In junior high, after seeing an interview with Katharine Hepburn on TV, and for reasons unknown, Alicia and I took up the odd habit of trying to imitate her voice. Why we found this so hilarious and so fascinating I can't remember, though I do know that we were spectacularly bad at it, our main tactic being speaking as if we had mouthfuls of pebbles or severe throat ailments.
To seventh graders, that may have been what Hepburn sounded like (at least, an older Hepburn), but of course we didn't have the half of it.
If it's ever been possible to make the case that 96 was too young an age to die, I think one can make the case for KH. She has not, of course, been her Philadelphia Story (or Bringing Up Baby, or Adam's Rib) self for half a century, but that was her at her most iconic, and thus her as she sticks in my mind. Regardless of her age, she always had what seemed to me like impossible grace and perfectly blue-blooded New England charm.
Caryn James writes in the New York Times:
'In typical Katharine Hepburn style, she faced the camera and, at the age of 85, tacitly acknowledged how close she had to be to the end. [...] "I have no fear of death," she said. "Must be wonderful, like a long sleep. But let's face it: it's how you live that really counts."'
She lived admirably, enviably, forcefully. I'm sorry to see her go.
[Josh: demain, c'est a toi.]