Classic Movie Hub (CMH)
 
 

Job Actor *(1948-1989) * Humanitarian *(1988-1992)
Years active 1948-1992
Known for Keen scene of style, class
Top Roles Chiquita, Joanna Wallace, Susy Hendrix, Gabrielle Simpson / Gaby, Jo Stockton
Top GenresComedy, Drama, Romance, Crime, Film Adaptation, Musical
Top TopicsRomance (Comic), Book-Based, Romance (Drama)
Top Collaborators (Director), , (Director), (Director)
Shares birthday with Patsy Garrett, Curt Conway, Edgar Dearing  see more..

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Audrey Hepburn Overview:

Legendary actress, Audrey Hepburn, was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, Belgium. Hepburn appeared in over 30 film and TV roles from 1951 through 1989. Her best known films include Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Wait Until Dark. Hepburn died at the age of 63 on Jan 20, 1993 in Tolochenaz, Switzerland and was laid to rest in Tolochenaz Cemetery in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland.

The Legend

 With an effervescent screen presence, keen scene of style, and mastery of all things having to do with class, Audrey Hepburn is one of the most relevant and enduring screen legends of the twentieth Century. Along with Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean, she has come to epitomize the glory and glamour of Classic Hollywood.

Early Life

Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on May 4th, 1929 in Ixelles, Belgium and came from a very blue-blooded family. Her father, Joseph Ruston, was a wealthy English banker who claimed to be a descendent from English nobility. Her mother, Ella Van Heemstra, was a Dutch baroness who also laid claim to being descendent from Scottish nobility. Hepburn would spend much of her early traveling across Europe due to her father's job, allowing her to become fluent in English, Dutch, French, and Italian. In the early 1930's both of her parents who joined the incredibly right-winged British Union of Fascists. Joseph would eventually leave the family, officially divorcing his wife in 1938. After the divorce, Hepburn moved to England with her mother and brothers where she attended a small private boarding school.

World War II

Due to rising political tension in Europe, Hepburn, her mother, and two half brothers from a previous marriage moved to the Netherlands, assuming the country would remain neutral as it had during World War I. A year later, however, the Nazi's invaded and Hepburn was forced to endure the hardship of war. Although her mother had originally been a supporter of fascism in theory, upon experiencing it in practice Hepburn's mother political stance changed and soon she joined the Dutch Resistance.  During the Nazi Occupation, Hepburn suffered from depression and malnutrition, which would permanently affect her weight. She was subject to seeing harsh acts of Nazi brutalism and in 1942 witnessed the public execution of her Uncle and four others for their participation in the Dutch Resistance. That same year her brother, Ian, was eventually sent to German Prison camp while Alexander, her other brother, fled the country to avoid such a fate. Hepburn would eventually participate in the resistance. A ballot dancer since the age of five, Hepburn used her love of dancing to aid in the Dutch resistance. She performed a series of secret ballet to raise money for the rebels. She would also bring secret messages hidden in her shoes to resistance leaders, effectively out-witting the Nazi's with her cuteness. On Hepburn's 16th birthday the Allied Powers liberated Holland. The time spend under Nazi occupation would have a profound effect on Hepburn and lead to her humanitarian work later in life.

Early Career

After the war in 1945, Hepburn would once again relocate to Amsterdam to pursuit a career in ballet. She would also model on the side for extra money and eventually was asked to do a screen test in 1948 for a small role in the Dutch film, Dutch in Seven Lesson. It would be Hepburn's first screen role. That year she moved to London with mother to study at the Ballet Rambert. Although she proved a more than worthy dancer, Hepburn realized her height and effects of malnutrition would prevent her from becoming a Prima Ballerina and decided to further pursuit her modeling/acting career. Soon, she was hired as chorus girl and became a regular on the British Stage, appearing in musical revue's such as High Button Shoes, and Sauce Tartare. In 1950 she made her West End debut in 1950's Sauce Piquante.  During this time Hepburn was noticed by British talent scouts and began getting offers from British film studios. In 1951 she had small roles in films One Wild Oat and The Lavender Mob Hill. In 1952 while filming Monte Carlo Baby Hepburn met the renowned author Colette. The screenwriter was so taken by Hepburn's charm that soon, she was off to New York to start rehearsals for the Broadway play Gigi. Hepburn would spend hours with a private acting couch to supplement her already daunting rehearsal schedule. The play opened to rave reviews, with much of praise going to the play's effervescent young star. Hepburn would then reprise her role on the nation-wide, cross-country tour. Soon after Hepburn was off to Hollywood to do a screen test for William Wyler's upcoming production, Roman Holiday.

Hollywood

Upon giving Hepburn the screen test, Wyler immediately knew he had found the right woman for his next film. Soon after, Hepburn was whisked away to Europe for the filming of Roman Holiday. In the film Hepburn plays an incognito Princess who escapes the formal trappings of royalty and falls in love with American reporter Gregory Peck.

Knowing Hepburn was the true star of the film, Peck insisted her name be placed above the title with his, instead of the customary "introducing"  title placed on the bottom of the poster. Of course, he was right. The film went on to be a smash hit with Hepburn quickly ascending to the heights of Hollywood stardom. She would go on to win The Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for Best Leading Actress. Her success only continued with her next film, Billy Wilder's Sabrina starring opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. In the film Hepburn played the shy daughter of a wealthy family's chauffer who, upon returning from her schooling in Paris, becomes the center of a love triangle of the families two sons. The film not only solidified her star status, but also marked the beginning of her many collaborations with fashion designer, Givenchy, whose designs would help Hepburn become the fashion Icon she is remembered as today.

Continued Success

Hepburn's next Accomplishment came in the form of a Tony Award for her work in Broadway production of Ondine. Hepburn would go to marry her co-star/writer/producer Mel Ferrer. Their marriage would last fifteen years. In 1956 the newly married couple starred in King Vidor's epic cinematic adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace opposite Henry Fonda. For her role Hepburn was paid $350,000 dollars, the largest sum of money paid to an actress for a single at the time. The next, Hepburn was given the opportunity to show movie audiences her dancing chops in the Stanley Donen's Funny Face. In the film, Hepburn played a Greenwich Village intellectual wooed into the world of Parisian modeling by none other than dancing King Fred Astaire. She rounded out the decade with Fred Zinneman's The Nun Story, earning herself another Oscar nomination in the process. She next starred her husband's forgettable 1959 film Green Mansions opposite Anthony Perkins.

Post-Princess Roles

The sixties began with the forgettable The Unforgiven, which critics agreed Hepburn was too polished and sophisticated to play a half Indian daughter of the Old West. Her cosmopolitan nature, however, was put to good use in her next role as the New York chic Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Often thought of as her defining role, the iconic character would forever be link Audrey Hepburn "the little black dress." Her next film, William Wyler's The Children's Hour was a huge departure from her signature role. In it she played a boarding school teacher accused of having a lesbian relationship with her best friend/co-teacher, played by Shirley MacLaine. It was one of Hollywood's earliest films to touch upon the subject of lesbianism.

In 1963, Hepburn was paired with Cary Grant in the espionage caper Charade. The film was hugely successful due to the peas-and-carrots and photogenically flawless pairing of the two. In 1964, Hepburn starred opposite of Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, playing cockney flower girl turn belle (or should I say princess) of the ball, Eliza Doolittle. The film was a massive hit, winning eight of its twelve Oscar nominations. She would work with her mentor, William Wyler, again in the comedy How to Steal a Million in 1965 and re-team with Stanley Donen for the 1967's Two for the Road. Also released in 1967 was the highly acclaimed Wait Until Dark. In the film, Hepburn played a blind woman terrorized by criminals and was nominated for her fifth and final competitive Oscar Oscar.

Later Life

After the film, Hepburn went into semi-retirement to better raise her two children. During this time she divorced Ferrer and married Italian Doctor, Andrea Dotti. She briefly came out of retirement to star in Robin and Marion opposite Sean Connery. Through out the seventies film appearances where rare and of admitted varying quality. In the eighties, she would focus on humanitarian work, particularly with children, remembering those who helped her after her own liberation from Nazi powers. In 1987, she was officially appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 1989, she made her final film appearance in Steven Spielberg's Always. True to form, she played an Angel.

In the last years of her life, Hepburn became increasing devoted to her work with UNICEF. She traveled from Ethiopia to Turkey, from to Somalia to Guatemala working to create food routes in these war-torn countries in an effort to save civilians from starvation. In 1992, a year before her death, she was awarded the Screen Actors' Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. She was awarded the Jean Hershlot Humanitarian Award posthumously. Audrey Hepburn passed away on January 20th,1992 in Switzerland. She was 63 yeard old.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Audrey Hepburn was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actress for Roman Holiday (as Princess Anne) in 1953. She also won one Honorary Award in 1992 - the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award [NOTE: The Academy's Board of Governors voted to confer this award on January 12, 1993. Ms. Hepburn passed away on January 20th, and the award was accepted on her behalf by her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.] .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1953Best ActressRoman Holiday (1953)Princess AnneWon
1954Best ActressSabrina (1954)Sabrina FairchildNominated
1959Best ActressThe Nun's Story (1959)Sister LukeNominated
1961Best ActressBreakfast at Tiffany's (1961)Holly GolightlyNominated
1967Best ActressWait until Dark (1967)Susy HendrixNominated

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

YearAwardDescription
1992JEAN HERSHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD- the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award [NOTE: The Academy's Board of Governors voted to confer this award on January 12, 1993. Ms. Hepburn passed away on January 20th, and the award was accepted on her behalf by her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.]

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She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. In addition, Hepburn was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 2003.

BlogHub Articles:

Congratulations to on becoming the Favorite Classic Movie Actress of 2017

By monty on Apr 14, 2017 From All Good Things

She did..she finally did it. After appearing in two previous final fours, the third time was the charm for as she won the 2017 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney, with a hard fought win over Elizabeth Taylor by the count of 51-47. It was a close match pretty much the whole time ex... Read full article


It will be vs Elizabeth Taylor to decide who gets the crown for Favorite Classic Movie Actress of 2017

By monty on Apr 7, 2017 From All Good Things

After two great semi-final matches, we have our final two actresses. and Elizabeth Taylor. Audrey defeated Barbara Stanwyck 52-45 while Liz held on to beat Ava Gardner 50-45. Now the stage is set to decide who will take home the crown as Favorite Classic Movie Actress of 2017. The mat... Read full article


Warner Archive Blu-ray: Alan Arkin Terrorizes in Wait Until Dark (1967)

By KC on Mar 27, 2017 From Classic Movies

Though I will never get over the trauma of my first viewing of Wait Until Dark (1967), I have returned to it several times over the years. Even once you know its secrets, it retains its stomach churning power to chill. It is also a showcase for some of the best performances of its stars, Audrey Hepb... Read full article


By Carol Martinheira on May 5, 2016 From The Old Hollywood Garden

On May 5, 2016 By CarolIn Uncategorized Yesterday would have been ’s 87th birthday. My movie groups and favorite blogs were swamped with tributes and videos, as would be expected. She’s been revered for many years and for many r... Read full article


Gary Cooper and find... Love in the Afternoon (1957)

By Michaela on Aug 28, 2015 From Love Letters to Old Hollywood

The Summer Under the Stars celebration continues! Previously I wrote about Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds, but my last entry will be on that gorgeous hunk of man named Gary Cooper, whose day on TCM is the 30th. The rest of the blogathon's roster is constantly being updated and can be found here. ... Read full article


See all articles

Audrey Hepburn Quotes:

Simon Dermott: [crazy Senor Paravideo comes as Nicole and Simon are leaving] Who's that?
Nicole Bonnet: [obviously lying] Papa's cousin... from South America!
Simon Dermott: You know for someone who started lying recently, you're showing a real flair!
Nicole Bonnet: Oh thank you!
[she hugs him]


Charles Bonnet: This tall, good-looking ruffian with blue eyes, he didn't, er, molest you in any way, did he?
[Nicole is staring off dreamily]
Charles Bonnet: Well, did he?
Nicole Bonnet: Not much.


Holly Golightly: We're alike, me and cat. A couple of poor nameless slobs.


read more quotes from Audrey Hepburn...



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Audrey Hepburn Facts
Nearly married James (later Lord) Hanson, a businessman, after filming Roman Holiday (1953). An ivory satin wedding gown was designed by the Fontana sisters, but Hepburn called off the wedding at the last minute.

Hepburn was offered the role of a Japanese bride opposite Marlon Brando in Sayonara (1957) but turned it down. She later explained that she "couldn't possibly play an Oriental. No one would believe me; they'd laugh. It's a lovely script, however, I know what I can and can't do. And if you did persuade me, you would regret it, because I would be terrible".

She owned a Yorkshire Terrier called "Mr. Famous".

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