Named the greatest Actress in Hollywood history by the American Film Institute in 1999, she set a record by winning four Academy Awards for Best Actress for the films The African Queen (1951), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968) and On Golden Pond (1981).
She began acting in school plays at Bryn Mawr College and made her big screen debut in the 1932 film A Bill of Divorcement.
She played leading roles in a number of Shakespeare plays in the 1950's and '60's, including The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Antony and Cleopatra.
She married Ludlow Ogden Smith in 1928 and the couple divorced in 1934. She also had relationships with actor Spencer Tracy and Entrepreneur and filmmaker Howard Hughes.
She co-starred with another Hollywood icon, Humphrey Bogart, in the 1951 adventure film The African Queen.