AUDREY HEPBURN BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Audrey Hepburn was born May 4th, 1929 with the birth name Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Brussels, Belgium. She was an only child born to parents Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, an English Banker and his second wife, Ella Van Heemstra the former Baroness Ella.
Even though she was born in Belgium, she had British citizenship and therefore attended school in England as a child. Her family often traveled between Brussels and England due to her fathers career. Between 1935 and 1938, Hepburn was educated at Miss Rigden's School, an independent girls' school in the village of Elham, Kent in the southeast of England. This was because her father walked out on her at the young age of 5 so she was sent to live at Boarding School. As a young child she had an interest in dancing and began taking ballet lessons.
As a teenager, she lived in Holland in occupied territory during the war. Her mother felt it was safest she live in Holland and learn to speak Dutch. At one point her entire family's belongings were all confiscated during the war and her mother feared for Audrey's safety.
In 1941, Audrey decided to take ballet seriously and began training under Winja Marova at the Arnhem School of Music. She studied there till 1944. She witnessed horrible things during the war, such as her Uncle and four other people being executed by the Nazi's right before her eyes.
In 1943, Audrey finds an outlet for her talents in a series of 'blackout performances' that were held in secret. These performances also served as a fundraiser for the resistance. Audrey also worked as a courier for the Resistance carrying messages and illegal leaflets.
Audrey began helping out at the dance school as an instructor and earned her family extra money by giving private lessons. The war was so bad and food was so scarce that Audrey had to briefly stop dancing as she was too weak to keep it up. However at the age of fifteen, things were a little better and she returned to her love of dancing.
She then appeared with other students at Arnhem's municipal theater in a recital that wins attention from a magazine critic. In 1945, finally Holland is liberated on May 4th, Audrey's 16th birthday. She was suffering greatly at that time from mal nutrition, anelia and jaundice.
Her mother then decided to put focus back into audrey's career and they relocated back to Amersterdam. Audrey began studying with Sonia Gaskell and in 1946, Audrey is chosen to dance in a matinee performance at Amerterdam's Hortus theatre. Then in 1948, Audrey and her mother travel to London where Audrey auditioned for the celebrated marie Lambert ballet school. She was accepted on a scholarship, but due to lack of funds available her enrollemnt was postponed and in the meantime she moved back to the Netherlands with her mother.
Her break into the film industry occured when some freelance Dutch filmakers gave her a small film role in, "Nederlands in Zeven Lessen". That same year, her funds eere now available for her scholarship and her mother took her back to live in London.
Audrey focussed 100% on her dance until financially her mother could not support them anymore without Audrey's help so she turned to modelling. Audrey was offered a job overseas but instead tried out for the chorus line, "High Button Shoes" and books a small part.
This small part got her noticed for another part in a play called, "Sauce Tartare" (1949) which ran for 433 perormances, refreshed it's name to "Sauce Piquante" and Audrey received an even larger role.
From this point on her career was on the move with parts being offered in, "Laughter in Paradise" (1951) as a cigarette girl and another part in, "One Wild Oat" (1951) followed by another small role in, "Young Wives Tale" (1951). Ealing Studio's then took Audrey on loan for, "The Lavander Hill Mob" (1951) which was named the best film of 1951.
Audrey got a major supporting role in, "The Secret People" (1952) in which she got to utizie her ballet skills in her role. Before this production is even complete another offer came her way for a role in, "Monte Carlo Baby" (1952). Next the director, William Wyler finds her irresistable for his film as the lead in, "Roman Holiday" (1953) starring opposite Gregory Peck. With both a Hollywood movie and a Broadway play underway, Audrey leaves for New York City for her first time alone and away from her mother.
While working in New York on "Gigi" Audreys boyfriend Hanson visits and proposes to her. In 1952, "Gigi" closed prematurely as Paramount Pictures as eager to get working in, "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck. Audrey had to postpone her wedding plans to begin filming the movie and directly after completion she went on tour for 8 months with "Gigi" again, postponing her weedding to Hanson. Her career had an affect on her engagment to Hanson and half way through her "Gigi" tour she announced, the engagement was off.
When roman Holiday was released in london, Audrey meets a man twelve years older then her, Mel Ferrer, but despite the age difference they immediatly fall for one another. Audrey continued to work with her next role on, "Sabrina on Long Island" (1954). Before her nine weeks of filming are up, she is allready offered another role to work with her romantic partner, Ferrer on Broadways, "Ondine" (1954). This play when released, received great reviews and at the same time, Audrey is notfied that she has been nominated for an Academy Award for, "Roman Holiday". March 25th, 1954, she is awarded for Best Actress followed three days later for a Tony Award for best stage actress in, "Ondine".
Her career was booming and so was her personal life. With a proposal from Ferrer, she is married on September 24th, 1954 and soon after finds out she is prgnant with her first child. Audrey and Ferrer decide at that time to make Switzerland their permanant home.
In 1955, Audrey received her 2nd Oscar nomination for her role in, "Sabrina", however Grace Kelly won for, "A Country Girl" and shortly after, Audrey miscarried her during her first pregnancy.
However, neither Ferrer or Audrey stopped working with their next project together being, "War and Peace" (1956) which filmed in Italy. She soon after had the chance to work with Fred Astaire in, "Funny Face" (1957) which was shot in Hollywood over a three month period.
Audrey began her next project on a Television movie, "Mayerling" taped at NBC studio's, however the movie did not get good reviews. Audrey did have the offer to work on, "Diary of Anne Frank" but rejected it as she found the role to relate to close to her childhood war memories. Instead she agreed to work with her husband on, "The Nun's Story" (1959) followed by Ferrer's own project, "Green Mansion" (1959) which released before "The Nun's Story" and actually failed to be a success.
In 1959, Audrey was named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics even though the film, "Nun's Story" won none of the eight Oscars it was nomitated for. Audrey and her husband return home to take a break from their stressful careers, and audrey soon finds out she is again pregnant.
This did not stop her from returning to film her next role on, "The Unforgiven" (1960) starring alongside Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Lillian Gish and Charles Bickford, shot in Mexico. Audrey undergoes a injury and is hospitalized with numerous broken bones, however one month after healing, she is able to complete the filming of the movie, which when released was unfavored by critics.
She returns back home to complete her pregnancy term, however, again she miscarried due to her fall she suffered while filming. Luckily, six months later, Audrey finds herself pregnant again and this time turns down any work until the baby is born. She gives birth to her first son, Sean on July 17th.
In 1961, she takes on a lead role in, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with George Peppard for which again she was nomintated for her fourth Oscar, but did not win. She is not discouraged and continues with her film career on , "The Children's Hour" (1961) where is is reunited with William Wyler. Followed by the filming of "Charade" (1963) with Cary Grant which becomes her biggest box office hit of all time.
Warner brothers casts her next in, "My Fair Lady" (1964) and soon after she again pairs with director, William Wyler for a role on, "How to Steal a Million" (1966) and a couple months later, Audrey is pregannt again, unfortunatly she miscarries for her third time.
Audrey is offered numerous opportunites but she turns them down until, "Two For the Road" (1966) follwed by a role on, "Wait Until Dark" (1967) with her husband as the producer. At this point in her life, she dealt with her marraige crumbling and her health was at risk. However, she did receive another Oscar nomination and the film was a hit. Audrey decides she wants to dedicate more time to family and less to her career which resulte in another miscarriage.
On November 21st, 1968, Ferrer and Hepburn announce their divorce and a year later Audrey married an italian psychiatrist-neurologist, Andrea Dotti. The couple settle in Rome and soon after, Audrey again finds out she is pregnant. She made sure to take every precaution to avoid any more miscarriages and Luca is finally born February 8th, 1970. Most of the 70's, her career was put on hold to care for her two sons.
After turning down many roles, Audrey decided to return to acting with a role on, "Robin and Marian" (1976) which was filmed in Spain and she worked opposite Sean Connery. Her career was still successful, however her marriage to Dotti was not. She did remain married insisting things were fine despite public rumors about him being with other woman. She agree to film, "Bloodline" (1979) and after filming returned home to Rome.
Audrey soon found companionship with Dutch actor Robert Wolders, and her most important role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In September, 1980, it is announced that her marriage to Dotti is finally over.
Audrey proceeds with her next career move a role on a television movie, "Love Among Thieves" (1987), however, the film recieved mostly negative reviews and was Audrey Hepburns last starring role.
She begins to focus on her role with UNICEF visiting some of the World's worst affected places. She agrees to her last and final screen performance to a cameo role in Steven Spielberg's, "Always" (1989).
Upon Audrey's return from a visit to Somalia, she is operated on for colon cancer and spends her recovery at La Paisible, where she is ill for quite some time. Soon though, Audrey received news from the Screen ctors Guild (SAG) that she is to be the January recipient of the SAG Achievment Award. That same year back in Switzerland she receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 for her UNICEF work, delivered in person by the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland.
Four months before her 64th birthday, Audrey hepburn passed away at her home in her sleep. She is buried in the cemetrary at Tolochenaz-sur-Morges on January 24th. In 1993, the Academy posthumously gave Ms. Hepburn the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work as Unicef's ambassador to the world's children, a well deserved tribute to an exceptionally beautiful woman.
1951 Nederlands in 7 Lessen
1951 Laughter in Paradise
1951 One Wild Oat
1951 The Lavender Hill Mob
1951 Young Wives' Tale
1952 The Secret People
1952 Monte Carlo Baby
1953 Roman Holiday
1956 War and Peace
1957 Funny Face
1957 Love in the Afternoon
1959 Green Mansions
1959 The Nun's Story
1960 The Unforgiven
1961 Breakfast at Tiffany's
1961 The Children's Hour
1964 Paris When It Sizzles
1964 My Fair Lady
1966 How to Steal a Million
1967 Two For The Road
1967 Wait Until Dark
1976 Robin and Marian
1981 They All Laughed
1987 Love Among Thieves