ONE OF Hollywood's great trailblazers and a proof of the movie medium's power to change the world has gone.
Katharine Hepburn, a remarkable person in every sense of the word, whose career spanned six decades, played a pivotal role in helping redefine the role of women in the west in the 20th century.
At the time of her first movie, 1932's A Bill of Divorcement, it would have been the young ingenue's flawless good looks that caught people's attention.
It was only a matter of time before the active intelligence behind those flashing eyes became the most compelling thing that audiences remembered. Hepburn's triumph, and a large part of the appeal of her enduring relationship with multiple co-star Spencer Tracy, was that she always played a modern woman.
And, through her work in films such as 1942's Woman Of The Year and as the feisty sparring partner to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, she helped redefine the way that men thought about women and the way that women thought about themselves.
A larger than life role model who acquired a social conscience early on and never lost it, Hepburn was that rare celebrity - a giver, not a taker. And, while she will be sorely missed, her legacy is a new generation of performers of conscience including Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep.