50 Facts About Audrey Hepburn - Princess Ann from Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn was a British actress during the Hollywood's Golden Age, known for her role as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday. Here are 50 interesting facts about Audrey - one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history, as chosen by Empire Magazine.

  1. Her full name is Audrey Kathleen Ruston.
  2. She was born on 4 May 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels municipality, Belgium.
  3. Her father Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (1889–1980) was an English and Austrian decent, while her mother Ella van Heemstra (1900–1984) was a Dutch baroness.
  4. Ruston and Heemstra got married in the year 1926 in the Dutch-Colonial Batavia, Dutch East Indies.
  5. Her mother, Ella already married Jonkheer (Esquire) Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, at the age of nineteen, but in 1925, they filed for divorce.
  6. From this marriage Audrey had two-half brothers - Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford (1920–1979) and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford (1924–2010).
  7. Audrey's parents - Ruston and van Heemstra filed for divorce in 1935, after Ella finding Ruston in bed with Nanny of Audrey.
  8. Ruston settled in London following the divorce and remained emotionally detached with Audrey until his death, though she supported him financially.
  9. Audrey educated from a small school - "The Mesdamoiselles Smith" in Elham, run by two sisters.
  10. From 1939 to 1945, she attended Arnhem conservatory and also trained in ballet with Winja Marova, in the name pseudonym - Edda van Heemstra - an English sounding name, as British declared war on Germany.
  11. During the war time, she suffered from edema, malnutrition, respiratory problems and acute anemia.
  12. After the war, she, as a proficient ballet dancer, took ballet lessons for 3 years in Amsterdam in 1945.
  13. Her first appearance was in Dutch in Seven Lessons as an air stewardess in 1948. She went to study at Ballet Rambert, while working as a part-time model.
  14. She decided to make acting her career as she couldn’t attain the status of prima ballerina, due to her height and weakness (the after effect of malnutrition).
  15. During the period of unemployment, she joined the London Chorus girl and performed in the musical theatre revues High Button Shoes (1948) at the London Hippodrome and Cecil Landeau's Sauce Tartare (1949) and Sauce Piquante (1950) at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End.
  16. Even while working in the West End, she registered as a freelance actress in the British film studio.
  17. She later on appeared in minor roles in a number 1951 movies including Laughter in Paradise, The Lavender Hill Mob, One Wild Oat and Young Wives' Tale.
  18. In 1952, Audrey was engaged to young James Hanson, who she fell in love with at the first sight, during her London dancing days.
  19. However, she decided that the marriage wouldn’t work, due to different career paths, which she felt would keep them apart, and that she would concentrate on her career.
  20. She played her first major supporting character in The Secret People in 1952.
  21. Her first starring role was as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday in 1953, for which she won an Oscar as Best Actress.
  22. She received Oscar nominations for her movies - Sabrina (1954), The Nun's Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Wait Until Dark (1967).
  23. In January 1954, Audrey met the American actor Mel Ferrer at a cocktail party and agreed to do a play - Ondine with him.
  24. Within just 8 months, the duo - Audrey and Mel, married in Burgenstock on 25 September 1954, the co-stars of War and Peace (1955).
  25. She had 2 miscarriages - in 1955 and 1959. Later she took a year off work.
  26. Her only son - Sean Hepburn Ferrer was born on 17 July 1960.
  27. Ferrer was often referred as being Audrey's 'Svengali' by others and that he is too controlling of Audrey, an accusation that she laughed off.
  28. She claimed that they were inseparable and happy together, as a response to the gossip columns which insisted that their marriage would not last.
  29. However, after two miscarriages again in 1965 and 1967, she filed for divorce with Mel Ferrer on 5 December 1968, after 14-years of marriage.
  30. Audrey spoke five languages - Italian, French and Spanish, along with her native Dutch and English.
  31. Audrey met Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in June 1968 on a cruise by Princess Olimpia Emmanuela Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, and fell in love with him.
  32. She married him at the age of 39 on 18 January 1969 and hoped to have more children.
  33. Her next son Luca Dotti was born on 8 February 1970. Audrey had another miscarriage in 1974.
  34. Andrea Dotti was loved by Audrey and was even well liked by his step son Sean, who called him to be "fun."
  35. The Dotti-Hepburn marriage lasted for 13 years and ended in 1982.
  36. Audrey was involved in a romantically relationship with Robert Wolders - Dutch actor, and lived with him from 1980 until her death. Robert Wolders was the widower of actress Merle Oberon.
  37. In the year 1989, she claimed the period between 1980 and 1989 to be the happiest years of her life. "Took me long enough", she said in an interview with American journalist Barbara Walters.
  38. Since 1954, Audrey was contributing to UNICEF.
  39. She received Presidential Medal of Freedom honor from the United States president George H. W. Bush, in recognition of her work as Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF.
  40. She was also awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her contribution.
  41. In 2002, the UNICEF honored her legacy of humanitarian work at the United Nations Special Session on Children by unveiling "The Spirit of Audrey" statue.
  42. In 1992, just around 4 months before her death, she went to Somalia and was scarred by what she saw. She called it apocalyptic saying "I walked into a nightmare. I have seen famine in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, but I have seen nothing like this – so much worse than I could possibly have imagined. I wasn't prepared for this. The earth is red – an extraordinary sight – that deep terracotta red. And you see the villages, displacement camps and compounds, and the earth is all rippled around these places like an ocean bed and I was told these were the graves. There are graves everywhere. Along the road, wherever there is a road, around the paths that you take, along the riverbeds, near every camp – there are graves everywhere."
  43. Following her return from Somalia in September 1992, she began suffering from abdominal pains. Throughout October, she was examined by a number of specialists and received inconclusive results.
  44. She was diagnosed with abdominal cancer that spread from her appendix on November 1, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
  45. Audrey underwent 5-fluorouracil Leucovorin chemotherapy. But few days later, she had another obstruction and had a further surgery on 1 December.
  46. She died on January 1193, at her home in her sleep of appendiceal cancer. Funeral were held at the village church of Tolochenaz, Switzerland, on 24 January 1993.
  47. Many family members, including her partner Robert Wolders, sons - Sean and Luca, brother Ian Quarles van Ufford, ex-husbands Andrea Dotti and Mel Ferrer, executives of UNICEF, attended the funeral.
  48. Audrey was ranked as the third greatest female screen legend by the American Film Institute in the history of American cinema. She won a record three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. She was placed in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1961. However, she never considered herself attractive.
  49. Audrey received the BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. She was voted the 21st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  50. As a tribute, the US Postal Service unveiled Hollywood Legend Stamp of Audrey Hepburn in the year 2003.

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Audrey Hepburn, Audrey, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's

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