Belgian-born US actress whose combination of sophisticated beauty and elfin charm ensured her success.
Born in Brussels, the daughter of a Dutch baroness and an Anglo-Irish banker, Audrey Hepburn spent most of her formative years in London, where she won a scholarship to the Ballet Rambert School. After making her film debut in One Wild Cat (1951), Hepburn starred in Gigi, a Broadway musical version of Colette's novel. Enthusiastic reviews led her to play a lovestruck princess opposite Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she won an Academy Award. Hepburn's career blossomed in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1954 she starred in Sabrina and married Mel Ferrer, with whom she appeared on Broadway and in the film War and Peace (1956), taking the part of Natasha. Hepburn's subsequent films included Funny Face (1957), opposite Fred Astaire; The Nun's Story (1959); Charade (1963), opposite Cary Grant; Two for the Road (1966); and Wait Until Dark (1967). The roles for which she is best remembered, however, are the New York call girl Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and the cockney Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964). She received a total of four Oscar nominations during this period – for Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Wait Until Dark.
Having divorced Ferrer in 1968, Hepburn remarried and took a break from acting. She returned to play Maid Marian opposite Sean Connery's Robin Hood in Robin and Marian (1976). Her final appearance was in a cameo role in Always (1989). In 1988 Hepburn became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and in particular raised awareness of the plight of children in underdeveloped countries.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Music Theatre.