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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
Hepburn papers donated to library
Katharine Hepburn
Hepburn's career spanned 70 years
Truckloads of papers, movie scripts and photos from the personal collection of actress Katharine Hepburn are to go on show to the public.

The memorabilia was left to the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the actress on her death at the age of 96 last year.

They include personal letters from movie star friends including Cary Grant and lover Spencer Tracy.

"She seemed to have saved everything," said library director Linda Mehr.

She went on to describe it as "an extraordinary treasure".

The four-time Oscar winner stipulated in her will that her papers be available to the public and the executors of her estate decided on the Academy's library.

She thought that what she had saved was the truth of her own experience
Cynthia McCormick
Hepburn's friend

The Academy expects its curators to take some months going through the vast amount of correspondence.

"This is a record collection... and the most comprehensive," said Mehr. "She was such an articulate person and one with whom people loved to correspond."

In one letter from Hepburn to Laurence Olivier, the actress tries to change his mind about turning down a television movie she would also be in. She succeeded.

In a handwritten letter to Hepburn from Jane Fonda, the younger actress thanks her for a note after the Oscars her father Henry and Hepburn won for On Golden Pond.

"Your notes to him have lifted his spirit and moved him deeply at a time when spirit is about all he's got going."

Henry Fonda was ill at the time and died soon after.

Cynthia McCormick, a 30-year friend of the actress and co-executor of the estate, said she had talked to the actress "many times" about what should happen to her collection.

"She thought that what she had saved was the truth of her own experience, and it was okay after she was gone to let people know the truth. Nothing has been tampered with."


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