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Audrey Hepburn Facts

Updated on August 26, 2013
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn | Source

A picture of charm, beauty, elegance, and grace, Audrey Hepburn is a true icon of the twentieth century – both in Hollywood as well as the world of fashion. She captured the hearts of moviegoers in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, and Sabrina, and she gave new meaning to femininity in fashions from Givenchy and Salvatore Ferragamo. Yet there’s so much more to this stunning, yet extremely humble beauty. Below are some interesting facts you may or may not know about Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn Trivia

  • Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, Belgium.
  • Mother was Baroness Ella van Heemstra – a Dutch aristocrat of Frisian ancestry.
  • Was a proficient ballet dancer, and during the 1940’s would dance for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance.
  • Adopted the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra in 1940 to evade capture by the Germans – an “English sounding” name was considered dangerous during the German occupation.
  • Was 5 feet 6 ½ inches tall.
  • Had a breed of tulip named after her in 1990.
  • Was fluent in English, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Italian.
  • First film appearance was in 1948 as an air stewardess in an educational travel film called Dutch in Seven Lessons.
  • Suffered from malnutrition, acute anemia, and respiratory problems during the war, which contributed to her lifelong waif-like figure.
  • Was discovered for the title role in the Broadway play Gigi while on location filming a small role for Monte Carlo Baby.
  • Trained as a dental assistant before making it as an actress.
  • At the age of 16, she served as a volunteer nurse in a Dutch hospital during the battle of Arnhem and ended up treating Terrence Young – a young British paratrooper who would go on to direct her more than 20 years later in Wait Until Dark.
  • Owned a Yorkshire Terrier name “Mr. Famous.”
  • Was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF in 1988.
  • Has been quoted as saying “I never thought I’d land in pictures with a face like mine.”
  • Traveled to Turkey in 1988 on an immunization campaign.
  • Suffered several miscarriages but had two sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti.
  • First starring role was as Princess Ann, opposite Gregory Peck, in Roman Holiday – she won an Academy Award for her performance.
  • Spent hours in convents and with members of the church to prepare for her role as Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story.
  • Was married twice – first to Mel Ferrer (1954 – 1968) and then to Andrea Dotti (1969 – 1982).
  • Ranked #3 on The American Film Institute’s 50 Greatest Screen Legends.
  • Had contributed to UNICEF since 1954.
  • Loved to garden.
  • One of only a few people to have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony awards.
  • Felt she was miscast as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • Received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award posthumously in 1993.
  • Saved the life of a friend who had attempted suicide.
  • Voted the most beautiful woman of all time by the readers of New Woman magazine in 2006.
  • Smoked three packs a day.
  • Has been quoted as saying “When I’ve made about 70 films and the public still wants me, then I shall think of myself as a star.”
  • Initially refused the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, asking the producer to give the role to Julie Andrews.
  • Final movie role was as an angel in Steven Spielberg’s Always in 1988.
  • Donated all the salaries she earned for her final projects to UNICEF.
  • Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1992.
  • Featured on a 37 cent commemorative stamp in 2003.
  • Died January 20, 1993 in Tolochenaz, Switzerland from appendiceal cancer – she was 63.
  • Lives on through the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, established by her sons in 1994.

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    • GiblinGirl profile image
      Author

      GiblinGirl 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Easy Exercise - I'm glad you were able to learn some things about Audrey Hepburn. You can find out more about her children's fund at audreyhepburn.com.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      Giblingirl,

      This is one of my all time heroines! I love, love Audrey Hepburn and I learned so much about her from this hub. I want to learn more about her Children's Fund - any suggestions?

      To me, she was beautiful both inside and out. What a wonderful tribute to her life. Thank you!

    • LA Elsen profile image

      LA Elsen 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Great hub and thanks for sharing many new facts about her. Audrey was always one of my favorites. I can't believe she thought of herself as miscast in Breakfast at Tiffany's. This shows how humble an beautiful she truly was. Voted up and shared.