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Audrey Hepburn; Fashion and style Personified

Updated on September 22, 2012

Audrey Style

Audrey Hepburn was born in 1929 in Brussels. She was of Irish-Dutch decent.Hepburn spent the war years in Belgium, and suffered many hungry years there. After the war she went to England to complete her education and study ballet. She considered herself to be primarily a dancer.

Hepburn was spotted in a hotel lobby in Monte Carlo by French author Colette. It was decided on the spot that Audrey would be perfect for the leading role in the stage adaptation of Colette's novel Gigi. This story never quite intrigued the public to the level of Lana Turner's being discovered in Schwabs drug store sitting on a stool, but it still aroused the romantic minds of the hopeful Hollywood youths.

Before Gigi, Hepburn had a few very minor parts in several films, but Gigi became her big turning point. She played the role on the Broadway stage, but Leslie Caron was given the role in the movie version. After a screen test at Paramount, Hepburn was given the lead in Roman Holiday 1953, which was shot on location during the summer recess of Gigi. The movie and Audrey Hepburn were a sensation.

Audrey Hepburn was certainly no sex goddess like Rita Hayworth, Jean Harlow, or Lana Turner, but she had a beautifully proportioned stunning face, elegance, and style. She knew how to wear clothes, just as Gloria Swanson had in the 20's.

Although she was now a full fledged movie star, she did not give up on Broadway. She went on to star as a nymph in Ondine. She married her co-star Mel Ferrer at the end of its run. Ferrer played prince Andre to Audrey's Natasha in War and Peace, 1956. To movie critics and the movie going public, Audrey Hepburn was truly Natasha Rostov.

She made a musical in 1957, with Fred Astaire, who had said he was eager to work with her before he got to old. After many hit movies such as The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Children's hour, and Green Mansions, her career seemed to be stalled, but was fueled again by May Fair Lady, in 1964. This was the biggest film to come along in years, and should have been a high point in her career. The film was a financial success, and the sets and designs were stunning, with Audrey wearing fabulous gowns. But Julie Andrews was the original Eiza on Broadway, which led to a heap of negative publicity.

This was to be the very first time that Audrey Hepburn was given negative reviews, and a negative persona. She was the spoiled, rich, greedy Hollywood star stealing the part from the talented Julie Andrews who could sing, while Audrey had her voice dubbed for her singing parts.

She made a chiller in 1967 called Wait Until Dark that gave Hepburn some very favorable recognition as an actress.

In 1968 she divorced Mel Ferrer and married an Italian Psychiatrist. At this point in her career she turned down many roles, occasionally venturing out with Robin and Marian, and They All Laughed in the 70's.

Audrey was still very youthful in appearance in 1992 when she went to Switzerland and began having stomach cramps. She checked herself into a clinic and her tests were inconclusive.

Audrey then decided to have herself examined in Los Angeles, and had more tests done to discover that she had abdominal cancer that had spread from her appendix, not as a tumor, but as a thin coating that lined her small intestine. A very rare form of cancer that had been developing for years. Surgeries and chemotherapy were performed, but the cancer was everywhere, and Audrey had only months to live. Her family sent her back to Switzerland to celebrate her last Christmas. She passed away on 24 January 1993.

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    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Audrey, in my mind, was always the epitome of class and elegance. I read some interviews with her shortly before her death and she seemed to have great personal depth, too. She seemed to age more beautifully than any of the big Hollywood stars -- perhaps because of her exquisite facial bone structure. Excellent, interesting read! Best/Sis

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      "Audry Hepburn"........Hollywoods, delicate, exquisitely gorgeous, fashion-icon.....a true Movie Starlet with grace and poise and raw sensuality. A totally unique woman on every account. UP +++

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Audrey Hepburn is in my opinion most beautiful and classy movie star icon. Her influence on fashion is unending and the fact that she was just as lovely inside as outside makes her a true icon.