Hepburn, Audrey

orig. Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston

born May 4, 1929, Brussels, Belg.
died Jan. 20, 1993, Tolochenaz, Switz.

Belgian-born film actress.

After spending World War II in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, she studied ballet and acting in London. She was discovered by Colette, who insisted she play the lead in Gigi on Broadway (1951). She made her U.S. film debut in Roman Holiday (1953, Academy Award), then returned to Broadway in Ondine (1954, Tony Award). She projected a radiant, elfin innocence combined with elegance in films such as Sabrina (1954), War and Peace (1956), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), and Wait Until Dark (1967). She later devoted herself to charity work and was a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

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▪ 1994

      (EDDA VAN HEEMSTRA HEPBURN-RUSTON), Belgian-born U.S. actress (b. May 4, 1929, Brussels, Belgium—d. Jan. 20, 1993, Tolochenaz, Switz.), projected a doelike innocence with her large, expressive brown eyes, possessed an ethereal beauty that illuminated the screen, and created unforgettable film roles as the epitome of sophistication and glamour while paradoxically bewitching audiences and critics with her sprightly mannerisms and elfin charm; she was also renowned in later years as a tireless goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and as one of the foremost advocates for Third World children. Hepburn, who grew up in London, spent part of her childhood trapped (while on vacation) in Nazi-occupied Holland, subsisting partly on tulip bulbs as that country neared starvation at the end of World War II. After returning to London, she modeled and studied ballet and acting. Hepburn was discovered by French novelist Colette, who insisted that she star on Broadway in Gigi (1951). The same year, Hepburn made her American motion-picture debut in One Wild Oat and, two years later in her first starring role in Roman Holiday, she enchanted audiences with her portrayal of a high-spirited princess who falls in love with a journalist, portrayed by Gregory Peck; her performance earned her an Academy Award as best actress, and her tomboyish haircut and attire (oversize man's shirt worn with rolled-up sleeves) created a fashion rage, the first of many trends she set. She earned a Tony award for her performance in Ondine (1954) opposite her first husband, Mel Ferrer. Hepburn continued to delight moviegoers as a chauffeur's daughter romantically linked with William Holden and Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina (1954), as Natasha in War and Peace (1956), as a bookstore clerk turned fashion model in the musical Funny Face (1957), as a nun questioning her vocation in The Nun's Story (1959), and, in one of her most celebrated roles, as the endearing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). She made The Children's Hour (1962), Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964), Two for the Road (1967), and the thriller Wait Until Dark (1967) before retiring. Hepburn and Ferrer divorced in 1968, and she married psychiatrist Andrea Dotti the following year. After she and Dotti divorced, Hepburn and Dutch actor Robert Wolders became longtime companions. She garnered Oscar nominations for Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Wait Until Dark. Hepburn came out of retirement to star in Robin and Marian (1976) and appeared sporadically in films before making a final cameo as an angel in Always (1989). The internationally beloved Hepburn, a symbol of gentility and kindness, was posthumously awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award after succumbing to colon cancer.

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▪ Belgian-American actress
original name  Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston (see Researcher's Note) 
born May 4, 1929, Brussels, Belgium
died Jan. 20, 1993, Tolochenaz, Switz.
 slender, stylish motion picture actress known for her radiant beauty, her ability to project an air of sophistication tempered by a charming innocence, and her tireless efforts to aid needy children.

      Although born in Belgium, Hepburn had British citizenship and attended school in England as a child. In 1939, however, at the onset of World War II, her mother (Hepburn's father left the family when she was six years old) moved the child to The Netherlands, thinking that neutral country safer than England. Throughout World War II, Hepburn endured hardships in Nazi-occupied Holland. She still managed, however, to attend school and take ballet lessons. After the war, she continued to study ballet in Amsterdam and in London. During her early 20s, she studied acting and worked as a model and dancer. She also began to get some small film roles.

 While making a film in Monte-Carlo, Hepburn caught the eye of the French novelist Colette, who felt that Hepburn would be ideal for the title role in the stage adaptation of her novel Gigi. Despite her inexperience, Hepburn was cast, earning rave reviews when the play opened on Broadway in 1951. Her next project took her to Rome, where she starred in her first major American film, Roman Holiday (1953). As a young princess who exchanges the burden of royalty for a day of adventure and romance, Hepburn demonstrated her ability to combine a regal bearing with a tomboyish winsomeness that utterly charmed audiences, and she won an Academy Award for best actress.

 Hepburn returned to the stage early in 1954 as a water nymph in Ondine, costarring Mel Ferrer, whom she married later that year. She won a Tony Award for her performance, which turned out to be her last on Broadway. She continued to enchant movie audiences, however, in such light romantic comedies as Sabrina (1954; this role provided her first occasion to appear in designs by Hubert de Givenchy (Givenchy, Hubert de), with whose fashions she became identified) and Funny Face (1957), as well as in major dramatic pictures such as War and Peace (1956) and The Nun's Story (1959).

 By the 1960s, Hepburn had outgrown her ingenue image and began playing more sophisticated and worldly, albeit often still vulnerable characters, including the effervescent and mysterious Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), a chic young widow caught up in a suspenseful Charade (1963), and a free-spirited woman involved in a difficult marriage in Two for the Road (1967). Her most controversial role was perhaps that of Eliza Doolittle in the motion picture musical My Fair Lady (1964). Although Hepburn gave an admirable performance as the Cockney flower girl who is transformed into an elegant lady, many viewers had trouble accepting Hepburn in a role they felt belonged to Julie Andrews (Andrews, Dame Julie), who had created the part on stage.

      After appearing in the thriller Wait Until Dark (1967), Hepburn went into semiretirement. Having divorced Ferrer in 1968, she married a prominent Italian psychiatrist and chose to focus on her family rather than her career. She did not return to acting until 1976, when she costarred in the nostalgic love story Robin and Marian. She appeared in a few more films, and in 1988 she began a new career as a special goodwill ambassador for United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (UNICEF). She devoted herself to her humanitarian work, visiting famine-stricken villages in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, until shortly before her death of cancer in 1993.

Additional Reading
Jerry Vermilye, The Complete Films of Audrey Hepburn (1995, reissued 1998); Alexander Walker, Audrey: Her Real Story (1994, reissued 1998); and Barry Paris, Audrey Hepburn (1996, reissued 1998).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hepburn,Audrey — Hep·burn (hĕpʹbûrn ), Audrey. Originally Edda von Heemstra Hepburn Ruston. 1929 1993. Belgian born American actress whose film credits include Breakfast at Tiffany s (1961) and Roman Holiday (1953), for which she won an Academy Award. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hepburn, Audrey — • ХЕ ПБЁРН (Hepburn) Одри (наст. фам. Xeпбёрн Растон, Hepburn Ruston) (p. 4.5.1929)    амер. актриса. Род. в Брюсселе, училась в балетной школе в Лондоне. В кино дебютировала в Великобритании в 1950 в ф. Смех в раю . С нач. 50 х гг. в США,… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Hepburn, Audrey — ► (1929 93) Actriz cinematográfica británica. Películas: Vacaciones en Roma, Sabrina (1954) y My fair lady (1964), entre otras. * * * orig. Edda van Heemstra Hepburn Ruston (4 may. 1929, Bruselas, Bélgica–20 ene. 1993, Tolochenaz, Suiza). Actriz… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hepburn, Audrey — pseud. di Ruston, Edda Van Heemstra Hepburn …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Audrey hepburn — Audrey Hepburn (1929 1993) Audrey Hepburn dans le film Vacances Romaines (1953) Nom de naissance Audrey Kathleen Ruston Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Audrey Hepburn — 1981 im Weißen Haus Audrey Hepburn (* 4. Mai 1929 in Ixelles/Elsene, Belgien; † 20. Januar 1993 in Tolochenaz bei Lausanne in der Schweiz; eigentlich Audrey Kathleen Hepburn Ruston) war eine Schauspielerin britisch niederländis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Audrey Hepburn — [Audrey Hepburn] (1929–93) a British actor, born in Belgium. She won an ↑Oscar for Roman Holiday (1953) and her other films include War and Peace (1956), Funny Face (1957), The Nu …   Useful english dictionary

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