OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. – Friends and admirers mourned the loss of an acting legend Sunday, remembering Katharine Hepburn (search) as a generous neighbor and a role model to generations of actors.
Hepburn died Sunday at her longtime home in Old Saybrook along Long Island Sound (search), with family members and friends by her side. She was 96.
After news of her death had spread, dozens of people gathered at Saybrook Point near Hepburn's home.
"She was one of us," said Barbara Maynard, a former first selectman of Old Saybrook who knew the actress for more than 30 years.
Hepburn was remembered in Hollywood as well.
"I think every actress in the world looked up to her with a kind of reverence and a sense of, 'Oh boy, if only I could be like her,'" Elizabeth Taylor (search) said in a statement. "We never looked at her with envy or jealousy because she worked with such grace and wit and charm. You only wish that one day you could be like her. I am so glad that she and Spence [Spencer Tracy] are finally together again."
Michele Sullivan, a spokeswoman for Gov. John G. Rowland, said plans for a remembrance have not been set.
"It's a sad day in Connecticut to have lost such a special person who was more than an icon and an actress, but was a wonderful, caring lady whose recognition of achievement, success and legacy is known by people of all ages," Sullivan said. "May we remember Katharine fondly as one of Connecticut's finest."
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, who are staying this weekend at their Texas ranch, expressed their condolences to Hepburn's family.
"Katharine Hepburn delighted audiences with her unique talent for more than six decades," Bush said. "She was known for her intelligence and wit and will be remembered as one of the nation's artistic treasures."
U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said Hepburn was "a unique and shining star who lit up the silver screen for generations of Americans and people worldwide."
Maynard said what she will miss the most is "just knowing that she is here."
"Of course, we can always see her movies," she said.
Maynard said Hepburn aided the town in many ways. She helped the town buy property along the shore for a waterfront park, and she once donated a fire engine to the local department. And she made several anonymous gifts in the community, she said.
In New York, the lights will dim on Broadway at 8 p.m. Tuesday in honor of Hepburn, said Patricia Armetta-Haubner, a spokeswoman for the League of American Theaters and Producers.