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The Audrey Hepburn Bio

The Audrey Hepburn Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

Breakfast at Tiffany's / Roman Holiday

There is no question that Audrey, with no little help from Gregory Peck, was the source of the success of "Roman Holiday." She came out of nowhere to win the Academy Award for it. You could make a case for any of the Romances or for "Charade," but it is the transcendent Holly Golightly that will go down as one of the great performances of all time.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
The Secret People (a ballerina, in her first significant film role)
The Nun's Story (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as a nun wrestling with her vows)
The Children's Hour (with James Garner and Shirley MacLaine, accused by a student of being a lesbian)
How to Steal a Million (plots with Peter O'Toole to steal a statue to save her father's reputation)
Two for the Road (Golden globe-nominated performance in an anti-romance with Albert Finney)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Holly Golightly, the role that author Capote wanted for Marilyn Monroe)
My Fair Lady (Golden Globe-nominated performance as Eliza Doolittle, opposite Rex Harrison)
Roman Holiday (first leading role and Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance as a runaway princess, with Gregory Peck)
Sabrina (Oscar-nominated performance as an all-grown-up daughter of the chauffeur of brothers Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, who vie for her affection)
Funny Face (clerk turned supermodel, opposite photographer love Fred Astaire)
Love in the Afternoon (Golden Globe-nominated performance as the daughter of Maurice Chevalier and quest of the older Gary Cooper)
War and Peace (Golden Globe-nominated performance as Natasha)
The Unforgiven (an Indian child, adopted by Lillian Gish)
Charade (Golden Globe-nominated performance, pursued by Cary Grant and Walter Matthau for her murdered husband's secret cache)
Wait Until Dark (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as a blind woman pursued by the psychotic Alan Arkin for drugs that were unknowingly in her possession)
Robin and Marian (Marian, opposite Sean Connery as Robin Hood)
The Real Audrey Hepburn:

Perhaps "My Fair Lady" of "Funny Face" would be closer to the real Audrey, but "Sabrina" shows a woman whose metamorphosis was really just growing up, blossoming, not changing, except in the eyes of the Larrabee brothers. Training as a ballerina in Nazi-occupied Holland, and after the war struggling to make ends meet, she switched to theatre because it paid more. She was discovered by no less than Colette, the author of "Gigi," and became Gigi on Broadway.
Acting Style:
Innocence. Audrey Hepburn was not the first star who capitalized on a waifish innocence, but she is surely the paragon. It doesn't seem possible in today's society for an actress to approach her... as "Roman Holiday" director William Wyler noted, "charm, innocence and talent. She was also very funny." The New York Times summed it up more precisely with, "Slender, elfin and wistful, alternately regal and childlike." So strong was this persona that, cast completely against type in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," her innocence won out, so to speak; the audience barely cared to connect the dots that she was a call girl.
Bits and Quirks:
Accentuates the waifish look, looking up, being shot from above. Widening the eyes in a girlish fashion. Sticking out the lower lip. Many demure poses, some with hands held in front of her and head bowed. Great ballerina walk, with perfect poise. The soft voice with a (genuine) untraceable but foreign accent.
Great Scenes:
Roman Holiday

> Sleeping on the bench when she meets Gregory Peck, seemingly drunk, going to his apartment
> the crazy scooter ride through Rome
> the dance and the the aftermath, fighting with the "plain clothes" men of her father
> the press conference at the end

Breakfast At Tiffany's

> Playing the guitar on the fire escape, singing Moon River
> At Tiffany's in the morning, eating "breakfast" on the credits
> final scene, with George Peppard and cat


> The "you know what's wrong with you?" scene with Cary Grant
> The standoff between Grant and Matthau

My Fair Lady

> Probably every scene she's in, most notably the first, where, as the flower girl, she meets Rex Harrison

Wait Until Dark

> The showdown in the dark with Alan Arkin
> The fridge light is on though she thinks it's dark > Arkin jumps out at her


> Trying to kill herself and being rescued by Bogart
> Meeting William Holden at the train station
> Dancing with Holden
> Kissing Bogart on the tennis courts
> Sailing with Bogart
> In Bogart's office, saying good-bye
> Singing to Bogie in the car