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Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn 1956.jpg
Hepburn in 1956
Audrey Kathleen Ruston

4 May 1929
Brussels, Belgium
Died 20 January 1993 (aged 63)
Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland
Other names Edda van Heemstra
Years active 1948–1993
Height 5' 7" (1.71 m)
Spouse(s) Mel Ferrer
(m. 1954–1968, divorced)
Andrea Dotti
(m. 1969–1982, divorced)
Partner(s) Robert Wolders (1980–1993; her death)

Audrey Hepburn (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a Belgian-born British actress admired for her charm and elegance.

Early life

Born in Brussels, Belgium, to an English father and a Dutch mother who were divorced in 1935. She grew up in Arnhem municipality in the Netherlands during the war, with her mother and two maternal half-brothers. When World War II ended, she and her mother moved to England. There, she studied ballet, and began working as a model and appearing in bit parts in the theatre and in movies.


Hepburn got her first major break in 1951, when she was chosen by French writer Colette to play the lead role in the English version of her play Gigi on Broadway.

This led to her being cast in the lead female part in the movie Roman Holiday (1953), opposite Gregory Peck. The movie made her an instant international star. Her performance won her the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award and the BAFTA for best actress. She then appeared in a string of successful romantic comedies, such as Sabrina (1954), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963), How to Steal a Million (1967), etc. She also appeared in two musicals; Funny Face (1957) and My Fair Lady (1964) and tackled more dramatic roles in movies such as War and Peace (1956), The Nun's Story (1959), The Children's Hour (1961), Two for the Road (1967) and the thriller Wait Until Dark (1967).

After an eight years absence from the screen to take care of her family, she returned with Robin and Marian (1976), opposite Sean Connery. She also appeared in Bloodline (1979) and They All Laughed (1981) but retired for good shortly after.

In later life, she worked as a Goodwill Ambassasor for UNICEF and hosted a television series The Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn. She was married twice; first to actor/director Mel Ferrer in 1954, with whom she had a son Sean (b. 1960), and second to Italian psychiatrist Doctor Andrea Dotti in 1969, with whom she had a second son Luca (b. 1970). Both marriages ended in divorce. While she vacationed with her mother in Arnhem, Netherlands, Hitler's army took over the town. It was here that she fell on hard times during the Nazi occupation. Audrey suffered from depression and malnutrition.After the liberation, she went to a ballet school in London on a scholarship and later began a modeling career. As a model, she was graceful and, it seemed, she had found her niche in life--until the film producers came calling. In 1948, after being spotted modeling by a producer, she was signed to a bit part in the European film Dutch in Seven Lessons(1948).Later, she had a speaking role in the 1951 film, Young Wives' Tale (1951) as Eve Lester. The part still wasn't much, so she headed to America to try her luck there. Audrey gained immediate prominence in the US with her role in Roman Holiday (1953). This film turned out to be a smashing success, and she won an Oscar as Best Actress.On September 25, 1954, she married actor Mel Ferrer. She also starred in Sabrina(1954), for which she received another Academy Award nomination.She starred in the films Funny Face (1957) and Love in the Afternoon (1957). She received yet another Academy Award nomination for her role in The Nun's Story (1959).

Death and legacy

Hepburn died of appendix cancer in January 1993. Her elder son, Sean Ferrer, later wrote a book about his mother, called Audrey Hepburn: an elegant spirit. The asteroid 4238 Audrey is named after her.

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