Although this week's Bella Donna is a striking beauty with high-cheekbones, Katharine Hepburn was not an enormous trendsetter during her heyday. Unlike many of her Hollywood contemporaries, she refused to bleach her hair and don elaborate makeup; instead, she preferred a more natural, even tomboyish appearance. She had little love for the demands of fame, and her fierce independent streak—plus a string of failed movies in the '30s—earned her the title of "box office poison."
So why is she a Bella Donna? Well, after a string of film successes such as The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby, she was well on her way to becoming one of cinema's most respected actresses. Now, decades after her height of fame and only a few years after her death, it's easy to see that her attitude and her appearance were far ahead of their time. "Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do," she once said. Her contemporaries may have thought she was the former, but history places her among the screen's great beauties. To view a gallery, read more