On May 4th, 1929 an icon was born. Audrey Hepburn had beauty and elegance, charm and charisma, while showing style and humility that may never be matched but always remembered. Her intelligence may have been even more impressive as she was fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Italian. Her father was an English banker and her mother a Dutch baroness. During World War II, a 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 in 1967.
With minimal success early on in Europe as a model and actress she embarked to the United States to begin a remarkable career in Hollywood in 1953. That year she starred in Roman Holiday in which she won an Oscar for best actress. A string of success and hits followed with another wonderful performance in Sabrina in 1954, for which she received another Academy nomination, and Love in the Afternoon in 1957, also garnered rave reviews. Audrey was quoted as saying, “I never thought I'd land in pictures with a face like mine,” ironically she scored another hit in the 1957 classic Funny Face. In 1959, she received yet another nomination for her role in The Nun's Story. 1959 also saw Audrey turn down a role in the film “The Diary of Anne Frank” 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. Audrey reached the pinnacle of her career when she played Holly Golightly in the delightful film Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, which she received another nomination. Marilyn Monroe made it fashionable and many didn’t even know it but Audrey Hepburn sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to JFK for his final birthday in 1963. One of Audrey's most memorable roles was in the fine production of My Fair Lady in 1964. Two more notable movies, Two for the Road and another nomination in Wait Until Dark, came out in 1967. Audrey decided to retire shortly after while she was still on top.
In 1988, Audrey became a special ambassador to the United Nations UNICEF fund helping children in Latin America and Africa, a position she retained until her death on January 20th, 1993 in Tolochnaz, Switzerland from appendicular cancer. In 1990 she had a breed of tulip named after her and 13 years after her death, on December 5th 2006, her famous "little black dress" from Breakfast at Tiffany's was auctioned off to raise money for impoverished children in India and raised an astonishing $920,000.
AUDREY BY THE NUMBERS
50 - She was named to People's magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 1990. 50 - Ranked in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time." 21 - She was voted the 21st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly. 18 - She was voted the 18th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine and #1 most romantic all time. 9 - As of 2005, she is one of only nine performers to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy Award. 5 - Hepburn starred in five of the movies listed by American Film Institute in its Top 100 U.S. love stories. They are Roman Holiday (1953), ranked #4, Sabrina (1954) ranked #54, My Fair Lady (1964) ranked #12, Two for the Road (1967) at #57, and Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) #61. 3 - Was named #3 on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends. 1 - In 1996 the British magazine Harpers & Queen conducted a poll to find the most fascinating women of our time… She was in the #1 spot. 1 - Voted #1 in TheAge.com's Top 100: Natural Beauties of all time.