Considered one of the most beautiful and talented actresses of all time, Audrey Hepburn is ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema. She captivated those who watched her films, and used her fame to advance her various humanitarian causes. Although she died in the early 1990’s, she has continued to attract the attention and admiration of those in and outside the film industry.
Hepburn’s personal life
Audrey Hepburn was born in the Ixelles district of Brussels, and spent time in Belgium, England, and the Netherlands throughout her childhood. She spoke English, French, Dutch, Italian, German, and Spanish and trained in ballet with noted instructors, such as Sonia Gaskell and Marie Rambert. She lived in German occupied Netherlands during World War II, and was an active participant in the resistance movement. From ballet, she moved into other forms of the arts, including film, where she quickly became famous.
Audrey was engaged three times, once in 1952 to James Hanson, which she broke off due to the demands of their careers. In 1954 she began working with and then married actor Mel Ferrer. The marriage lasted 14 years and produced one son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer. Her second marriage was to Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychiatrist. This marriage lasted for 13 years and also produced a single son, Luca Dotti. Beginning in 1980, she became involved with Dutch actor Robert Wolders, who she lived with, though they never married.
Throughout her career, Audrey Hepburn was also very involved with humanitarian causes throughout her career, especially later in her life. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work with the organization. She visited Ethiopia, Somalia, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, Sudan, Vietnam, and more. Audrey Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer in 1993. The illness had been discovered upon her return from Somalia in 1992. The cancer was deemed inoperable and she spent her final days in Switzerland.
Audrey Hepburn had a prolific film that lasted from the early 1950’s until 1988. Her path to fame was carved from her success in the movie Roman Holiday, in which she starred as Princess Ann, a European princess who falls in love with an American newsman. The role had originally been intended for Elizabeth Taylor, but Hepburn had quickly enchanted the film’s director, who became convinced she would be big in the movie world. The film led to her considerable acclaim as well as numerous awards, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA award, and a Golden Globe. 4,
Following her success with this film, she went on to star in more Audrey Hepburn films, including Sabrina in 1954, War and Peace in 1956, The Nun’s Story in 1959, and more. She also did a few comedies, including Funny Face in 1957 and Love in the Afternoon. Her iconic role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released in 1961. It was loosely based on a novella by Truman Capote, but significant parts of the story, including the sanitisation of Audrey Hepburn’s character. The role, however, along with Hepburn’s wardrobe during the film, have continued to be iconic today. Interestingly, one of the famous Audrey Hepburn quotes about the movie, “I’m an introvert. Playing the extroverted girl was the hardest thing I ever did,” shows the amount of work and consideration that had to go into creating the role.
After the success of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn went on to star in Charade, Paris When it Sizzles, and My Fair Lady. She continued to act and appear in numerous films, although she slowed down significantly after 1967, when she decided to spend more time with her family. Her final role was in a 1988 picture in Steven Spielberg’s Always.
Audrey Hepburn mesmerized audiences with her beauty, skill, and style. Her career was one marked by a genuine passion for the art but also a humanitarian’s heart. People from all walks of life can learn something from Audrey Hepburn’s dedication to her work, her family, and her world.