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|Audrey Hepburn Biography and Filmography
Birthday: May 4, 1929
Birth Place: Brussels, Belgium
Height: 5' 7"
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Magical screen presence, fashion arbiter, shrine to good taste, and tireless crusader for children's rights, Audrey Hepburn has become one of the most enduring screen icons of the twentieth century. Best-known for her film roles in Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday and Charade, Hepburn epitomized a waif-like glamour, combining charm, effervescence, and grace. When she died of colon cancer in 1993, the actress was the subject of endless tributes which mourned the passing of one who left an indelible imprint on the world, both on and off screen.Born into relative prosperity and influence on May 4, 1929, Hepburn was the daughter of a Dutch baroness and a wealthy British banker. Although she was born in Brussels, Belgium, her early years were spent traveling between England, Belgium, and the Netherlands because of her father's job. At the age of five, Hepburn was sent to England for boarding school; a year later, her father abandoned the family, something that would have a profound effect on the actress for the rest of her life. More upheaval followed in 1939, when her mother moved her and two sons from a previous marriage to the neutral Netherlands: the following year the country was invaded by the Nazis and Hepburn and her family were forced to endure the resulting hardships. During the German occupation, Hepburn suffered from malnutrition (which would permanently affect her weight), witnessed various acts of Nazi brutality, and at one point was forced into hiding with her family. One thing that helped her through the war years was her love of dance: trained in ballet since the age of five, Hepburn continued to study, often giving classes out of her mother's home.It was her love of dance that ultimately led Hepburn to her film career. After the war, her family relocated to Amsterdam, where the actress continued to train as a ballerina and modeled for extra money. Hepburn's work led to a 1948 screen test and a subsequent small role in the 1948 Dutch film Nederlands in Zeven Lessen (Dutch in Seven Lessons). The same year, she and her mother moved to London, where Hepburn had been given a dance school scholarship. Continuing to model on the side, she decided that because of her height and lack of training, her future was not in dance. She tried out for and won a part in the chorus line of the stage show High Button Shoes and was soon working regularly on the stage. An offer from the British Pictures Corporation led to a few small roles, including one in 1951's The Lavender Hill Mob. A major supporting role in the 1952 film The Secret People led to Monte Carlo, Baby (1953), and it was during the filming of that movie that fate struck for the young actress in the form of a chance encounter with Colette. The famed novelist and screenwriter decided that Hepburn would be perfect for the title role in Gigi, and Hepburn was soon off to New York to star in the Broadway show. It was at this time that the actress won her first major screen role in William Wyler's 1953 Roman Holiday. After much rehearsal and patience from Wyler (from whom, Hepburn remarked, she "learned everything"), Hepburn garnered acclaim for her portrayal of an incognito European princess, winning an Academy Award as Best Actress and spawning what became known as the Audrey Hepburn "look." More success came the following year with Billy Wilder's Sabrina. Hepburn won a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in the title role, and continued to be a fashion inspiration, thanks to the first of many collaborations with the designer Givenchy, who designed the actress' gowns for the film.Hepburn also began another collaboration that year, this time with actor/writer/producer Mel Ferrer. After starring with him in the Broadway production of Ondine (and winning a Tony in the process), Hepburn married Ferrer, and their sometimes tumultuous partnership would last for the better part of the next fifteen years. She went on to star in a series of successful films during the remainder of the decade, including War and Peace (1956), 1957's Funny Face, and The Nun's Story (1959), for which she won another Oscar nomination.Following lukewarm reception for Green Mansions (1959) and The Unforgiven (1960), Hepburn won another Oscar nomination and a certain dose of icon status for her role as enigmatic party girl Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). The role, and its accompanying air of cosmopolitan chic, would be associated with Hepburn for the rest of her life, and indeed beyond. However, the actress next took on an entirely different role with William Wyler's The Children's Hour (1961), a melodrama in which she played a girls' school manager suspected of having an "unnatural relationship" with her best friend (Shirley MacLaine).In 1963, Hepburn returned to the realm of enthusiastic celluloid heterosexuality with Charade. The film was a huge success, thanks in part to a flawlessly photogenic pairing with Cary Grant (who had previously turned down the opportunity to work with Hepburn because of their age difference). The actress then went on to make My Fair Lady in 1964, starring opposite Rex Harrison as a cockney flower girl. The film provided another success for Hepburn, winning a score of Oscars and a place in motion picture history. After another Wyler collaboration, 1965's How to Steal a Million, as well as Two for the Road (1967) and the highly acclaimed Wait Until Dark (1967)—for which she won her fifth Oscar nomination playing a blind woman—Hepburn went into semi-retirement to raise her two young sons. Her marriage to Ferrer had ended, and she had married again, this time to Italian doctor Andrea Dotti. She came out of retirement briefly in 1975 to star opposite Sean Connery in Robin and Marian, but her subsequent roles were intermittent and in films of varying quality. Aside from appearances in 1979's Bloodline and Peter Bogdanovich's 1980 They All Laughed, Hepburn stayed away from film, choosing instead to concentrate on her work with starving children. After divorcing Dotti in the early 1980s, she took up with Robert Wolders; the two spent much of their time travelling the world as part of Hepburn's goodwill work. In 1987, the actress was officially appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; the same year she made her final television appearance in Love Among Thieves, which netted poor reviews. Two years later, she had her final film appearance as an angel in Steven Spielberg's Always.Hepburn devoted the last years of her life to her UNICEF work, travelling to war-torn places like Somalia to visit starving children. In 1992, already suffering from colon cancer, she was awarded the Screen Actors' Guild Achievement Award. She died the next year, succumbing to her illness on January 20 at her home in Switzerland. The same year, she was posthumously awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
- Was first choice for the lead in A Taste of Honey (1961).
- Ranked #50 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
- Mother of Sean H. Ferrer, with first husband, Mel Ferrer.
- Son, Luca Dotti (b. 8 February 1970), with second husband, Dr. Andrea Dotti.
- Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. 
- After Wait Until Dark (1967) was offered the leads in 40 Carats (1973), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and The Turning Point (1977) but decided to stay in retirement and raise her sons.
- Interred in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland.
- Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#8). 
- Turned down the film Gigi (1958) after creating the character in the Broadway non musical play.
- Everyone remembers when Marilyn Monroe serenaded President John F. Kennedy on his birthday in 1962. What is often forgotten is that Audrey Hepburn sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to JFK for his final birthday in 1963.
- Had a breed of tulip named after her in 1990.
- Died on January 20, 1993, the 67th birthday of Patricia Neal. They starred together in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).
- She won the 1953 Best Actress Academy Award for Roman Holiday (1953). On March 25th, 1954, she accepted the award from the much revered Academy president Jean Hersholt. After accepting the award, Audrey kissed him smack on the mouth, instead of the cheek, in her excitement. Minutes after accepting her 1953 Oscar, Audrey realized that she'd misplaced it. Turning quickly on the steps of the Center Theater in New York, she raced back to the ladies' room, retrieved the award, and was ready to pose for photographs.
- Christened simply Audrey Kathleen Ruston, her mother Baroness Ella Van Heemstra temporarily changed the actress' name from Audrey to Edda during the war, feeling that "Audrey" might indicate her British roots too strongly. During the war, being English in occupied Holland was not an asset; it could have attracted the attention of the occupying German forces and resulted in confinement or even deportation. After the war, her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, found documents about his ancestors, some of whom bore the name Hepburn. This is when he added it to his name, which caused her daughter to have to legally add Hepburn to her name as well, thus Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston.
- Was fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch/Flemish and Italian.
- Was briefly considered for the main role in Cleopatra (1963) but the part went to Elizabeth Taylor
- She confessed to eating tulip bulbs and tried to bake grass into bread during the hard days of World War II.
- Audrey felt that she was miscast as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) although it was one of her most popular roles.
- Was trained as a dental assistant before making it big.
- Broke her back during filming of a horse-riding scene in The Unforgiven (1960)
- Henry Mancini said of her: "'Moon River' was written for her. No one else had ever understood it so completely. There have been more than a thousand versions of 'Moon River', but hers is inquestionably the greatest".
- Turned down a role in the film The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) because, as a young girl in Holland during the war, she had witnessed Nazi soldiers publicly executing people in the streets and herding Jews onto railroad cars to be sent to the death camps. She said that participating in the film would bring back too many painful memories for her.
- Like Humphrey Bogart, Hepburn also starred in five of the movies listed by American Film Institute in its Top 100 U.S. love stories (2002). They are Roman Holiday (1953), ranked #4 on the list, Sabrina (1954) ranked #54, which co-starred Bogart, My Fair Lady (1964) ranked #12, Two for the Road (1967) at #57 and Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) #61.
- During World War II, 16-year-old Audrey was a volunteer nurse in a Dutch hospital. During the battle of Arnhem, Hepburn's hospital received many wounded Allied soldiers. One of the injured soldiers young Audrey helped nurse back to health was a young British paratrooper - and future director - named Terence Young. More than 20 years later, Young directed Hepburn in Wait Until Dark (1967).
- Measurements: 34A-20-34 (as recorded in 1953), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
- In 1954, she was presented with her Best Actress Oscar for Roman Holiday (1953) by Jean Hersholt. In 1993, she was posthumously awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
- In Arnhem, Holland, during the Second World War, she worked with the Dutch Underground, giving ballet performances to collect donations for the anti-Nazi effort.
- Presented the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards four times (in 1955, 1960, 1966, and 1975) more than any other actress.
- Told People Magazine that she was very self-conscious about her size-10 feet.
- She was voted the 21st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- In 1993 she became the thirteenth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting. Oscar - Best Actress for Roman Holiday (1953), Tony for Best Actress in a Play for Ondine (1954), and Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement - Informational Programming for "Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn" (1993) (mini).
- Was fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy's muse, who dressed her for the films Sabrina (1954), Funny Face (1957), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Paris - When It Sizzles (1964), How to Steal a Million (1966), Charade (1963), and Love Among Thieves (1987) (TV).
- In 1996, the British magazine Harpers & Queen conducted a pool to find the most fascinating women of our time. She was in the number one spot.
- As of 2005, Audrey is only one of nine performers to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy Award.
- She was of Belgian, Dutch, English and Irish descent.
- Followed winning the Academy Award for Roman Holiday (1953) with winning Broadway's 1954 Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "Ondine."
- Voted #1 in TheAge.com's Top 100: Natural Beauties of all time.
- Was Hubert de Givenchy's muse ever since they met at a Sabrina (1954) wardrobe rehearsal.
- She owned a Yorkshire Terrier called "Mr. Famous".
- She was voted the 18th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
- Was named #3 on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends
- Her biggest film regret was not getting the Anne Bancroft role in The Turning Point (1977). "That was the one film", she later admitted, "that got away from me."
- Is portrayed by Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000) (TV)
- When she failed to receive an Academy Award-nomination for her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964), Katharine Hepburn wired her with a message of encouragement: "Don't worry about it. You'll get it one day for a part that doesn't rate it." Ironically, when Audrey's next (and last) nomination came for Wait Until Dark (1967) in 1967, Hepburn beat her in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - in a part that arguably didn't rate it.
- Her character in Funny Face (1957) was inspired by Suzy Parker, who made a fashionable cameo appearance in the film (her first film) in the "Think Pink" sequence.
- According to her biography, "Audrey Hepburn: An Intimate Portrait", she made a vow to herself never to exceed 103 pounds. With the exception of her pregnancies, she succeeded.
- Turned down the title role in Gigi (1958) to make Funny Face (1957). Ironically, her agent initially rejected the film, but Hepburn overrode the decision after reading the script. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, makes a cameo appearance as a sidewalk café patron, and her Yorkshire terrier "Mr. Famous" appears as the dog in the basket during the "Anna Karenina" train shot. Hepburn did not want to be separated from husband Mel Ferrer, so filming of the Paris scenes was timed to coincide with Ferrer's filming of Elena et les hommes (1956). Paris' unseasonably rainy weather had to be worked into the script, particularly during the balloons photo shoot scene. During filming of the Paris scenes, much of the crew and cast were on edge because of riots and political violence that were gripping the city. The soggy weather played havoc with the shooting of the wedding dress dance scene. Both Fred Astaire and Hepburn were continually slipping in the muddy and slippery grass. In Funny Face (1957), she was lucky enough to sing several songs. Her next full musical, My Fair Lady (1964), saw her voice overdubbed by Marni Nixon, much to her disappointment. The face portrait unveiled in the darkroom scene was photographed by Richard Avedon. The film was shot back-to-back with Love in the Afternoon (1957).
- According to director William Friedkin, Audrey was Warner Bros. first choice for the role of Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist (1973) after her box-office successes with the studio's The Nun's Story (1959), My Fair Lady (1964) and Wait Until Dark (1967). She would only agree to star if the film were made in Rome. Both Friedkin and writer William Peter Blatty rejected the proposal.
- Her performance as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) is ranked #32 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- Her performance as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) is ranked #32 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.