Happy birthday Audrey Hepburn!

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Audrey Hepburn (May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993) was a Belgian-born actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian. She appeared on stage and in films throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, with her most notable films including Roman Holiday (1953), Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961), and My Fair Lady (1964). She was hugely influential style icon. She spent the last part of her life devoted to helping children, touring the world as a goodwill ambassador to UNICEF to raise awareness about children in need.

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Hepburn was born Audrey Ruston in Brussels, Belgium to Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston and Anna Ruston. Her name changed to Hepburn-Ruston as a result of her father believing they were related to James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, though it is not true. She eventually dropped Ruston. Her father was a Nazi sympathizer and left Hepburn and her mother in 1935, she and her mother moved to Kent where she attended a small, independent girls school. They then moved back to their original home in Arnhem, Netherlands. That was where her interest in performance started to blossom. She took up dance at while at the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945. She went on to study ballet with the great Sonia Gaskell, and worked part-time as a model.

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In 1948, Hepburn made her first appearance on stage in High Button Shoes in London. Her role as a chorus girl in that and a couple of other productions led to her being cast in One Wild Oat in 1951 and later in Young Wives' Tales (1951) and The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). By the age of 22, she was already making a name for herself and went to New York to perform on Broadway in Gigi. Her performance earned her looks from Hollywood and soon she was approached to appear in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Roman Holiday

Her career continued to bloom, and she appeared in Sabrina (1954) and later opposite Fred Astaire in Funny Face (1957). She then earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of a nun in The Nun's Story (1959).

 

Sabrina

Funny Face

The Nun's Story

The pinnacle of her career, perhaps, is when she appeared in Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961), loosely based off of the Truman Capote novella. Capote is reported to have said that the film's protagonist, Holly Golightly, was "grossly miscast" in Audrey Hepburn, mostly because she did not convey the sexuality of the character (who is a call girl). Her iconic fashion style was first crystallized in this film.

Breakfast at Tiffany's 

Audrey Hepburn sings 'Moon River'

She continued to appear in films throughout the 1960s including Charade (1963) and My Fair Lady (1964).

Charade

My Fair Lady, 'Show me'

She worked with the likes of Cary Grant, Shirley MacLaine, Sean Connery during her career.

Her later years were marked by a turn toward humanitarianism. She became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in the late 1980s and traveled extensively to raise awareness about children in need.

She had two sons, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti, and was married twice, first to actor Mel Ferrer and later to psychiatrist Andrea Dotti. She spent the last thirteen years of her life with Robert Wolders.

Audrey's screen test

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 04 May 2014
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