins.

Katharine’s paternal grandfather was The Rev. Sewell S. Hepburn/Hepbron, Jr. (the son of Sewell Stavely Hepbron and Martha Priscilla Maslin). Katharine’s grandfather The Rev. Sewell was born in Missouri. Katharine’s great-grandfather Sewell was the son of John Hepbron and Mary Redgrave Stavely. Martha was the daughter of Thomas Maslin and Elizabeth Wroth.

Katharine’s paternal grandmother was Selina Lloyd Powell (the daughter of Charles Leven Powell and Selina Lloyd). Katharine’s grandmother Selina was born in Virginia. Charles was the son of Cuthbert Powell and Catherine Simms. Katharine’s great-grandmother Selina was the daughter of John Lloyd and Rebecca Janney.

Katharine’s maternal grandfather was Alfred Augustus Houghton (the son of Amory Houghton and Sophronia Mann Oakes). Alfred was born in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Amory founded the Union Glass Company, and the Corning Glass Works, now Corning Inc., one of the world’s biggest glassmakers. He was the son of Rufus Houghton and Abigail Barnard. Sophronia was the daughter of Josiah Oakes, a bridge and wharf builder, and of Charlotte Richardson.

Katharine’s maternal grandmother was Caroline “Carrie” Garlinghouse (the daughter of Leman Benton Garlinghouse and Martha Ann Spalding). Caroline was born in New York. Leman was born in Canandaigua, Ontario, New York, the son of Joseph Garlinghouse and Submit Sheldon. Martha was born in Rochester, Monroe, New York, the daughter of Erastus Spalding and Jennet Mack.

Katharine was a first cousin, once removed, of businessperson, politician, and diplomat Alanson B. Houghton, who was U.S. Ambassador to Germany, from 1922 to 1925, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, from 1925 to 1929. Alanson’s son, Amory Houghton, was the U.S. Ambassador to France, from 1957 to 1961, and national president of the Boy Scouts of America. Alanson’s grandson, Amory’s son Amo Houghton, is a Republican politician and congressperson.

Sources: Genealogies of Katharine Hepburn – http://fabpedigree.com

Lil Vacha

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13 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    These rich northeastern famillies always had mostly english ancestry, but also distant scottish, irish, welsh, and in some cases remote french, german, dutch, and italian roots too. Pretty sure if we looked far enough in her three a dutch or german name would pop up. And amazing actress and stuning woman…

    • Preservationist says:

      Preposterous! What a thing to assert, Her family wasn’t from the Northeast originally. They were from the South. There was no German or Italian ancestry (nor was there any Portuguese). These Old Guard families married “their own kind”. She and two of her sisters were lesbians.

      • passingtime85 says:

        There’s no conclusive proof about Hepburn’s sexuality. At best, she had no hard preference.

        Many many major movie figures have been described as somewhere in the middle. Bankhead, K. Hepburn, Leigh, Dietrich, Garbo, Stanwyck, Monroe, Gardner, Taylor, Crawford, Garland, Woodward, Billie Holliday, the list is seemingly endless and new additions are added every generation, even retroactively so.

        To flat out claim Hepburn was exclusively one way, well, we’re all guilty of making flawed assertions from time to time. I don’t see how her private life effects her level of attractiveness though. I think she was an attractive, vibrant, captivating person. Almost no one could watch Bringing Up Baby and not see her appeal.

        But again, as I mentioned on other profiles when the topic is broached, these sort of matters, have little to nothing to do with heritage.

  2. Snowie says:

    I was looking at her family tree, maybe she had some Dutch roots…

  3. andrew says:

    * her mother, Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn, was a feminist social reformer and a leader of the suffrage movement in the United States
    * Katharine’s maternal great-grandfather, Amory Houghton, Sr. (Amory Bigelow Houghton), founded the Union Glass Company and the Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.), one of the world’s biggest glassmakers
    * Katherine’s second cousin, Amory Houghton (1899-1981), served as United States Ambassador to France from 1957 to 1961, among other duties
    * Amory Houghton’s father, Alanson B. Houghton, was a businessman, politician, and diplomat who served as a Congressman and Ambassador
    * Amory Houghton’s son, Amo Houghton, is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of New York

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