Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn are two of the most celebrated actresses in Hollywood history. They both starred in iconic films, won multiple awards, and influenced generations of fans with their style and charisma. But are they related by blood or by name only? This article will explore the truth behind the common misconception that Audrey and Katharine Hepburn were related.
The Origin of the Hepburn Name
Audrey Hepburn was born as Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was a British banker who claimed to be a descendant of James Hepburn, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. According to the biography *Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II*, Audrey’s father sometimes used the surname Hepburn-Ruston or just Hepburn to emphasize his alleged noble ancestry.
Audrey adopted the name Hepburn as her stage name when she started acting in London in the 1940s. She later changed her legal name to Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston in 1954, when she married actor Mel Ferrer.
Katharine Hepburn was born as Katharine Houghton Hepburn in Hartford, Connecticut in 1907. Her father, Thomas Norval Hepburn, was a prominent urologist and social reformer who came from a wealthy New England family. Her mother, Katharine Martha Houghton, was a suffragist and feminist activist who belonged to the influential Houghton family of Massachusetts.
Katharine inherited her surname from her paternal grandfather, Sewell Silliman Hepburn, who was a successful businessman and politician. The origin of the Hepburn name in her family can be traced back to David Hepburn, a Scottish immigrant who settled in Connecticut in the 17th century.
The Relationship Between Audrey and Katharine Hepburn
Despite sharing the same last name and being two of the most famous actresses of their time, Audrey and Katharine Hepburn were not related to each other. They did not have any common ancestors or relatives, and their families came from different countries and backgrounds.
However, they did have some connections and interactions throughout their careers. They both worked with some of the same co-stars, such as Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and Spencer Tracy. They also admired each other’s work and achievements. According to *Fresherslive*, Katharine once said about Audrey: “She’s a lovely person. She’s more beautiful than any movie can show.”
Audrey also expressed her respect for Katharine in an interview with *People* magazine in 1988: “She’s an icon for me. I admire her enormously.” She also revealed that she once met Katharine at a party and was starstruck by her presence: “I was so nervous I couldn’t speak.”
The Legacy of Audrey and Katharine Hepburn
Audrey and Katharine Hepburn both left a lasting impact on the film industry and the world. They both won four Academy Awards each, making them two of the most awarded actresses in Oscar history. They also received numerous other honors and accolades, such as BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
They both starred in some of the most memorable films of all time, such as *Roman Holiday*, *Breakfast at Tiffany’s*, *My Fair Lady*, *The Philadelphia Story*, *The African Queen*, and *Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner*. They both influenced fashion trends and styles with their distinctive looks and personalities. They both also devoted themselves to humanitarian causes later in life. Audrey became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, while Katharine supported various environmental and women’s rights organizations.
Audrey and Katharine Hepburn may not have been related by blood, but they were certainly related by spirit. They were both trailblazers who defied conventions and expectations, and inspired millions of people with their talent, grace, and courage. They were more than just stars; they were legends..