It is not hard to recognize Audrey Hepburn as the representative of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Born on 4th May 1929, in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey Hepburn is still known as one of the best dressed actresses and the most beautiful woman of all time. All women, rich or poor, admire her not only because of her grace and confidence but because she was one of the most strong and sensitive persons ever to have been born.
Hepburn landed her first major break in 1951 with the Broadway play Gigi, which was the stepping stone to her most loved and watched film Roman Holiday in1953. This performance led her to become the first actress to win the Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA- all owing to her first and single act in the film. She then starred in a string of films including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Wait until Dark, Sabrina and The Nun’s Story. Audrey Hepburn has won the record number of three BAFTA awards for the leading role in films.
But Hepburn did not always have such a prominent and smooth life. She was a survivor.
After having strict ballet lessons from Sonia Gaskell and the Ballet Rambert, she worked ballet jobs, then as a model and finally went on to work as a London chorus girl.
Although Roman Holiday is her most loved film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s became, as quoted by Audrey, “The jazziest of my career”. Her iconic fashion in the film still remains the most inspirational and popular for all fashionistas of the present century- the most famous being the Black dress by Givenchy. After 1967, Hepburn only took projects occasionally as she wanted to shift to a more domesticated life. Her final projects include Robin and Marian with co-star Sean Connery, They All Laughed and Love among Thieves. Moving on to 1988 with the cameo role of an angel in Spielberg’s film Always, Hepburn finished up with two more projects after that.
But her journey does not end here. After completing her actress-life, Hepburn devoted all her time to UNICEF. So let us not only remember her for her contributions as an actress but as a human. Being an actress, her philanthropy often gets overshadowed by her enormous success in the media world. So let’s remember her today for her work and influence she had in the real world.
Audrey Hepburn held the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation as the sole her of her surviving in the distressed time of the Second World War in Holland. That is the reason she gave the last few years of her solely to children of Third-world countries including Sudan, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Hepburn was named the Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF in 1988 and embarked on her first field mission to Ethiopia. The devastating condition there, under the effects of famine and war, made Audrey Hepburn stand face to face with the unknown truth of the real world. She was used as a catalyst that would bring rapid awareness about the situation in Ethiopia. Later, she had expressed her disbelief and sadness in the Congressional Subcommittee about the situation and how things had been made worse with the existence of civil wars.
Audrey Hepburn made more important changes in the society in the last five years of her life, where she specified on immunizing children in regions hit hard by war and famine. So Hepburn set out for Bangladesh with Robert Wolders, her then partner, to spread awareness about their sufferings. After the difficulty with these two countries, Hepburn marked the final stop of her journey with Somalia. But this trip was described by her as an encounter with Hell. Even though this was not her first mission, it was the most difficult. She was definitely not prepared and was heartbroken by the trails of blood and dead bodies lying on the earth of the whole region.
Unfortunately, in 1922, after returning from the dreadful nightmare in Somalia, Hepburn started to have pains in her stomach which ultimately was discovered to be the pains arising from appendiceal cancer which had grown over the years and worsened during her visit to Somalia. After some unsuccessful treatments, Hepburn decided that it would be best to just spend the last Christmas with joy, surrounded with loved ones. But although she was in a sick state, Hepburn still continued to work with the UNICEF, traveling to Kenya, Somalia, the UK, France, the USA and Switzerland. She received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in December 1992 and then returned to her Switzerland home, where she died on 20th January, 1993.
Audrey Hepburn is not just a fashion icon or an unmatchable actress. There’s more to her as a person, more to her behind all the commercial success. So from now on, let’s remember her for her role in the society and her influence in the real world.