Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognised as both a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood's Golden Age. She has since been ranked as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema and been placed in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
Audrey Hepburn's personal information overview.
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Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; 4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and
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With this bling, I thee wed - New York Post
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The 65-carat sparkler was worn in homage to screen legend Audrey Hepburn. * She wore a custom $2 million Schwartz engagement ring, a 20.5-carat diamond, on her right hand. In all, she was decked out in about $10 million worth of Schwartz pieces,
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Janet Jackson Becomes Legendary in Blackglama Campaign -
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The pop icon has been tapped to represent the luxury brand for a second year, joining past legends including Sophia Loren, Diana Ross, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, and Liza Minnelli. Miss Jackson poses nude with just a black mink
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Steinem's Story, for a New Generation - New York Times
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The program covers personal ground as well, including Ms. Steinem's marriage and her unexpected idealization of Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn's unfettered character in “Breakfast at Tiffany's.” The film stemmed from a separate project that Ms. McGee ... -
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Crepes, a la Audrey Hepburn, Coming to Village of Rochester Hills -
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Hepburn's Crepe and Coffee, named for its owner's love of Breakfast at Tiffany's and all things Audrey Hepburn, will open a second area restaurant this fall in the Village of Rochester Hills. The Shelby Township-based shop features crepes,
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An enchanting look into Audrey Hepburn's life -
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For Audrey Hepburn fans young and young-at-heart, "Just Being Audrey" is a captivating picture book account of the icon's life. And for children who aren't familiar with the star, they likely will be enchanted by her character: her
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Erotic Vagrancy, Anyone? - New York Times
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In 2000, ABC broadcast the “The Audrey Hepburn Story” with Jennifer Love Hewitt. Enough said. In countless shows about our biggest political movie stars, the Kennedys, the performances never match the myth. As USA Today's Robert Bianco wrote of “The
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Breakfast At Tiffany's 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray Remastered For September Release - Cinema Blend
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I could take or leave Audrey Hepburn as an extrovert, and I could live the rest of my life without seeing her dangle a cigarette holder ever so gracefully. But I'm glad I don't have to live without "Moon River." Hepburn had to fight Paramount hard to
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Glamour of the Gods Hollywood Portraits National Portrait Gallery - ArtLyst
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Audrey Hepburn, Maralyn Munroe, and many others involved in this world of dazzle, all strike a pose for the camera, in what is for the most part a generic affair. Indeed, you may feel as though you have seen it all before; such is the nature of
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1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany's” is coming to Blu-ray in September -
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Paramount has just officially announced plans to bring the 1961 Blake Edwards directed classic “Breakfast at Tiffany's” starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard to Blu-ray Disc in a “50th Anniversary Edition” on September 20th
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Audrey Hepburn 'most beautiful British woman ever' -
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HOLLYWOOD legend Audrey Hepburn has beaten Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana to the title of most beautiful British woman of all time. Catherine Zeta-Jones, in fourth, was the highest placed living beauty, followed by Cheryl Cole, Kelly Brook, ... - -
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RPT-UPDATE 1-Italy's Ferragamo shines in Milan debut - Reuters
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The Florence-based maker of shoes worn by Hollywood stars, such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, trimmed debut gains to be up 6.17 percent at 9.555 euros at 0711. The blue-chip FTSE MIB index gained 0.96 percent. "We have faced difficult moments
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Marilyn Monroe dress is auctioned for $4.6 million - The Associated Press
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A more sedate outfit worn by Audrey Hepburn in the Ascot race scene of "My Fair Lady" drew a $3.7 million bid at the sale of nearly 600 Hollywood costumes and props collected by film star Debbie Reynolds. The buyers, who were not identified, ... -
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Audrey Hepburn
  • 1993
    Age 63
    Moseley notes that especially after her death in 1993, she became increasingly admired, with magazines frequently advising readers on how to get her look and fashion designers using her as inspiration.
    More Details Hide Details In 2004, Hepburn was named the "most beautiful woman of all time" and "most beautiful woman of the 20th century" in polls by Evian and QVC respectively, and in 2015, was voted "the most stylish Brit of all time" in a poll commissioned by Samsung. Her film costumes fetch large sums of money in auctions: one of the "little black dresses" designed by Givenchy for Breakfast at Tiffany's was sold by Christie's for a record sum of £467,200 in 2006.
    She was the recipient of numerous posthumous awards including the 1993 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and competitive Grammy and Emmy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details She has been the subject of many biographies since her death and the 2000 dramatisation of her life titled The Audrey Hepburn Story which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Emmy Rossum as the older and younger Hepburn respectively. The film concludes with footage of the real Audrey Hepburn, shot during one of her final missions for UNICEF. Hepburn's image is widely used in advertising campaigns across the world. In Japan, a series of commercials used colourised and digitally enhanced clips of Hepburn in Roman Holiday to advertise Kirin black tea. In the United States, Hepburn was featured in a 2006 Gap commercial which used clips of her dancing from Funny Face, set to AC/DC's "Back in Black", with the tagline "It's Back – The Skinny Black Pant". To celebrate its "Keep it Simple" campaign, the Gap made a sizeable donation to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. In 2013, a computer-manipulated representation of Hepburn was used in a television advert for the British chocolate bar Galaxy. On 4 May 2014, Google featured a doodle on its homepage on the occasion of what would have been Hepburn's 85th birthday. Sean Ferrer founded the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund in memory of his mother shortly after her death. The US Fund for UNICEF also founded the Audrey Hepburn Society: chaired by Luca Dotti, it celebrates UNICEF's biggest donors and has raised almost US$100,000,000 to date. Dotti also became patron of the Pseudomyxoma Survivor charity, dedicated to providing support to patients of the rare cancer Hepburn suffered from, pseudomyxoma peritonei, and Dotti is also the rare disease ambassador since 2014 and for 2015 on behalf of European Organisation for Rare Diseases.
    For the debut episode, Hepburn was posthumously awarded the 1993 Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming.
    More Details Hide Details The other project was a spoken word album, Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales, which features readings of classic children's stories and was recorded in 1992. It earned her a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children. She remains one of the few entertainers to win Grammy and Emmy Awards posthumously. Grateful for her own good fortune after enduring the German occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the poorest nations. Hepburn's travels were made easier by her wide knowledge of languages; besides being naturally bilingual in English and Dutch, she also was fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Hepburn was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. United States president George H. W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work with UNICEF, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posthumously awarded her the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her contribution to humanity, with her son accepting on her behalf.
  • 1992
    Age 62
    She received the BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992.
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    She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992.
    More Details Hide Details A month later, Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
    Upon returning from Somalia to Switzerland in late September 1992, Hepburn began suffering from abdominal pain.
    More Details Hide Details While initial medical tests in Switzerland had inconclusive results, a laparoscopy performed at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in early November revealed a rare form of abdominal cancer belonging to a group of cancers known as pseudomyxoma peritonei. Having grown slowly over several years, the cancer had metastasised as a thin coating over her small intestine. After surgery, Hepburn began chemotherapy. Further surgery in early December showed that the cancer had spread too far to be operable and that it was in its terminal stages. Hepburn and her family returned home to Switzerland to celebrate her last Christmas. As she was still recovering from surgery, she was unable to fly on commercial aircraft. Her longtime friend, fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, arranged for socialite Rachel Lambert "Bunny" Mellon to send her private Gulfstream jet, filled with flowers, to take Hepburn from Los Angeles to Geneva. She spent her last days in hospice care at her home in Tolochenaz, Vaud and was occasionally well enough to take walks in her garden, but gradually became more confined to bedrest.
    In September 1992, four months before she died, Hepburn went to Somalia.
    More Details Hide Details Calling it "apocalyptic", she said, "I walked into a nightmare. I have seen famine in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, but I have seen nothing like this – so much worse than I could possibly have imagined. I wasn't prepared for this." "The earth is red – an extraordinary sight – that deep terracotta red. And you see the villages, displacement camps and compounds, and the earth is all rippled around these places like an ocean bed and I was told these were the graves. There are graves everywhere. Along the road, wherever there is a road, around the paths that you take, along the riverbeds, near every camp – there are graves everywhere." Though scarred by what she had seen, Hepburn still had hope. "Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicisation of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanisation of politics." "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist. I have seen the miracle of water which UNICEF has helped to make a reality. Where for centuries young girls and women had to walk for miles to get water, now they have clean drinking water near their homes. Water is life, and clean water now means health for the children of this village." "People in these places don't know Audrey Hepburn, but they recognise the name UNICEF.
  • 1990
    Age 60
    In October 1990 Hepburn went to Vietnam, in an effort to collaborate with the government for national UNICEF-supported immunisation and clean water programmes.
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  • 1989
    Age 59
    In 1989, she called the nine years she had spent with him the happiest years of her life, and stated that she considered them married, just not officially.
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    In October 1989, Hepburn and Wolders went to Bangladesh.
    More Details Hide Details John Isaac, a UN photographer, said, "Often the kids would have flies all over them, but she would just go hug them. I had never seen that. Other people had a certain amount of hesitation, but she would just grab them. Children would just come up to hold her hand, touch her – she was like the Pied Piper."
    Hepburn toured Central America in February 1989, and met with leaders in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
    More Details Hide Details In April, she visited Sudan with Wolders as part of a mission called "Operation Lifeline". Because of civil war, food from aid agencies had been cut off. The mission was to ferry food to southern Sudan. Hepburn said, "I saw but one glaring truth: These are not natural disasters but man-made tragedies for which there is only one man-made solution – peace."
  • 1988
    Age 58
    In August 1988 Hepburn went to Turkey on an immunisation campaign.
    More Details Hide Details She called Turkey "the loveliest example" of UNICEF's capabilities. Of the trip, she said "the army gave us their trucks, the fishmongers gave their wagons for the vaccines, and once the date was set, it took ten days to vaccinate the whole country. Not bad." In October, Hepburn went to South America. Of her experiences in Venezuela and Ecuador, Hepburn told the United States Congress, "I saw tiny mountain communities, slums, and shantytowns receive water systems for the first time by some miracle – and the miracle is UNICEF. I watched boys build their own schoolhouse with bricks and cement provided by UNICEF."
    Hepburn's first field mission for UNICEF was to Ethiopia in 1988.
    More Details Hide Details She visited an orphanage in Mek'ele that housed 500 starving children and had UNICEF send food. Of the trip, she said, "I have a broken heart. I feel desperate. I can't stand the idea that two million people are in imminent danger of starving to death, many of them children, and not because there isn't tons of food sitting in the northern port of Shoa. It can't be distributed. Last spring, Red Cross and UNICEF workers were ordered out of the northern provinces because of two simultaneous civil wars... I went into rebel country and saw mothers and their children who had walked for ten days, even three weeks, looking for food, settling onto the desert floor into makeshift camps where they may die. Horrible. That image is too much for me. The 'Third World' is a term I don't like very much, because we're all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering."
    After finishing her last motion picture role in 1988—a cameo appearance as an angel in Steven Spielberg's Always—Hepburn completed only two more entertainment-related projects, both critically acclaimed.
    More Details Hide Details Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn was a PBS documentary series, which was filmed on location in seven countries in the spring and summer of 1990. A one-hour special preceded it in March 1991, and the series itself began airing the day after her death, 21 January 1993.
  • 1982
    Age 52
    The Dotti-Hepburn marriage lasted thirteen years and ended in 1982, when Hepburn felt Luca and Sean were old enough to handle life with a single mother.
    More Details Hide Details Although Hepburn broke off contact with Ferrer, and only spoke to him two more times during the remainder of her life, she remained in touch with Dotti for the benefit of Luca.
  • 1980
    Age 50
    From 1980 until her death, Hepburn was in a relationship with Dutch actor Robert Wolders, the widower of actress Merle Oberon.
    More Details Hide Details She had met Wolders through a friend during the later years of her second marriage.
  • 1979
    Age 49
    She also had a romantic relationship with actor Ben Gazzara during the filming of the 1979 movie Bloodline.
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    In 1979, Hepburn reunited with director Terence Young in the production of Bloodline, sharing top-billing with Ben Gazzara, James Mason and Romy Schneider.
    More Details Hide Details The film, an international intrigue amid the jet-set, was a critical and box-office failure. Hepburn's last starring role in a feature film was opposite Gazzara in the comedy They All Laughed (1981), directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The film was overshadowed by the murder of one of its stars, Dorothy Stratten, and received only a limited release. Six years later, Hepburn co-starred with Robert Wagner in a made-for-television caper film, Love Among Thieves (1987), which borrowed elements from several of her films, most notably Charade and How to Steal a Million.
  • 1976
    Age 46
    She attempted a comeback in 1976, co-starring with Sean Connery in the period piece Robin and Marian, which was moderately successful.
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  • 1968
    Age 38
    After a 14-year marriage, the couple divorced on 5 December 1968; their son believed that Hepburn had stayed in the marriage too long. Hepburn met her second husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, on a Mediterranean cruise with friends in June 1968. She believed she would have more children and possibly stop working. They married on 18 January 1969; their son, Luca Dotti, was born on 8 February 1970.
    More Details Hide Details While pregnant with Luca in 1969, Hepburn was more careful, resting for months before delivering the baby via caesarean section. She wanted to have a third child, but had another miscarriage in 1974. Although Dotti loved Hepburn and was well-liked by Sean, he was unfaithful.
  • 1967
    Age 37
    After 1967, Hepburn chose to devote more time to her family and acted only occasionally in the following decades.
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  • 1964
    Age 34
    Hepburn's second film of 1964 was George Cukor's film adaptation of the stage musical My Fair Lady, released in November.
    More Details Hide Details Soundstage wrote that "not since Gone with the Wind has a motion picture created such universal excitement as My Fair Lady", yet Hepburn's casting in the role of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle sparked controversy. Julie Andrews, who had originated the role in the stage show, had not been offered the part because producer Jack L. Warner thought Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor were more "bankable" propositions. Hepburn initially asked Warner to give the role to Andrews but was eventually cast. Further friction was created when, although non-singer Hepburn had sung in Funny Face and had lengthy vocal preparation for the role in My Fair Lady, her vocals were dubbed by Marni Nixon as the songs were not written for her vocal range. Hepburn was initially upset and walked out on the set when informed. The press further played up the fabricated rivalry between Hepburn and Andrews, when the latter won an Academy Award for Mary Poppins at the 37th Academy Awards (1964) but Hepburn was not even nominated, despite My Fair Lady's accumulation of eight out of a possible twelve awards. Regardless, critics greatly applauded Hepburn's "exquisite" performance. Crowther wrote that "the happiest thing about Fair Lady is that Audrey Hepburn superbly justifies the decision of Jack Warner to get her to play the title role." Gene Ringgold of Soundstage also commented that "Audrey Hepburn is magnificent. She is Eliza for the ages", while adding, "Everyone agreed that if Julie Andrews was not to be in the film, Audrey Hepburn was the perfect choice."
  • 1960
    Age 30
    Maurice Eindiguer, the same pastor who wed Hepburn and Mel Ferrer and baptised her son Sean in 1960, presided over her funeral, while Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan of UNICEF delivered a eulogy.
    More Details Hide Details Many family members and friends attended the funeral, including her sons, partner Robert Wolders, half-brother Ian Quarles van Ufford, ex-husbands Andrea Dotti and Mel Ferrer, Hubert de Givenchy, executives of UNICEF, and fellow actors Alain Delon and Roger Moore. Flower arrangements were sent to the funeral by Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Dutch royal family. Later on the same day, Hepburn was interred at the Tolochenaz Cemetery. Audrey Hepburn's legacy has endured long after her death. The American Film Institute named Hepburn third among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time. She is one of few entertainers who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards. She won a record three Bafta Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. In her last years, she remained a visible presence in the film world. She received a tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1991 and was a frequent presenter at the Academy Awards.
  • 1957
    Age 27
    In 1957, she exhibited her dancing abilities in her debut musical film, Funny Face (1957) wherein Fred Astaire, a fashion photographer, discovers a beatnik bookstore clerk (Hepburn) who, lured by a free trip to Paris, becomes a beautiful model.
    More Details Hide Details The same year Hepburn starred in another romantic comedy, Love in the Afternoon, alongside Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier. Hepburn played Sister Luke in The Nun's Story (1959), which focuses on the character's struggle to succeed as a nun, alongside co-star Peter Finch. The role produced a third Academy Award nomination for Hepburn and earned her a second BAFTA Award. A review in Variety read, "Hepburn has her most demanding film role, and she gives her finest performance", while Films in Review stated that her performance "will forever silence those who have thought her less an actress than a symbol of the sophisticated child/woman. Her portrayal of Sister Luke is one of the great performances of the screen." Reportedly, she spent hours in convents and with members of the Church to bring truth to her portrayal, stating that she "gave more time, energy and thought to this than to any of my previous screen performances."
  • 1955
    Age 25
    Although she appeared in no new film releases in 1955, Hepburn received the Golden Globe for World Film Favorite that year.
    More Details Hide Details Having become one of Hollywood's most popular box-office attractions, she went on to star in a series of successful films during the remainder of the decade, including her BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated role as Natasha Rostova in War and Peace (1956), an adaptation of the Tolstoy novel set during the Napoleonic wars, starring Henry Fonda and her husband Mel Ferrer.
  • 1954
    Age 24
    Eight months later, on 25 September 1954, they were married in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, while preparing to star together in the film War and Peace (1955).
    More Details Hide Details Hepburn had two miscarriages, one in March 1955, and another in 1959, after she fell from a horse during the filming of The Unforgiven (1960). When she became pregnant for the third time, she took a year off work to prevent miscarriage; their son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, was born on 17 July 1960. She had two more miscarriages in 1965 and 1967. Despite the insistence from gossip columns that their marriage would not last, Hepburn claimed that she and Ferrer were inseparable and happy together, though she admitted that he had a bad temper. Ferrer was rumoured to be too controlling, and had been referred to by others as being her "Svengali" – an accusation that Hepburn laughed off. William Holden was quoted as saying, "I think Audrey allows Mel to think he influences her."
    During the production, Hepburn and her co-star Mel Ferrer began a relationship, and were married on 25 September 1954 in Switzerland.
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    Her performance won her the 1954 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play the same year she won the Academy Award for Roman Holiday, making her one of three actresses to receive the Academy and Tony Awards for Best Actress in the same year (the other two are Shirley Booth and Ellen Burstyn).
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    Hepburn also returned to the stage in 1954, playing a water spirit who falls in love with a human in the fantasy play Ondine on Broadway.
    More Details Hide Details A New York Times critic commented that "somehow Miss Hepburn is able to translate intangibles into the language of the theatre without artfulness or precociousness. She gives a pulsing performance that is all grace and enchantment, disciplined by an instinct for the realities of the stage".
    For her performance, she was nominated for the 1954 Academy Award for Best Actress while winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role the same year.
    More Details Hide Details Bosley Crowther of The New York Times stated that she was "a young lady of extraordinary range of sensitive and moving expressions within such a frail and slender frame. She is even more luminous as the daughter and pet of the servants' hall than she was as a princess last year, and no more than that can be said."
  • 1953
    Age 23
    She was featured on 7 September 1953 cover of TIME magazine, and also became noted for her personal style.
    More Details Hide Details Following her success in Roman Holiday, Hepburn starred in Billy Wilder's romantic Cinderella-story comedy Sabrina (1954), in which wealthy brothers (Humphrey Bogart and William Holden) compete for the affections of their chauffeur's innocent daughter (Hepburn).
    The film was a box office success, and Hepburn gained critical acclaim for her portrayal, unexpectedly winning an Academy Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best British Actress in a Leading Role, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama in 1953.
    More Details Hide Details In his review in The New York Times, A. H. Weiler wrote that Hepburn's Princess Anne "is a slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike in her profound appreciation of newly-found, simple pleasures and love. Although she bravely smiles her acknowledgement of the end of that affair, she remains a pitifully lonely figure facing a stuffy future." Hepburn was signed to a seven-picture contract with Paramount with 12 months in between films to allow her time for stage work.
  • 1952
    Age 22
    In 1952, Hepburn became engaged to James Hanson, whom she had known since her early days in London.
    More Details Hide Details She called it "love at first sight", but after having her wedding dress fitted and the date set, she decided the marriage would not work because the demands of their careers would keep them apart most of the time. She issued a public statement about her decision, saying "When I get married, I want to be really married". In the early 1950s, she also dated future Hair producer Michael Butler. At a cocktail party hosted by mutual friend Gregory Peck, Hepburn met American actor Mel Ferrer, and suggested that they star together in a play. The meeting led them to collaborate in Ondine, during which they began a relationship.
  • 1951
    Age 21
    When Gigi opened at the Fulton Theatre on 24 November 1951, she received praise for her performance, despite criticism that the stage version was inferior to the French filmatisation.
    More Details Hide Details Life called her a "hit", while The New York Times stated that "her quality is so winning and so right that she is the success of the evening". She also received a Theatre World Award for the role. The play ran for 219 performances, closing on 31 May 1952, before going on tour which began 13 October 1952 in Pittsburgh and visited Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles before closing on 16 May 1953 in San Francisco. Hepburn had her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953), playing Princess Anne, a European princess who, while escaping the reins of royalty, falls in love with an American newsman (Gregory Peck). Its producers initially wanted Elizabeth Taylor for the role, but director William Wyler was so impressed by Hepburn's screen test that he cast her instead. Wyler later commented, "She had everything I was looking for: charm, innocence, and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting and we said, 'That's the girl! Originally, the film was to have had only Gregory Peck's name above its title, with "Introducing Audrey Hepburn" beneath in smaller font. However, Peck suggested to Wyler that he elevate her to equal billing so that her name appeared before the title and in type as large as his: "You've got to change that because she'll be a big star and I'll look like a big jerk."
    She appeared in minor roles in the 1951 films One Wild Oat, Laughter in Paradise, Young Wives' Tale and The Lavender Hill Mob, before being cast in her first major supporting role in Thorold Dickinson's The Secret People (1952), in which she played a prodigious ballerina, performing all of her own dancing sequences.
    More Details Hide Details Hepburn was then offered a small role in a film being shot in both English and French, Monte Carlo Baby (French:Nous Irons à Monte Carlo,1952), which was filmed in Monte Carlo. Incidentally, French novelist Colette was at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo during the filming, and decided to cast Hepburn in the title role in the Broadway play Gigi. Hepburn went into rehearsals having never spoken on stage and required private coaching.
  • 1948
    Age 18
    Hepburn made her film debut in 1948, playing an air stewardess in Dutch in Seven Lessons, an educational travel film made by Charles van der Linden and Henry Josephson.
    More Details Hide Details Later that year, she moved to London to take up a ballet scholarship with Ballet Rambert, which was then based in Notting Hill. She supported herself with part-time work as a model, and dropped "Ruston" from her surname. After she was told by Rambert that despite her talent, her height and weak constitution (the after-effect of wartime malnutrition) would make the status of prima ballerina unattainable, she decided to concentrate on acting. While Ella worked in menial jobs to support them, Hepburn appeared as a chorus girl in the West End musical theatre revues High Button Shoes (1948) at the London Hippodrome, and Cecil Landeau's Sauce Tartare (1949) and Sauce Piquante (1950) at the Cambridge Theatre. During her theatrical work, she took elocution lessons with actor Felix Aylmer to develop her voice. After being spotted by a casting director while performing in Sauce Piquante, Hepburn was registered as a freelance actress with the Associated British Picture Corporation.
  • 1945
    Age 15
    After the war ended in 1945, Hepburn moved with her mother and siblings to Amsterdam, where she began training ballet under Sonia Gaskell, a leading figure in Dutch ballet, and Russian Olga Tarassova.
    More Details Hide Details As the family's fortunes had been lost during the war, Ella supported them by working as a cook and housekeeper for a wealthy family.
  • 1942
    Age 12
    In 1942, her uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum (husband of her mother's older sister, Miesje), was executed in retaliation for an act of sabotage by the resistance movement; while he had not been involved in the act, he was targeted due to his family's prominence in Dutch society.
    More Details Hide Details Hepburn's half-brother Ian was deported to Berlin to work in a German labour camp, and her other half-brother Alex went into hiding to avoid the same fate. After her uncle's death, Hepburn, Ella and Miesje left Arnhem to live with her grandfather, Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra, in nearby Velp. During this time, Hepburn participated in the Dutch resistance, delivering messages and packages, and performing ballet in clandestine fundraising events. In addition to other traumatic events, she witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, later stating that "more than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child."
  • 1940
    Age 10
    After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Hepburn adopted the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra, because an "English-sounding" name was considered dangerous during the German occupation.
    More Details Hide Details Her family was profoundly affected by the occupation, with Hepburn later stating that "had we known that we were going to be occupied for five years, we might have all shot ourselves. We thought it might be over next week... six months... next year... that's how we got through".
  • 1939
    Age 9
    While there, Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945.
    More Details Hide Details She had begun taking ballet lessons during her last years at boarding school, and continued training in Arnhem under the tutelage of Winja Marova, becoming her "star pupil".
    After Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Hepburn's mother relocated her daughter back to Arnhem in the hope that, as during World War I, the Netherlands would remain neutral and be spared a German attack.
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  • 1935
    Age 5
    Joseph left the family abruptly in 1935 and divorced Ella in 1938, which Hepburn later professed was "the most traumatic event of my life".
    More Details Hide Details In the 1960s, she renewed contact with him after locating him in Dublin through the Red Cross; although he remained emotionally detached, Hepburn supported him financially until his death. Following the divorce, Ella began making more frequent visits to Kent.
  • 1929
    Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen van Heemstra Ruston on 4 May 1929 at number 48 Rue Keyenveld in Ixelles, a municipality in Brussels, Belgium.
    More Details Hide Details Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (1889–1980), was a British subject born in Auschitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. His mother was Anna Ruston (née Wels), of Austrian descent, and his father was Victor John George Ruston, of British and Austrian descent. After World War I, Joseph was appointed British consul in the Dutch East Indies, and prior to his marriage to Hepburn's mother he had been married to Cornelia Bisschop, a Dutch heiress. Although born with the surname Ruston, he later double-barrelled his name to the more "aristocratic" Hepburn-Ruston, mistakenly believing himself descended from James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Hepburn's mother, Baroness Ella van Heemstra (1900–1984), a Dutch aristocrat was the daughter of Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra, who served as mayor of Arnhem from 1910 to 1920, and as Governor of Dutch Suriname from 1921 to 1928. Ella's mother was Elbrig Willemine Henriette, Baroness van Asbeck (1873–1939), who was a granddaughter of jurist Count Dirk van Hogendorp. At age nineteen, Ella had married Jonkheer (Esquire) Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, an oil executive based in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, where they subsequently lived. They had two sons, Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford (1920–1979) and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford (1924–2010), before divorcing in 1925.
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