Born in Hartford, Connecticut. Educated at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, receiving her degree in 1928. Always had an acting career, initially on Broadway before a successful screen-test for RKO gained her a role in the George Cukor film A Bill of Divorcement (1932). She won her first Academy Award in 1933. She won three more Oscars and had twelve nominations.
A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Little Woman (1933), Morning Glory (1933), Spitfire (1934), The Little Minister (1934), Break of Hearts (1935), Alice Adams (1935), Mary of Scotland (1936), A Woman Rebels (1936), Quality Street (1937), Stage Door (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Holiday (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Woman of the Year (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Stage Door Canteen (1943), Dragon Seed (1944), Without Love (1945), Undercurrent (1946), The Sea of Grass (1947), Song of Love (1947), State of the Union (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), The African Queen (1951), Pat and Mike (1952), Summertime (1955) , The Rainmaker (1956), The Iron Petticoat (1956), Desk Set (1957), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), The Trojan Women (1971), A Delicate Balance (1973), Rooster Cogburn (1975), Olly, Olly, Oxen Free (1978), On Golden Pond (1981), The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley (1984).