Richard Hepburn; Actress’ Brother

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From Times Wires Services

Richard Hepburn, a playwright and the younger brother of actress Katharine Hepburn, has died, his family said Friday. He was 89.

Hepburn, who lived with his famous sister at the family’s Connecticut home overlooking the Long Island Sound, died Wednesday of heart problems, said his brother-in-law, Ellsworth Grant.

Born in Hartford, Conn., in 1911, Hepburn was the third of six children of Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn and Katharine Houghton Hepburn.


Writing “was his main occupation and interest,” Grant said. Some of his plays were produced in New York and in repertory theaters.

Asked about the health of actress Katharine Hepburn, who turned 93 in May, Grant said: “She’s doing very well, for her age.”

Grant described his brother-in-law as “a completely free spirit with an iconoclastic outlook.”

“He was just not like the others in the family,” Grant said. “They are all very different, but he was almost a completely different, separate figure.”

Hepburn’s niece, playwright Katharine Houghton, said her uncle’s plays were ahead of their time.

“I’m not sure he ever expressed as much of the truth in his plays as in his life, but he tried,” Houghton said. “I don’t know if playwriting was his most brilliant gift. I think that although he spent time with his playwriting, it was not the center of his energy. I think the center of his life was living.”


Hepburn is survived by four children, two sisters, and one brother.