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If you could ask Katharine Hepburn a question....


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Well of course I'm making some assumptions about Kate and this is why it relates to the 'if you could ask her one question'. I would like to ask her one as long as she would really give a truthful answer. Kate has been asked the question many times in her life, especially after Tracy died (and the relationship was discussed more openly); "were you really satisfied with your relationship with Tracy (as it was played out)". As you and others have noted Kate has basically said 'yes,, wouldn't have it any other way'. Ok, I admit I find that hard to believe. Again my reasons are romantic; I just find it hard to believe that anyone (man or women) would PERFER to have the type of 'hidden' (behind closed door), relationship Tracy and Kate had.

 

So if I could ask her one question it would be that one again; Come on, it is only just us two, so tell me how you really felt,,,,,,, you are really saying that if you could of changed things you wouldn't have wanted a more open relationship with Tracy,,,, (again NOT marriage, per se), but something as simple as being able to go out in public with him,,, have been open about your love for him,,, ????.

 

Can we at least agree that Tracy was able to get 'his way' (be married and have a mistress (and Kate is his mistress)? This is really my basic point here; The two women in his life got less than he did. Maybe I'm nuts, but I don't see how that is so hard to see.

 

Thanks for the discussion. I'm a very big fan of Kate so I'm not trying to knock her. I'm just understand a very interesting and intelligent person.

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For jamesjazzguitar:

 

Considering that Kate didn't go out in public at all, I can't imagine why you think she would have wanted a more 'open' relationship with Tracy. What do you think she would have done? Gone to the Oscars with him? Considering she didn't go out anyway, why do you think changing the status of their relationship would matter to her? During her entire life when she was involved with this or that man, she never acknowledged that she was with him. She didn't even tell RKO that she was married when she signed a contract with them. You seem to be thinking that the way she conducted her affair with Tracy was different than how she conducted the relationships she had prior to him. There was no difference.

 

If Kate is to be believed, the one person who suffered the most from the triangle of Kate, Spencer and Louise, was Spencer himself who was prone to Catholic guilts and so forth. I don't think he was having as much fun as you attribute to him.

 

I did have a thought while responding to your various points. The thing about Tracy, it seems, is that he really didn't like to live with anyone. Well before Kate, he was periodically totally estranged from Louise and frequently, living somewhere else for a lot of the time. Hooking up with Kate didn't really change that. He wasn't living with Louise and he certainly didn't live with Kate. He lived by himself which probably suited him better than anything. It was only in his final years, when he was too ill to live by himself that Kate moved in with him.

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cujas:

 

Within their industry people knew about the relationship but the general public didn't know about it until probably starting in the early 60s or maybe late 50s. And nobody knew much until Garson Kanin wrote his book which was published in 1971.

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I see that I'm not communicating well; Their relation had to be hidden from the public and was. Everyone in Hollywood knew but because of the power of the studios the media didn't report on the aware. Thus most of the public was keep in the dark at the time.

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It isn't that I feel Tracy had 'fun' but again, can't we agree that the way this' all played out was done according to the way Tracy wanted it? If that is the case than the two women in his life decided to compromise for his sake and I don't define that as independent behavior from either of them.

 

But I do understand the case you are making; That Kate was so unique and so indepedent that this 'stange' relationship with Tracy was just the type of relationship she wanted. OK, that is the million dollar question; Is that really the case? You buy into that, and I find that a little hard to believe.

 

Funny that before you mentioned 'conventional'. Kate comes off as very unconventional and if we accept that, than one can see how the Tracy relationship 'fit' her POV.

 

But in so many ways the Tracy Kate relationship was very conventional. i.e. the typical married man and mistress relationship. But if we accept Kate at her word, she wasn't lonely when Tracy wasn't around, didn't 'pine' for him and want more out of the relationship and thus she lived a very fullfilling life. Kate is one of the greatest actresses ever. So maybe she was putting on a performance when she said 'I wouldn't have it any other way' in order to save face.

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Dear James, I was alive during that time. Everyone who cared about movies knew it.The difference is that then people had discretion. The press, everyone was more respectful of people in general. If you were discrete about something you were doing that was considered anti-social and others knew about it--people didn't say anything--unless they really hated you or had an axe to grind.

 

Think about the famous lives of the Kennedys, Gable, Garbo and so many others.--People whispered and people knew about Rock Hudson too. But if a person was professional and well-liked, no one blew their cover in public. We called this public secrets. Society was more polite and manners mattered--you can call it fake, if you like.

 

Most people lived like that in the 1950's--it was only in the late 60's that society started to open up on a lot of closet secrets.

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I doubt that the arrangement was the way it was because "Tracy wanted it". It was the way it was because that's the way it evolved. Before Kate arrived on the scene, Tracy was living a life that was fairly independent from his family and sometimes outright estranged. Louise seems to have accepted that. At least, she didn't divorce him. Kate entered into the picture and Kate didn't care whether he was married or not. (Her not caring was unusual for that time and probably not what Tracy would have expect to happen.) She got what she wanted from the relationship. We kind of have to assume Tracy did too. It may not be your idea of 'normal' but it worked for years for all three of them. I doubt that it benefited anyone one of them more than the others. You need to stop thinking in terms of conventional ways of living.

 

Edited by: Gellar47 on Sep 17, 2010 11:27 PM

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I guess it all come down to if one really believes "it worked for years for all three of them". By 'works' each person in the triangle settled for something less from each other but we should assume that is just how each of them wanted it. This arangement lasted many years so it would appear that is how they wanted it.

 

You are correct that I'm viewing this from my romantic POV and that this arangement would NOT of 'worked' for me (I wouldn't of been happy being in the role of any of these 3).

 

I never really questioned this triangle until a few weeks ago when I read how Kate treated Tracy when they were making Women of the Year. TCM had a write up about that related to Summer under the stars. According to those on the set Kate was acting like a school girl in love on the set. e.g..waiting on Tracy hand and foot, rubbing his shoulders during breaks etc...

 

Once I had that view of Kate in my head I couldn't line that up with the role of Kate being the "mistress" happy to have an affair limited by Tracy's marriage. But you have made a very solid case that it all played out as she wanted it too. I really hope it did because Kate was indeed a great lady.

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So what do you think about the core of the discussion with regards to the arangement Kate and Tracy had?

 

I.e. Do you believe the arangement was just as Kate wanted it and that she wouldn't have had it any other way? OR was Kate putting up a good front to protect her ego?

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Not to beat a dead horse, forgive me Mr. Ed, but mature people accept circumstances in life as they are. Plenty of people in the world have had similar arrangements. What they did is nothing new. Gerard Depardieu had a similar arrangement with his wife, for a number of years, but he finally divorced. Jackie Kennedy's last relationship with the married Maurice Tempelsman, lasted for over 20 years and was similar to the one that Spence and Kate had. Maurice lived with Jackie, but never divorced his wife.

 

After Louise died, Kate use to brag about how happy she'd been and how Spence stayed with her for 20 years. She seemed to be very proud of it.

 

You have to realize that people are individuals and have different values and beliefs, often times from yours.

 

Edited by: cujas on Sep 18, 2010 5:02 PM

 

Edited by: cujas on Sep 18, 2010 5:04 PM

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I really don't see how my values have anything to do with this discussion. I'm NOT judging Kate's actions.

 

The only point I have here is this: do people believe Kate when she says it all played out just like she wanted it to? Again, I have a hard time believing her based on my understanding of events (e.g. her actions during the filming of Women of The Year), while most people appear to take her at her word.

 

To me she looks a lot like Hillary Clinton; Thus I would ask both Kate and Hillary simliar questions. For all I know both would say that wouldn't have it any other way.

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Let's leave a person like Hillary out of this--she's got an agenda that isn't about love.

 

Kate seemed to be perfectly happy with the set up--that's what she accepted to have what she wanted. It wasn't perfect, but it didn't seem to ruin or hamper her life.

 

When I talk about your values--what I mean is that you cannot accept that Kate or any woman could be satisfied with an arrangement like that.

 

I gave you the example of Jackie Kennedy to help you see that this sort of thing is done and works for some people.

 

Edited by: cujas on Sep 18, 2010 5:58 PM

 

Edited by: cujas on Sep 18, 2010 5:59 PM

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I have no trouble believing that a lot of women "could be satisfied with an arrangement like that", I just have trouble believing that Kate, based on all the hype about her, is one of those women. Again I see the term 'works' is used. To me the term 'works' isn't a very positive term. Ok it 'worked' but was it really what she wanted?

 

Are you saying that JK also had no regrets? That the way JFK behaved was A-OK with Jackie? These women (like Hillary), were strong women with more character than their mates, and yes, they did make it work. But yes, I do feel that an independent women (or man since my view is in NO WAY an attack on women), wouldn't of just made it 'work' but instead would of seeked something more fullfilling (OK here I am passing judgement! - I just don't see independent people accecting the role of mistress in waiting).

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I was watching a BBC documentary about Marlene Dietrich (stay with me--I do have a point ;) ) the other day. It featured clips of an interview with her daughter in which she does her usual thing about Dietrich (she always calls her mother "Dietrich") being a crap mom. Anyway, Molly Haskell came up right after and said something like, "It's very naive for us to expect these people to be good parents, spouses lovers. They were stars. That's where the majority of their energy went--up on the screen. It's what they were , not just what they did." (paraphrased because I can't remember the exact words, just the meaning)

 

Now my point is this--can we really judge anything Kate or Tracy wanted by normal standards? Movie stars aren't really normal people who happen to have a fantastical job. They are aliens. There's something different in their make up that causes them to pursue stardom. For example, I graduated with a girl who was phenominally talented. She could sing, she could dance, she could act. She was funny to boot. She was the star of all the school productions and far out-shone anything her costars did. She had "it." I am not exarggerating. I fully expected that 10 years from graduation, she'd be famous. Guess what happened? She got married to a guy in the Air Force and had a couple of kids and lives a typical American middle class existence. She may have had "it" but she was lacking that essential drive/lust/need for fame that makes a person go for it.

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Yes, I was confused about Jackie until I read your post. That for the clarity.

 

Again comments like 'and seemed blissfully happy' are at the heart of the 'if you could ask one question'; Are these public people telling the public how they really feel or not?

 

Of course there is no way to know and at the end of the day it doesn't really matter; what we have is the film legacy of a great actress.

 

I'll just close with this: Even Bogie questioned whether Kate was over playing her had when during the filming of The Afircan Queen Kate would say that everything was delightfull! Bogie laughed at that since it was anything but! But Kate being Kate in her high manner would say everything was peachy! Bogie was a great pal of hers but he didn't believe everything she said.

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I say that because her children and friends were quoted in articles. People said the one man she lived with and didn't marry made her the happiest because they had the most in common--literature and French and such.

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Yes, but Bogie also knew that Bacall was having an affair "behind" his back and Kate and Spence and Houston--his circle of friends--when he was on his deathbed. Bacall and Sinatra. Bogie and the others knew it and kept it to themselves.

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I get it. You equate "independence" with someone who only can be happy with your ideal of a romantic life. You have no basis for your belief other than a general, and widely held view, that the "other woman", in a married man's life, can't be happy in her role as the "other woman". Life isn't that simple. I absolutely believe Hepburn when she said that her life with Tracy was "bliss". I also think that she went out of her way not to describe that life in very much detail. Was it sometimes not bliss? I expect so. Not because he was married but because he was a pretty complicated guy who sometimes drank to excess. But all in all, I think she was very satisfied with her life with him.

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So you don't believe Bacall's 'spin' but you appear to believe anything Kate says? As I said before they are actors and thus trained to act. Thus I take anything they say with a grain of salt.

 

Bacall said she didn't stay with Frank because he had to have multiple women and she wasn't going to put up with that. Anyhow, this is why I like the topic of 'if you could ask one question" so we would have a chance to learn things that we will never know about for sure.

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