Katharine Hepburn Won Four Oscars, Never Received Them At Show

During her 66-year acting career, Katharine Hepburn won four Oscars, but she never came to a ceremony to receive them. “As for me, prizes are nothing,” she once said. “My prize is my work.” Still, four best actress — or actor — awards is an unbeaten feat, akin to Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in an NBA game. Hepburn’s first came for 1933’s Morning Glory, whose title derived from whether her actress character would have a long career or fade “like a morning glory.” And Hepburn’s award winning did fade: She went from a 26-year-old phenom getting a statuette for her third film to being labeled “box-office poison” in a 1938 exhibitors poll.

During the decades before her next Oscar wins, she made critics swoon over such films as Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story and swept up a further eight noms. But it was 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1968’s The Lion in Winter and 1981’s On Golden Pond that brought Oscars 2, 3 and 4. Hepburn made one appearance, at the 1974 awards presentation; she showed up wearing gardening togs, natch. She presented the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to producer and friend Lawrence Weingarten. “I’m living proof that a person can wait 41 years to be unselfish,” she said.