Audrey Hepburn was a British actress. Recognised as a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood’s Golden Age. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about her!
1.Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born 4 May 1929.
2.Born in Ixelles, a district of Brussels, Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands.
3.In Amsterdam, she studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell before moving to London in 1948, continuing her ballet training with Marie Rambert, and then performing as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions.
4.Following minor appearances in several films, Hepburn starred in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi after being spotted by French novelist Colette, on whose work the play was based.
5.She shot to stardom for playing the lead role in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she was the first actress to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance.
6.The same year Hepburn won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Ondine.
7.She went on to star in a number of successful films, such as Sabrina (1954), The Nun’s Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964) and Wait Until Dark (1967), for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.
8.Hepburn won a record three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role.
9.In recognition of her film career, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and the Special Tony Award. She remains one of the few people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.
10.Audrey Hepburn helped the Resistance during World War II, but her parents were Nazi sympathizers.
11.Her father Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (1889–1980) was an English and Austrian decent, while her mother Ella van Heemstra (1900–1984) was a Dutch baroness.
12.Ruston and Heemstra got married in the year 1926 in the Dutch-Colonial Batavia, Dutch East Indies.
13.Her mother, Ella already married Jonkheer (Esquire) Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, at the age of nineteen, but in 1925, they filed for divorce.
14.From this marriage Audrey had two-half brothers – Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford (1920–1979) and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford (1924–2010).
15.Ruston settled in London following the divorce and remained emotionally detached with Audrey until his death, though she supported him financially.
16.Audrey’s parents – Ruston and van Heemstra filed for divorce in 1935, after Ella finding Ruston in bed with Nanny of Audrey.
17.Audrey Hepburn’s activism during World War II was always a part of her official biography. The British-born actress moved to Holland during the war because her Dutch mother believed they would be safe in a country that had pledged to stay neutral. The Nazis invaded anyway.
18.Hepburn, like millions of others, nearly starved when the Nazis cut off food supplies. Her envied slender figure was the result of being malnourished during adolescence.
19.During her screen test for Roman Holiday, she recalled performing ballet for audiences that were afraid to applaud because they didn’t want the Nazis to catch them.
20.During the war time, she suffered from edema, malnutrition, respiratory problems and acute anemia.
21.She was deathly afraid of water. In a scene for the movie “Two for the Road” with Albert Finney, Audrey had to be thrown into the pool. Audrey was extremely scared of drowning – so outside of the shot, part of the film crew was in the pool ready to grab Audrey for her comfort if something were to happen.
22.After the war, she, as a proficient ballet dancer, took ballet lessons for 3 years in Amsterdam in 1945.
23.She decided to make acting her career as she couldn’t attain the status of prima ballerina, due to her height and weakness (the after effect of malnutrition).
24.She was an introvert. Unlike most celebrities, Audrey did not crave the spotlight or being surrounded by groups of fans and entourages.
25.She’s in the EGOT club. Hepburn is one of only 12 people in the world who have won 4 major awards, being: an Emmy ( host of Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn), a Grammy (spoken word album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales), an Oscar (best actress for Roman Holiday) and a Tony (best actress in Ondine).
26.In 1952, Audrey was engaged to young James Hanson, who she fell in love with at the first sight, during her London dancing days.
27.However, she decided that the marriage wouldn’t work, due to different career paths, which she felt would keep them apart, and that she would concentrate on her career.
28.She played her first major supporting character in The Secret People in 1952.
29.Her first starring role was as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday in 1953, for which she won an Oscar as Best Actress.
30.Her favorite color was cyan. Audrey Hepburn favorite color was thought by some to be White (which is really not a color anyways) but according to her son Luca Dotti in a Vanity Fair article, her favorite color is actually cyan.
31.In January 1954, Audrey met the American actor Mel Ferrer at a cocktail party and agreed to do a play – Ondine with him.
32.Within just 8 months, the duo – Audrey and Mel, married in Burgenstock on 25 September 1954, the co-stars of War and Peace (1955).
33.She had 2 miscarriages – in 1955 and 1959. Later she took a year off work.
34.Trained аs а dental assistant bеfоrе making іt аs аn actress. Audrey was training as a dental assistant right before she was found by a talent scout who wanted her on the broadway play “Gigi” which was her big break.
35.Her only son – Sean Hepburn Ferrer was born on 17 July 1960.
36.Ferrer was often referred as being Audrey’s ‘Svengali’ by others and that he is too controlling of Audrey, an accusation that she laughed off.
37.She claimed that they were inseparable and happy together, as a response to the gossip columns which insisted that their marriage would not last.
38.However, after two miscarriages again in 1965 and 1967, she filed for divorce with Mel Ferrer on 5 December 1968, after 14-years of marriage.
39.Audrey spoke five languages – Italian, French and Spanish, along with her native Dutch and English.
40.She married him at the age of 39 on 18 January 1969 and hoped to have more children.
41.Her next son Luca Dotti was born on 8 February 1970. Audrey had another miscarriage in 1974.
42.Andrea Dotti was loved by Audrey and was even well liked by his step son Sean, who called him to be “fun.”
43.Audrey met Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in June 1968 on a cruise by Princess Olimpia Emmanuela Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, and fell in love with him.
44.16-year-old Audrey Hepburn was a volunteer nurse during World War II in a Dutch hospital.
45.French designer Givenchy was her personal stylist and were long lifetime friends.
46.She received Presidential Medal of Freedom honor from the United States president George H. W. Bush, in recognition of her work as Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF.
47.Hepburn appeared in fewer films as her life went on, devoting much of her later life to UNICEF. She had contributed to the organisation since 1954, then worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992.
48.She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992.
49.She was diagnosed with abdominal cancer that spread from her appendix on November 1, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
50.Audrey underwent 5-fluorouracil Leucovorin chemotherapy. But few days later, she had another obstruction and had a further surgery on 1 December.
51.Hepburn died at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63 in January 20, 1993.