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  • Carrie Specht

Audrey Hepburn's Birthday


In the early 1950s, the average actress in Hollywood was your usual buxom beauty. That standard changed when a young English actress came along and shook up the status quo. In contrast to the "sex goddesses" of the silver screen, Audrey Hepburn had a more wholesome beauty and an aura of innocence and class about her which launched the "waif" look, and gained her many devoted fans. This May 4th would have been the lovely gamine's 79th birthday. Sadly, she was taken away from us too early at the age of sixty-four in 1993 as a result of cancer. Fortunately, her influence on fashion, and pop culture, remains to this day, proving Audrey Hepburn was, is, and always will be, a timeless beauty, and a glamorous Hollywood icon.

Ranked #50 in Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. Voted the 21st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly. Voted #1 in TheAge.com's Top 100: Natural Beauties of all time. Voted the 18th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine. Named #3 on The American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends. Voted "most beautiful woman of all time" by the readers of "New Woman" magazine. And the accolades go on, and on, and on for Audrey Hepburn. For decades people have tried to emulate her, even try to imitate, but there has never been an equal. It's hard to describe to someone who hasn't seen her films, but for those who have, we get it. There can only ever be one Audrey Hepburn. And her films only tell part of the story, for her personal life was full of charitable good deeds, mostly on the part of needy children of the world.

Although her film career did not actually begin with her "introductory" role in Roman Holiday, it is clear that the world truly saw her for the first time in the classic romantic comedy. It was her role as a shy European Princess turned undercover tourist that won the hearts of movie fans every where. She was sweet, charming, and adorably pretty. Hepburn not only won the hearts of millions but received the Academy Award for Best Actress of 1953, beating out more established actresses Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr for the coveted statuette. And from there it was non-stop rush from one great part to another for the glamorous pixie. She followed up her award winning work with the title role in Sabrina. Just a few years later Hepburn would star in Funny Face with Fred Astaire and Love in the Afternoon with Gary Cooper both in the same year!

But her most iconic role, that of Holly Golightly would come in 1961 in one of Blake Edward's more sophisticated comedies, Breakfast at Tiffany's. The film is not a personal favorite of mine. In fact, I think Hepburn is terribly miscast as the worldly and world-weary Holly. Truman Capote didn't like her in the role either, and he wrote the book on which the film is based. But history has made it clear that this is the role most beloved by Hepburn fans. Perhaps it's because Hepburn is the only actress of the time who could have possibly made such a disreputable, self-centered character so likable. After all, I can't deny she still looks adorable even dressed up as a high priced party girl. It's the power of her likability that wins over even the harshest critics - who were far and few between. And there's no denying that to truly appreciate the talent that she posed one must see Breakfast at Tiffany's, along with the previously mentioned films as well as Charade, My Fair Lady, How to Steal a Million and Wait Until Dark.

Green Mansions a challenge). Although her final films aren't much to speak of (the TV movie Love Among ThievesHonestly, it's hard to not like something about any film Hepburn is in (although I find among them) she donated all the salaries she earned from them to UNICEF. So, I suppose you could say she was likely doing it for the money, but in the best way possible. Well known for her charitable work, President George Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom In December 1992, in recognition of her work for UNICEF. She did not attend the ceremony, due to being ill with cancer. The following year Hepburn received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy. The award, however, which was voted prior to her death, was presented posthumously. Her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer accepted the award on her behalf, dedicating it to the children of the world. Truly, she was a great beauty inside and out until the very end. Happy birthday Ms. Hepburn. May your star in the Hollywood firmament shine on.

#AudreyHepburn #ClassicFilms #HollywoodStar