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the fine print: Katharine Hepburn writes to Spencer Tracy, nearly 20 years after his death, another 26 years later breaks my heart

August 11, 2012

The legendary American actor Spencer Tracy (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Judgment at Nuremberg, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World) died suddenly in 1967.

About 18 years later, a letter was written to him by his longtime companion and occasional co-star, Katharine Hepburn (who died in 2003), who later read that letter (also included in her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life) in the 1986 documentary The Spencer Tracy Legacy.

I stumbled across it only now, reading a lovely post about it, which includes the video and the text of the letter, on the blog Letters of Note, which is a great place to spend some leisurely reading time, featuring as it does letters from famous and occasionally also brilliant people. This letter by KH, which I so far cannot bear to watch her recite in the video, reads like a erudite grownup child outraged by the cruelty of losing the love of her life, and by the mysteries he left behind.

Click here to read the letter. Click here to read more on Letters of Note, from which a book will be released in November. Click below to watch KS read the letter.

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