Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognised as a film and fashion icon, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood, and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
Born in Ixelles, Brussels, Hepburn spent parts of her childhood in Belgium, England, and the Netherlands. She studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell in Amsterdam beginning in 1945 and with Marie Rambert in London starting in 1948. She began performing as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions and then had minor appearances in several films. Hepburn starred in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi after being spotted by French novelist Colette, on whose work the play was based.
She rose to stardom in William Wyler‘s romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953), alongside Gregory Peck, for which she was the first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award for a single performance. That same year, Hepburn won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Ondine. She went on to star in a number of successful films, such as: Billy Wilder‘s Sabrina (1954), in which Humphrey Bogart and William Holden compete for her affection; Stanley Donen‘s Funny Face (1957), costarring Fred Astaire, a musical in which she sang her own song parts; the drama The Nun’s Story (1959), directed by Fred Zinnemann; the romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), directed by Blake Edwards; the Stanley Donen directed thriller-romance Charade (1963), opposite Cary Grant; and George Cukor‘s adaptation of the musical My Fair Lady (1964), with Rex Harrison; which won the Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Picture. In 1967 she starred in the Terence Young directed thriller Wait Until Dark receiving Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.
After that she only occasionally appeared in films, one being Richard Lester‘s Robin and Marian (1976) with Sean Connery, her final film appearance was in the Steven Spielberg drama Always (1989), and her last recorded performances were the 1990 documentary television series Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn. She won three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. In recognition of her film career, she received BAFTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Special Tony Award. She remains one of only 15 people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards (also known as an EGOT).
Later in life she devoted much of her time to UNICEF, to which she had contributed since 1954. Then she worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America, and Asia between 1988 and 1992. In December 1992, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. A month later, she died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Dutch in Seven Lessons (1948) – directed by Charles Huguenot van der Linden & Heinz Josephson
- One Wild Oat (1951) – directed by Charles Saunders – uncredited
- Young Wives’ Tale (1951) – directed by Henry Cass
- Monte Carlo Baby (1951) – directed by Jean Boyer & Lester Fuller
- Laughter in Paradise (1951) – Mario Zampi
- The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) – directed by Charles Crichton
- Secret People (1952) – directed by Thorold Dickinson
- Roman Holiday (1953) – directed by William Wyler
- Sabrina (1954)** – directed by Billy Wilder
- War and Peace (1956) – directed by King Vidor
- Love in the Afternoon (1957) – directed by Billy Wilder
- Funny Face (1957) – directed by Stanley Donen
- Green Mansions (1959) – directed by Mel Ferrer
- The Nun’s Story (1959) – directed by Fred Zinnermann
- The Unforgiven (1960) – directed by John Huston
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – directed by Blake Edwards
- The Children’s Hour (1961) – directed by William Wyler
- Charade (1963) – directed by Stanley Donen
- Paris When It Sizzles (1964) – directed by Richard Quine
- My Fair Lady (1964) – directed by George Cukor
- How to Steal a Million (1966) – directed by William Wyler
- Two for the Road (1967) – directed by Stanley Donen
- Wait Until Dark (1967) – directed by Terence Young
- Robin and Marion (1976) – directed by Richard Lester
- Bloodline (1979) – directed by Terence Young
- They All Laughed (1981) – directed by Peter Bogdanovich
- Love Among Thieves (1987) – directed by Roger Young – TV movie
- Always (1989) – directed by Steven Spielberg
- Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn (1991-1993) – documentary series