AUDREY HEPBURN, AMBASSADOR OF GOODWILL

Incomparable style icon of 20th century elegance

Billie Wilder

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Born to dutch baroness Ella Van Heemstra and Joseph Hepburn-Ruston in 1929, Audrey Hepburn lived for long in Belgium and Holland.

Her father was really close and an advocate of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, and because of this he was deported to the Isle of Man under house arrest.

Ironically his family suffered the most with the Nazis occupation of Holland and Belgium.

During the 2nd World War because of the spread anti-english sentiment the Nazis occupation produced Audrey was forced to take on a Dutch name and not to speak in ImageEnglish. Her brother Ian who was very active in the local resistance was captured by the occupiers, brought to Germany and put to forced labour until the end of the war. Many relatives of Hepburn were shot and she like million of others had to endure a hard life made of food rationing and the fear to be finally found as an english citizen. Nonetheless it is during this hard times that Audrey started to take on ballet lessons which contributed together with the general conditions brought by the war to her sense of discipline.

In the autumn of 1944 in the wake of the operation Market Garden, Holland was liberated by the Allies and Audrey and her mother relocated to London,England which was still battling the ruins  carried by the war. The two were now living in poor conditions and the baroness decided to dedicate the rest of her life to support the carrier of her daughter. She pulled her sleeves up and got a job as a caretaker in a Mayfair apartment building.

Audrey enrolled in ballet Rambert, in Cambridge Circus and hosted along with other impecunious students in Madame Rambert home in Kensington. She worked as model for photographers and as a secretary. Left ballet because she was told that was not fit for the prima ballerina role Audrey Began to look for jobs in musicals and started to study drama. Finally at 21, Hepburn signed a contract for a 3 pictures deal with ABPC. She started in cinema just for paying the bills and support her mother. It was a life of hardship and commitment and after some years she eventually ended up in Hollywood.

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She played in films that made the history of cinema: Roman Holliday, Funny Face, Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany. Her fame soared at the highest in the 60’s. And also fairy were her love affairs: the singer Marcel Lebon, the entrepeneur James Hanson, the husbands Mel Ferrer, actor and producer, the psychoanalyst Andrea Dotti. Of her they say that she was humble and this was the feature that attracted the most attention on her.

In 1988 she started to work with the UNICEFF and on its behalf travelled all over the world taking parts in projects against famine, draught, to promote literacy.

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For her commitment Audrey Hepburn was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 

 

Image1992 and goodwill ambassador, when she was already ill from cancer which would cause her death the following year.

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