As for that other Hepburn, according to Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, she worked largely on behalf of herself, especially in regard to honing a meticulously crafted image. Author William J. Mann, a chronicler of gay Hollywood, reveals that Hepburn connived to create her public persona, perpetuating her near-mythic relationship with Spencer Tracy the better to offset her many close (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) friendships with women. A decidedly different take on the great Kate, Mann's book never lets us forget that, as a child, Hepburn had an alter ego named Jimmy. Or that the various men with whom she was involved tended to be troubled and needy, which meant she was more a caretaker than a lover. Some claims are more curious than convincing. (Spencer Tracy a homosexual? Macho man John Ford? C'mon!) Some come as no surprise. After all, Katharine Hepburn was one of Hollywood's most unconventional stars. Los Angeles-based writer Pat H. Broeske is the co-author of biographies of Howard Hughes and Elvis Presley.

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