Katharine Hepburn on Tennessee Williams: A Mighty Talent

Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Venable in Suddenly, Last Summer. 

Interview with Katharine Hepburn
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City

I work at being good. Mine is not a natural talent, a great talent. Mine is an earned talent. I want to be good, and I get to be good through hard work and good luck and the aid of others. But Tennessee [Williams] was a bolt of lightning, a mountain, a blooming tree of immense size. He was breathing--so natural and so necessary. Now, the man could not dress himself properly--nothing much matched. The man had trouble handling a tray in a cafeteria--I saw this. I think life, and all these boring things we have to do to get the lights on and the dogs fed and the floor clean and the bills paid--that all defeated him, or nearly did. But then he'd sit down and that mighty talent would flow on the page, and it was genius. I can clean the floor and feed the dogs and get the bills paid, but I can't just show up and be great. I have to work at it. I have to search for it. It was Tennessee's destiny. He had genius in being. He showed up a genius.

©  2017  James Grissom


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