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It Started With…”You can’t do that. They’re all dead.”

May 23 @ 7:00 pm

It Started With…”You can’t do that. They’re all dead.” at The Kate

Museum Talk:  It Started With… “You can’t do that. They’re all dead.”

David Heeley and Joan Kramer In the Company of Katharine Hepburn 

*Photo by Len Tavares

Over a 16-year period, Joan Kramer and David Heeley maintained a professional and personal relationship with Katharine Hepburn, working together on documentary profiles about Spencer Tracy (‘The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn’), and Hepburn herself (‘Starring Katharine Hepburn’ and ‘Katharine Hepburn: All About Me’).

Join us as Joan and David share personal anecdotes, and show some never-before-seen outtakes of interviews and footage that didn’t make the cut in their finished films. They will also tell stories about their associations with other Hollywood legends such as Fred Astaire, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra, as documented in their book, In the Company of Legends.

Joan and David will sign books after the presentation at the Kate.

About the book In the Company of Legends

Beginning with their award-winning profiles of Fred Astaire, Joan Kramer and David Heeley established their reputation for finding the unfindable, persuading the reluctant, and maintaining unique relationships long after the end credits rolled. These unique and intimate stories about the productions, and the personalities involved, are amusing, moving, often revealing, and have never been told before.


Born in Chicago, IL, Joan Kramer was a ballet dancer and assistant choreographer before starting her career in film and television production. She was an assistant talent coordinator for The Dick Cavett Show, associate producer for a Candid Camera Special, and writer for Live From Lincoln Center. She then joined the staff of WNET where she began her long producing partnership with David Heeley. For public television, and later for their own company, Top Hat Productions, they created profiles of some of the most famous and well-respected personalities in the entertainment industry, and maintained personal relationships with many of them, their families, and friends. Their programs have received five Emmy awards, twenty Emmy nominations, and many other national and international honors.


David Heeley was born in the north of England. After graduating from Oxford University in 1961, he joined the BBC in London, initially as an engineer, eventually becoming a staff director. In 1969 he moved to New York, where he worked first for public television’s WNET, and later Top Hat Productions, which he owned with Joan Kramer. He has received many awards, including six Emmys, has been nominated for three Directors Guild of America awards, and has taught a course on directing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He was executive producer of the WNET/PBS series Nature from its premiere in 1982 until 1991, and has produced numerous acclaimed documentary profiles together with Joan Kramer.


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May 23
7:00 pm
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The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
300 Main Street
Old Saybrook, CT 06475 United States
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