"Male or female?" I asked.
I didn't have to give it much thought, "Katherine Hepburn and Mae West."
Hilary Swank, Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Diane Keaton, Julia Roberts -- yes, I know who the popular modern actresses are. And many of them are darn fine actresses. And some of them are just cute, bouncy and buxom. Same as it's been since actresses first trod the boards. But none of the current crop can hold a candle, in my opinion anyway, to Hepburn and West.
In many ways, the two women seem to be at antipodes.
Katherine Hepburn: upper crust, upper class, educated, immaculate diction and grammar, tailored, athletic and classy, four time Oscar winner for Best Actress.
Mae West (during her film career): working class, aggressively uneducated, gutter grammar, middle aged, zaftig, bold, sybaritic, and a sex symbol for the country and in her own mind, (Oscar-schmosker who needs one of them things?)
But I think there were more similarities than differences between them.
Both of them were strong, self confident, independent women at a time when women were second class citizens. They both had a sense of humor not only about the world in general, but about themselves. They were intelligent, strong willed and hard working. They were shrewd. Each marched to the beat of her own drummer without excuse or apology and made her mark on the world -- and not a little money in the process.
They were both, in their seemingly disparate ways, magnificent.