Written woman-to-woman: Hedda to Hepburn

Film · Language & ideas

Citing her “gaity,” “gallantry,” and, oddly enough, her “gentlemanly way of expressing” herself, this fan mail from columnist Hedda Hopper to actress Katharine Hepburn is part of a treasure trove, a just-published compendium of personal communiques from-and-to the film industry … Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking.

Basically, Hopper, consciously or not, calls out in code language Hepburn’s closeted homosexuality. Perhaps that is why Kate did not want to be her friend.

Co-authors Barbara Hall, a special-collections researcher at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library before becoming an archivist for the Art Directors Guild and Rocky Lang, the son of agent Jennings Lang, sifted through thousands of pieces of correspondence before settling on 137 letters from stars like Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Groucho Marx, as well as director William Wyler, executive Irving Thalberg and even Harry Houdini for inclusion in a coffee table book.

I look forward to hearing more from Letters from Hollywood at an upcoming book talk.

Letters from Hollywood” | Hollywood Heritage Museum aka ‘The Barn’ | Oct 27, 2 pm

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