Audrey Hepburn

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Audrey Hepburn Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.

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Last update: 15/12/16

Audrey Hepburn returned to television screens in 2013 in a newly created CGI advertisement promoting Galaxy chocolate. For a single minute, in a piece of work that took over a year to create, she is once again mesmerisingly beautiful, captivating men’s hearts and minds and reminding us, as if we could ever forget, of her oscar winning debut in 1953’s Roman Holday.”

The production raised numerous legal and ethical arguments over the future use of such imagery but in Audrey’s case, the ad had the blessing of the late star’s sons, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti, who said: ‘It perfectly captures our mother’s playful spirit.’

Audrey arrived in America from Europe in 1951, at a time when the very idea of a movie star was in flux. Marlon Brando and devotees of the school of method acting were breaking out of New York’s Actors Studio and into Hollywood, de-emphasizing glamour and introducing a rough, almost vulgar naturalism to screen acting. The model for femininity on film was changing too, as sultry foreign bombshells and Marilyn Monroe brought a voluptuous sexuality to cinema. And then here was Hepburn: slim, prim, and sprightly. She’d been classically trained as a dancer, but had merely above-average moves. Her singing voice was sweet but slight, and her range as an actress was limited. But Hepburn had “star quality” in the classic sense, in that she was beautiful, fashionable, and easy to like. So what remained of the Hollywood PR and studio machines in the 1950s worked overtime to get the most out of one of the last old-fashioned starlets they had.

It’s not an impeccable movie career, by any stretch of the imagination. She would often be miscast, and even more often was misappropriated by Hollywood as a symbol of something the culture at large was losing. Over and over, Hepburn was made to play the innocent or the princess—or the willful young lady in need of a wizened older man to save her from herself. She played opposite nearly every aging actor showbiz could throw at her: Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Rex Harrison, William Holden, Burt Lancaster, and Cary Grant. Meanwhile, the movie magazines and gossip columns of the 1950s and 1960s were full of quotes from Hepburn about how she’d rather be at home cooking for her husband Mel Ferrer and raising their son Sean. But behind the scenes, Hepburn had her own ideas: about what kind of career she should have, how she should dress, and what it meant to be classy. These ideas would come to define her iconic status.

Audrey’s elfin features and petite figure made her one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and anyone aspiring to look like her, or absorb even a little of her glamour, may wish to take note of her dietary habits: a devotion to chocolate, detox once a month (plain yogurt and grated apple only), and the obligatory breakfast, never ever to be skipped.

I can personally relate to her devotion to the first meal of the day, if not the daily intake of chocolate. Breakfast invariably reduces the temptation to snack on something fattening by mid-morning, an invaluable aid as one’s metabolic rate begins to slow with age.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has produced a guide to breakfasting, which can be located via the following link:

https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/breakfast.pdf

Recommended listening

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Original Soundtrack) – 1961 – Henry Mancini & His Orchestra

Track Listing:

01. Moon River (Instrumental): 00:00
02. Something for Cat: 02:43
03. Sally’s Tomato: 05:55
04. Mr. Yunioshi: 09:04
05. The Big Blow Out: 11:37
06. Hub Caps and Tail Lights: 14:08
07. Breakfast at Tiffany’s: 16:40
08. Latin Golightly: 19:28
09. Holly: 22:27
10. Loose Caboose: 25:49
11. The Big Heist: 29:01
12. Moon River Cha Cha:32:11
13. Moon River (Audrey Hepburn Vocal): 34:49*

• Henry Mancini and Audrey Hepburn:

Henry Mancini’s notes from the “Music from the Films of Audrey Hepburn” CD booklet:

I have had great pleasure in listening to the music of my colleagues on this CD. The emotional range is quite extensive. Judging from the list of film titles included in this collection, it seems my friend Audrey Hepburn brought out the best in the people she worked with. I can, of course, speak only for myself, but I am sure that all of the composers drew great inspiration from her presence.

In the case of “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” it is very difficult to imagine that I would have written that melody and Johnny Mercer those lyrics had Audrey not been involved. I have never been more inspired by an image on the screen. Blake Edwards directed and George Axelrod wrote the screenplay from Truman Capote’s novella. “Moon River” was written for Audrey. No one else has ever understood it so completely. There have been more than a thousand versions of “Moon River”, but hers is unquestionably the definitive one. When we previewed the film, the head of Paramount was there and said, “One thing for sure. That f—g song’s gotta go.” Audrey shot right up out of her chair. Mel Ferrer had to put his hand on her arm to restrain her. That’s the closest I have ever seen her come to losing control.

Our next film together was “Charade” in 1963. Stanley Donen directed Peter Stone’s screenplay. There is a scene in the movie where Audrey returns from a happy winter holiday to her Paris flat to find it stripped of everything of value. Bare floors and the walls are all that remain. Her loutish husband had absconded with sll of her worldly goods. She enters the dimly-lit apartment with her suitcase and surveys the scene. Her feelings are of sadness, loneliness and vulnerability. To me, it translated into a sad little Parisian waltz. With that image of Audrey in my mind, I went to the piano and within less than an hour “Charade” was written. I played it for Audrey and Stanley. Both felt it was just right for the movie. Johnny Mercer added his poetry, and the song was nominated for an Oscar that year.

“Charade” was followed in 1967 by “Two for the Road”, another Stanley Donen film, this time with screenplay by Frederic Raphael. To illustrate the graciousness of the lady, the following is a telegram she sent to me:

Dearest Hank: Please won’t you do the music for “Two for the Road”, the Stanley Donen picture I am now doing with Albert Finney? It is the best script I have ever had, wonderfully tender, funny and romantic. Can’t imagine anyone else but you scoring. I am at Hotel La Pinede Saint Tropez, France. All my love to you both. Audrey.

Of course I accepted. Leslie Bricusse added lyrics to the theme. The song is my personal favourite among the music I have written for films.

“Wait Until Dark”, directed later that same year by Terence Young, was a complete turn-about for Audrey the actress. She portrayed a young blind lady, ruthlessly harassed by an evil character played by Alan Arkin. It was a highly-charged dramatic film. I greatly relished this chance to take leave of the “romantic comedy” genre for a while. The picture was highly praised, especially Audrey’s role which won her an Academy Award nomination.

I have come to feel that Audrey was my good luck charm. Because of her I approached each of these films as being something special. The music I wrote for her “had” to be my best. She deserved no less.

- Henry Mancini.

Recommended viewing

Roman Holiday (1953)

I picked up “The Audrey Hepburn Collection” DVD box set for £3.99 – a snip of a bargain for five of her most famous films.

Remastered for a superior viewing experience, her Oscar winning debut in “Roman Holiday” remains an utter delight. This 2003 edition also includes extra featurettes, including her screen test in which she discusses her wartime experiences.

Overwhelmed by her suffocating schedule, touring European princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) takes off for a night out whilst in Rome. When a sedative she took from her doctor kicks in, however, she falls asleep on a park bench and is found by an American reporter, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who takes her back to his apartment for safety. At work the next morning, Joe discovers Ann’s regal identity, and bets his editor he can get an exclusive interview with her. Before long though, romantic feelings will intervene.

Audrey is the perennial elfin beauty with a smile that lights up all our lives, and co-star Gregory Peck – adamant that she should be placed above the film titles with him soon after location filming began – is the perfect foil, at once self serving and opportunistic yet ultimately felled by doomed love.

It’s a beautifully paced movie, and when director William Whyler denies us that fairy tale ending we’re desparate for, the unsettling experience brings us as close to tears as the key protagonists themselves.

Sabrina (1954)

The Nun's Story (1959)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Charade (1963)

My Fair Lady (1964)

How to steal a million (1966)

Recommended reading

Audrey at home - Memories of my mother's kitchen (Luca Dotti) 2015

http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/people/2015/06/18/audrey-hepburn-son-life-kitchen-new-book/28933499/

Audrey was no cordon bleu, but cooking invariably brought the family together; an opportunity she was always keen to exploit. Compiled by her son, Luca Dotti, it looks at her life through the lens of the food she loved. It shares fifty recipes – complete with step-by-step instructions and preparation tip – within the context of specific periods in her life.

Hepburn aficionados will love the brief essays on each time in her life, the personal anecdotes preceding each recipe, and the 250 previously unpublished family photographs.

A perfect complement to the coffee table sized Hepburn photographic albums.

Audrey Hepburn - Photographs 1953-1966 (Bob Willoughby) 2014

In his distinguished career as a Hollywood photographer, Bob Willoughby took iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda, but remains unequivocal about his favorite subject: Audrey Kathleen Ruston, later Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston, best known as Audrey Hepburn.

Willoughby was called in to shoot the new starlet one morning shortly after she arrived in Hollywood in 1953. It was a humdrum commission for the portraitist often credited with having perfected the photojournalistic movie still, but when he met the Belgian-born beauty, Willoughby was enraptured.

“She took my hand like…well a princess, and dazzled me with that smile that God designed to melt mortal men’s hearts,” he recalled. As Hepburn’s career soared following her Oscar-winning US debut in Roman Holiday,’ Willoughby became a trusted friend, framing her working and home life.

His historic, perfectionist, tender photographs seek out the many facets of Hepburn’s beauty and elegance, as she progresses from her debut to her career high of My Fair Lady in 1963.’ Willoughby’s studies, showing her on set, preparing for a scene, interacting with actors and directors, and returning to her private life, comprise one of photography’s great platonic love affairs and an unrivalled record of one of the 20th century’s touchstone beauties.

It’s an expensive tome, but as well as a selection of iconic shots, there’s also an eye catching series of off guard photographs, in which she plays with her children, exercises, and shops with a devoted fawn.

Surfing

audrey1 - An Audrey Hepburn Website

* http://www.audrey1.org/