Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium as Audrey Kathleen Ruston. Her father then subsequently divorced her mother in 1935 which was a hard moment for Audrey. Hepburn was raised in the Netherlands during the Second World War as her mother thought her and her children would be safe there from the war.
She studied ballet in Arnhem and then moved to London in 1948 where she continued to train in ballet and worked as a photographer’s model.
Back In 1944, the Germans blocked the resupply routes of Dutch people’s already limited food and fuel supplies. People starved and froze to death in the streets. Hepburn and many others resorted to making flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuits.
Hepburn said “I have memories. More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him and he stepped on to the train. I was a child observing a child”.
She became part of many European films before playing Gigi in a show on Broadway in the early 50’s. She then played the lead female role in Roman Holiday , winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. She won a few BAFTA Awards for movies she performed as well.
Hepburn worked besides many of the big names in the movie industry of her time such as Gregory Peck, Rex Harrison, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Albert Finney and the list goes on and on.
She received Academy Award nominations for Sabrina in 1954, The Nun’s Story 1959, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 and Wait Until Dark in 1967.
Hepburn and Gregory Peck became close during filming of Roman Holiday and rumors started that they were romantically involved, both denied it. Hepburn added, “Actually, you have to be a little bit in love with your leading man and vice versa. If you’re going to portray love, you have to feel it. You can’t do it any other way. But you don’t carry it beyond the set”. Her and Peck became lifelong friends. After her death, Peck went on camera and tearfully recited her favorite poem, “Unending Love” by Rabindranath Tagore.
Hepburn met Mel Ferrer at a party hosted by Gregory Peck. She had seen him in the film Lili and was captivated by his performance. Ferrer later sent Hepburn the script for the play Ondine and Hepburn agreed to play the role. Rehearsals started in January 1954 and Hepburn and Ferrer were married on the 24th of September. They had 1 son together, Sean – in 1960.
Hepburn had two miscarriages before the birth of her first son, the first of which was in March 1955. She broke her back after falling off a horse onto a rock. She spent weeks in the hospital and later had a miscarriage that was said to have been induced by physical and mental stress.
Givenchy and Hepburn developed a lasting friendship and she was often a muse for many of his designs. They formed a lifelong friendship and partnership.
She met Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti on a cruise and fell in love with him during a trip to Greece to see the ruins. She believed she would have more children and possibly stop working. She married him on 18 January 1969.
At 1967, after fifteen highly successful years in film, Hepburn decided to devote more time to her family and acted only occasionally. After her divorce from Ferrer, she married Italian psychiatrist Dr. Andrea Dotti and had a second son.
Although Dotti loved Hepburn and was well-liked by Sean, who called him “fun”, he began having affairs with younger women. They had 1 son, Luca in 1969. After her separation from Dotti, she attempted a comeback co-starring with Sean Connery in 1976 on the film Robin and Marian. Her last movie was in was in Steven Spielberg’s Always, filmed in 1988.
Soon after Hepburn’s final film role, she was appointed a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Grateful for her own good fortune after enduring the German occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the poorest nations.
From 1980 until her death, she lived with the actor Robert Wolders. She died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
Hepburn was voted, “Most Beautiful Woman Of All Time” in a poll of beauty experts. Her fashion styles also continue to be popular among women till this day. She’s definitely a truly remarkable actress and woman.