20 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Classic Hollywood Stars

Producers Joan Kramer and David Heeley documented the careers of some of Hollywood’s greatest legends, including Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart. Their portraits of these colorful acting icons brought them up close and personal to the stars. The duo’s new tell-all memoir In the Company of Legends, from Beaufort Books, captures the hilarious and moving stories about the most powerful names in Hollywood. In anticipation of the book’s release on April 16, and an April 7 TCM documentary special featuring interviews with Kramer and Heeley conducted by Robert Osborne, here are some of the most fascinating and intimate facts we learned about our favorite old Hollywood stars.


Fred Astaire was known as a perfectionist. He once insisted that production company RKO pull all prints of one of his films after he watched it in the theater and noticed something he didn’t like.

The gown that Ginger Rogers wore for the dance number “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” in the film Follow the Fleet was made of hand-sewn bugle beads that weighed close to forty pounds. The loose sleeves would hit Fred Astaire in the face and made him feel “groggy.” If you look carefully, you can see him flinching.

Initially Jane Fonda and Katharine Hepburn didn’t get along during the filming of On Golden Pond, but they quickly developed a close relationship. Hepburn played Fonda’s character’s mother in the film.

Peter O’Toole on meeting Hepburn: “The first time Kate walked into my dressing room, I was pissing in the sink. Of course, I then had to pretend I wasn’t. And she pretended she didn’t notice.”

Hepburn’s favorite ice cream was Sedutto’s mocha chip. She liked to eat it with lace cookies crumbled on top.