Monday, June 25, 2007

For Love of Audrey Hepburn

Who could help but love Audrey Hepburn? Graceful and beautiful inside and out, Audrey Hepburn is still a forceful style icon.

Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium to a British father and a Dutch Baroness mother on May 4, 1929. She was schooled partly in England, partly in the Netherlands, where she studied ballet in addition to regular schooling. During the Nazi occupation, she carried messages for the underground resistance movement in her ballet slippers. After the war ended, Audrey moved to study ballet first in Amsterdam, then in London with Nijinsky's teacher.

Audrey Hepburn later said that she became an actor because "I needed the money; it paid £3 more than ballet jobs." She did several bit parts in films and theatre when suddenly she was discovered and cast as Gigi for the Broadway play in 1951.

She captured film audiences' hearts in Roman Holiday (1953) as the runaway princess who runs into a journalist, next day cuts off her long hair, rides around on a scooter with Gregory Peck who scares her by pretending the Bocca della verità chopped off his hand, takes part in a river boat party, and finally chooses duty. The costumes were by famed Hollywood designer Edith Head.

Her next movie, and the one that began her lifelong love affair with fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, was Billy Wilder's Sabrina (1954). As the young chauffeur's daughter who falls in love with the rich family's son and is sent away to Paris to learn how to cook, girls around the world identified with her. When she returns from Paris as an elegant and stunning young woman and catches the attention of both William Holden and Humphrey Bogart, all the while wearing the most stunning couture creations, we too could imagine turning into just such graceful beauties, who could make a soufflé and wrap hearts around our pinkies.

Next came Funny Face (1957) with Fred Astaire — Audrey did her own dancing. Last year's GAP ads were lifted directly from a scene in this movie.

A string of films followed until in 1961, Audrey starred in the movie version of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. As Holly Golightly, the girl who is always searching for something, never settling down, and finding paradise at Tiffany's jewelry store, Audrey wore some of the most influential clothes in film history.

"See what I mean, how nothing bad could happen to you
in a place like this?"    —Breakfast at Tiffany's

Just consider that last year's Christie's auction of the dress closed at $923,187! Actually, the buyer was the House of Givenchy, who felt it too important a piece of their history to let slip through their fingers.

Photo: Christie's Images Ltd - Ronald Grant Archive

Audrey Hepburn went on to star in many more movies, including My Fair Lady. Her later years were spent as a special ambassador for UNICEF. Of her important work, Hepburn said: "Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanization of politics."

Audrey Hepburn died of cancer on 20 January 1993 at her home in Switzerland. Her legacy lives on.

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Alexandria said...

I love Audrey! This is such a great post...I read all the way through. Thanks for the fascinating history of this amazing actress and humanitarian.

d.edlen said...

Such a stunning beauty. I just had to paint her first once I decided to paint actresses as well as musicians. I just posted my painting on my blog at Your photos are excellent! Thank you for taking the time to put together this post!

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bkesch said...

I'm a ballet dancer and I admire Audrey Hepurn so much, I didn't know she danced ballet too!! I think she is one of the most beautiful and kind people in the world!!! <3
I like your blog very much, this is the first time I read it, I've notice you haven't write anything lately... I hope you start writing again soon!!

Anonymous said...

SHE IS A BEAUTIFUL actress, I love her films!

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