Audrey Hepburn Biography: Success Story of an Iconic British Actress

Audrey Hepburn Biography

Audrey Hepburn

In this success story, we will share Audrey Hepburn biography. Audrey was a British actress, humanitarian, and fashion icon who changed film and the world.

The impact that Audrey Hepburn had on the Western world was prolific. As an actress, she broke down barriers and dedicated her time and money to improving the world for those around her. With a history as rich as her career, Audrey Hepburn is one of the most iconic personalities to learn about and admire.

Hepburn was active in Hollywood’s Golden Age and has been ranked as the third greatest female screen legend on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. Hepburn was also inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame to recognize her fantastic sense of style and influence in the fashion community.

Hepburn was often described as “gamine” regarding her beauty. With a slender body, a trace of a European accent, mystery, and aristocratic bearing – Hepburn intrigued and impressed many people around her.

Her rise to fame started in 1953 when she played the lead role in Roman Holiday (1953). This film won her an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe Award. This made her one of the most amazing actresses on the scene.

Hepburn has also won a Tony Award for her role in Ondine (1954) and countless other awards for various roles. Her film career spanned decades and still lives on into the 21st century. For this reason, Audrey Hepburn was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Special Tony Award.

To this day, Hepburn remains one of only fifteen people to have won Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Awards, showing how prolific and impactful her career was.

As she got older, Hepburn decided to dedicate most of her life to UNICEF rather than starring in films. UNICEF is something she has been involved with since 1954, and she has worked in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia, and South America.

In 1992, Audrey Hepburn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with UNICEF, which was seen as gratitude for her work. It was clear that Hepburn wanted to dedicate her life to this to show how important it was for her through the donations, time, and attention she dedicated to the movement.

To begin Hepburn’s story, it all began in Brussels in 1929. Little did the world know that this was the day one of the most iconic actresses and greatest humanitarians would be born.


Born on 4th May 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels, Audrey Hepburn spent her childhood in a mixture of different places, from Belgium, England, and the Netherlands. Her full name was Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston. While living in Amsterdam, she studied ballet with no other than Sonia Gaskell, the choreographer, dancer, and teacher. The ballet was her first passion, which she carried on until later in life.

Hepburn’s parents were, well, questionable. Born into a very wealthy family, Hepburn’s parents were both in the upper class, giving Hepburn a privileged early start to life. Her father was Joseph Victory Anthony Rushton (1889-1980), a British Subject. Her mother was Baroness Ella de Heemstra (1900-1984), a Dutch aristocrat.

They married in September 1926 in Jakarta and had Audrey Hepburn less than three years later.

A little delve into Hepburn’s family life perhaps explains her strong humanitarian views later in life.

Family History

Hepburn’s father was born in Auschwitz and was the son of Victor John George Ruston, of Austrian and British descent. He was married to a Dutch heiress named Cornelia Bisschop once before. Though born Ruston, he later double-barrelled his name to Hepburn-Ruston to seem more aristocratic. He wrongly believed that he descended from James Hepburn, the third husband of the Queen of Scots.

Hepburn’s mother was Ella Van Heemstra, a Dutch noblewoman. She was the daughter of Baron Aarnoud Van Heemstra, the mayor of Arnhem from 1910 to 1920. Ella married Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, an oil executive in Batavia, at nineteen. They had two sons, Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford, and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford, giving Audrey two half brothers. They divorced in 1925, and Hepburn’s parents married in 1926.

Hepburn’s parents spent three years traveling before settling down in Brussels. It’s safe to say that Hepburn’s childhood was incredibly sheltered and privileged. She learned five languages – English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Hepburn’s parents were Nazi sympathizers and members of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). Her mother was friendly with the Unity Mitford and encouraged Hepburn’s father, who was increasingly becoming anti-communist, to join the BUF. Hepburn’s parents were openly involved in fundraising and recruitment as the BUF party grew. You can even find newspaper clippings in which Hepburn’s mother was linked to the rise of fascism.

In 1935, Hepburn’s parents joined Mosley’s BUF delegation to observe the conditions under the Nazis. They toured around schools, housing developments, factories, and autobahns and met Hitler himself. Ella enshrined a picture of them with the dictator and placed it on their mantelpiece.

This same month, Hepburn’s father walked out on her mother and herself. Hepburn recalls her mother crying for days as she mourned her husband’s parting. In 1939, Audrey and her mother moved to the Netherlands. In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands – this is where Hepburn and her mother would spend their war years.

Hepburn’s mother, Ella, would drink and invite German officers into the family home. She would go out with them and even drive into Germany for fun. She was once suspected of being an agent for the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, by the Dutch resistance.

After the war, the BUF was banned, and Ella focused on creating connections with those who could help Audrey become a ballerina. Looking at this from the future, we know that Hepburn ended up one of the most successful film stars, let alone ballerinas.

In June 1940, the Battle of Britain began, and Hepburn’s father, who had walked out on his family in 1935, was arrested under Defense Regulation 18B. He was considered an enemy of the state due to his membership in the BUF and an associate of foreign fascists. This side of Hepburn’s family life isn’t often known.

Early Life

Hepburn’s early life was very sheltered, moving from one beautiful country to another and having only the best education. Of course, it is essential to note that her parents had controversial political views and got divorced. Perhaps this affected Hepburn in later life.

The divorce was quite horrible for six-year-old Audrey Hepburn. She talked briefly about the divorce, stating it was the most traumatic incident of her life. Her father walked out on them, and she witnessed her mother extremely upset.

From 1935 to 1938, Hepburn attended boarding school in Kent, England. However, in 1939 her mother moved them to Arnhem in the Netherlands; she thought they would be safe from the Nazi invasion. The Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940.

Hepburn began using “Edda van Heemstra,” as her English-sounding name was considered dangerous. Her family was poorly affected by the German occupation. She said, “Had we known that we would be occupied for five years, we might have all shot ourselves. We thought it might be over next week.”

Her uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum, was executed in 1942. He was taken prisoner by the Nazis and later murdered. He was targeted because of his prominent family. Hepburn’s half-brother was deported to Berlin to work, and her other half-brother hid to avoid the same punishment.

During the war, Hepburn would perform silent dances. The money she earned from her performances was donated to the Dutch resistance effort. There have even been suggestions that Hepburn herself participated in the Dutch Resistance.

Hepburn witnesses Dutch Jews being transported to concentration camps. Certain moments like that stuck with her and could be the reason for her humanitarian efforts throughout her life.

The Allies landed on D-Day, and the Netherlands’ living conditions worsened. The Dutch famine in the winter of 1944 was also traumatic for Hepburn, her family, and the rest of the country. There was a limited supply of food and supplies, and their diets worsened. Hepburn became malnourished and suffered from anemia, respiratory problems, and edema.

Her family was hist poorly financially, too. Many of their properties were severely damaged and destroyed. Like many European families, the war had a lasting effect on them. The war ended in 1945, and Hepburn moved to Amsterdam.

After the financial hit the family took, her mother had to work as a cook and housekeeper. Hepburn began ballet training with Sonia Gaskell, a prominent figure in ballet. By the time the war ended, Hepburn was 16 years old.

Entertainment Career

At 16, in 1945, Hepburn moved to Amsterdam and restarted her ballet training. In 1948, at 19, Hepburn made her film debut and played an air stewardess in Dutch in Seven Lessons (1948). It was an educational film based on travel. It was initially an English documentary series based in the Netherlands.

Later that same year, Hepburn moved to London after accepting a ballet scholarship with Ballet Rambert, which was (at that time) based in Notting Hill. While there, she worked part-time as a model to support herself and, in the process, dropped “Ruston” from her surname. She was becoming Audrey Hepburn.

Despite possessing a fantastic talent, Rambert told Hepburn that she would never become a prima ballerina due to her height and weak composition. The effects of the war and malnourishment were to blame for this. With this information, Hepburn chose to focus on acting.

Her mother continued to work menial jobs to support them while Hepburn appeared in West End musicals and theatre shows. For instance, she appeared in High Button Shoes (1947) and Sauce Piquante (1950).

While performing in Sauce Piquante (1950), she was spotted by a casting director. During this time, she also had elocution lessons to develop her voice, and these were with Felix Aylmer.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair. – Audrey Hepburn Click To Tweet

Hepburn registered as a freelance actress with the Associated British Picture Corporation. She appeared in BBC television plays and minor film roles during this time.

Only in 1952, at the age of 23, Hepburn was cast in her first significant supporting role. She played the role of a prodigious ballerina in The Secret People (1952) by Thorold Dickinson. In which she performed all of her dance sequences.

After this, Hepburn was offered various roles. This included Monte Carlo Baby (1951) and Gigi (1951). Throughout these roles, attention towards Hepburn was increasing. She received praise for her roles, including those live on stage. Throughout this time, Hepburn slowly carved out her title in the industry. Undoubtedly, during this time, Hepburn truly made a name for herself – leading her onto bigger things.

Roman Holiday

In 1953, Hepburn secured her first starring role in Roman Holiday (1953). Hepburn plays a European princess who escapes from royalty to spend a night out with an American reporter. Elizabeth Taylor was initially the favorite for the role, but William Wyler, the film’s director, was blown away by Hepburn.

Wyler said, “She had everything I sought: charm, innocence, and talent. She also was amusing. She was enchanting, and we said, ‘That’s the girl!'”

Wyler would also ensure that Audrey Hepburn’s was equal to Gregory Peck’s – initially, she was supposed to be introduced in smaller fonts under the title. The reasoning behind this? Wyler knew she would be a big star.

Roman Holiday (1953) was a box office success, and Hepburn was praised drastically for her role. She even won an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award for Best British Actress in a Leading Role, despite all this being extremely unexpected.

Though not a newbie in the film industry, as this was Hepburn’s first starring role, it was a fantastic achievement to be so respected and critically acclaimed and win an array of prestigious awards. Many were unsure about what the future held for Hepburn. However, she bravely moved on from Roman Holiday (1953) and made more significant strides.

Hepburn signed a seven-picture contract with Paramount. Time magazine featured Hepburn on the cover in 1953; around this time, she was also recognized as a style icon.

Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a BAFTA in 1954 for her role in Sabrina (1954). The way she could accurately portray a princess, as well as a servant, was an incredible talent.

In between filming, Hepburn also appeared on stage. From 1953 to 1960, she starred in a series of successful films, including The Nun’s Story (1959) and The Unforgiven (1960). Her acting career was genuinely thriving, and her personal life was seemingly great, too.

During the production of Roman Holiday (1953), Hepburn met an American actor, Mel Ferrer (August 25, 1917 – June 02, 2008). In 1954, eight months after meeting each other, the pair married in Switzerland while preparing to star together in the film War and Peace (1956). Hepburn had two miscarriages before giving birth to their only son.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Of course, we must mention Audrey Hepburn’s most famous movie, especially in the 21st century. Hepburn starred as a New York party girl in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). They initially wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the role. However, this would become a defining moment for Hepburn.

The little black dress has become an iconic picture, and the character is one of the best-known in American cinema. Hepburn would state that it was her most challenging role, courtesy of her extroverted nature.

Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. That same year, Hepburn also starred in The Children’s Hour (1961) – this film did not get high praise, but still, Hepburn did. She had successfully become America’s sweetheart.


Charade (1963) is a comic thriller in which Hepburn starred as a young widow pursued by several men.

Cary Grant was uncomfortable with the age difference between himself and 34-year-old Hepburn. For this reason, the screenplay was altered so that Hepburn was pursuing Grant – a change that was seen as highly positive. This role earned Hepburn her third and final ever-competitive BAFTA award and a Golden Globe Nomination.

After this, Hepburn starred in roles in Paris When It Sizzles (1964) and My Fair Lady (1964). Hepburn continued to have success in the film industry during her 30s.

Final Projects

After 1967, Hepburn decided to go into semi-retirement. She returned in 1976 with Robin and Marian (1976) and Bloodline (1979). However, her main focus was definitely on her family.

Her last motion picture role was in 1988, in which Hepburn appeared as an angel in Steven Spielberg’s Always (1989).

Personal Life

During all this success, Hepburn still had a personal life filled with marriages and sometimes scandal.

Hepburn’s first ever love was James Hanson (January 20, 1922 – November 01, 2004), a British businessman. They got engaged in 1952, but the wedding was canceled as Hepburn realized their careers would not work well together. Hepburn gave her wedding dress to an Italian couple, who still have the dress to this day.

Hepburn also dated the American theatrical producer Michael Butler, who produced the insanely popular show Hair (1967). This relationship was short-lived.

Her next relationship was a little more scandalous – with a married man, William Holden (April 17, 1918 – November 12, 1981). During the filming of Sabrina (1954), the affair begins, and Holden agrees to leave his wife and children and marry Hepburn. It was reportedly (understandably) a whirlwind.

However, Hepburn saw children in her future, and after Holden revealed that he had undergone a vasectomy, the actress ended the relationship. This relationship happened in 1953, and Holden’s career would later slide down with alcoholism, resulting in his death.

1954 Audrey married Mel Ferrer (August 25, 1917 – June 02, 2008). Hepburn had two miscarriages during this marriage, one of which was due to falling and breaking her back while shooting for a film. Sean Hepburn, the couple’s only child, was born in 1960. Hepburn had two more miscarriages in 1965 and 1967.

During this marriage, there were rumors of affairs between Ferrer and Hepburn. Ferrer was accused of being unfaithful, and Hepburn allegedly had an affair with her co-star Albert Finney. After 14 years, Hepburn and Ferrer divorced in 1968. She spoke to him two more times after the divorce.

Soon after the divorce, Hepburn fell in love with an Italian Psychiatrist, Andrea Dotti (March 18, 1938 – September 30, 2007). They met while she was exploring Greek ruins – the two married in January 1969 and had one child together. Luca was born in 1970, but Hepburn had another miscarriage in 1974. Again, their marriage was filled with infidelity. Dotti would cheat on Hepburn with younger women, while Hepburn had an affair with Ben Gazzara, another actor. Dotti and Hepburn divorced in 1982 after 13 years together.

Hepburn spent the last years of her life with Robert Wolders (September 28, 1936 – July 12, 2018), a Dutch Actor. She would later say that these were the happiest years of her life.

Hollywood also covered up her parent’s controversial past. They stated her father was a banker and hid her mother’s skeletons in the closet. Her father died at the age of 91; they rekindled their relationship in 1959. Her father never once tried to capitalize off Hepburn’s success or money.

Her mother died in 1984. She lived with Hepburn until her death, and Audrey accompanied her body to the Netherlands. She was 84 years old.

Her personal life was filled with ups and downs and scandals. However, Hepburn remained immensely respected; her personal life wasn’t and still isn’t the subject of many stories, but rather her fantastic talent and humanitarian energy.

Style Icon

As an iconic actress, Audrey Hepburn also gained popularity for her style. She has been labeled as one of the world’s biggest and best style icons. As a fashion icon, she gained this title for multiple reasons.

Whether it’s in her films or with her street style, Hepburn always looked immaculate. Some credited this to her lean features, while others have stated that she had an eye for fashion. The ice that she wore in her twenties is being worn by twenty-year-olds today, demonstrating how she was ahead of time.

The low-maintenance haircut and essential clothing pieces spoke to a lot of women. Hepburn offered a realistic standard for women, giving them options they could easily copy. This, amongst other things, classifies her as one of the most influential fashion icons ever.

Hepburn always opted for tailored basics rather than trendy, lavish pieces. Skinny pants, dark shirts, flannels, and simple dresses were always her attire. Like these pieces, choosing basics has set Hepburn as a timeless fashion icon – something many Golden Age actresses did not achieve.

Everything I learned I learned from the movies. – Audrey Hepburn Click To Tweet

Hepburn did not follow specific fashion trends and instead created her own. Hepburn concentrated heavily on accessories and elevated classic styles in modern ways – this still lives on today.

However, the little black dress arguably became the actual iconic dress. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) made Hepburn firmly the style icon that she is known as today. She epitomized 1950s glamour, exhuming in a classic, elegant style.

Hepburn was one of the only three people to wear the Tiffany diamond – one of the largest yellow diamonds. She was also included in People’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 1990, recognizing the legacy of her style and appearance.

As for style recognition, Hepburn was a member of the International Best Dressed List and received the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Lifetime of Style Award in 1992. Audrey’s legacy spans much further than acting. Her style and fashion will also live on as they already have.

So much so, a British writer, Mark Tungate, stated that Hepburn was her recognizable brand. It’s also been said that she appealed to women more than men – compared to the curvy Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly. Hepburn has been cited as one of the key figures that made being extraordinarily slim and fashionable.

Hepburn was very often associated with French designer Hubert de Givenchy. Givenchy would later become crucial to her life, especially throughout her death. Many have questioned whether Givenchy was made famous by Audrey Hepburn or vice versa. Their relationship was extraordinary and partly the reason why Hepburn was seen as so fashionable.

Humanitarian Work

Away from the glamorous side and acting life, Hepburn was also heavily involved in humanitarian work. In the 1950s, Hepburn became involved in UNICEF by narrating two radio programs that retold children’s stories of the war. In 1989, she was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. Upon this appointment, she stated that she was grateful to receive help as a child and wanted to help other children in similar situations.

Hepburn visited Ethiopia in 1988, where she visited an orphanage in Mekele. It housed 500 starving children, in which UNICEF would send food. The trip was vital for Hepburn. After the trip, she had a broken heart and felt desperate. She could not stand the situation that two million people were in imminent danger of starving to death. Many of those people were children. Red Cross and UNICEF workers who could help distribute the food had been ordered to leave the northern territories because of two simultaneous civil wars, which was why the food could not be delivered. Hepburn visited rebel countries and witnessed mothers and their children who had walked for ten days or sometimes for three weeks, looking for food. That shocking image was too much for her. Hepburn did not like the term ‘Third World’ because she believed that people were all one world. Hepburn wanted people to know that many people were starving and suffering.

In August 1988, Hepburn visited Turkey through an immunization campaign. For Hepburn, this trip showed how unique UNICEF could be for the world. It took them ten days to vaccinate the entire country. A couple of months later, Hepburn took a trip to South America, visiting countries like Venezuela and Ecuador. Audrey would say that UNICEF was a “miracle” that brought water to communities for the first time.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. – Audrey Hepburn Click To Tweet

From 1988 to 1989, Hepburn visited multiple different countries, from Sudan to Honduras. She brought attention to world issues through her platform and directly helped those trapped in a civil war or caught in natural disasters.

About Hepburn, her hospitality and care for the people in other countries were incredible. For instance, she never hesitated to enter dirty situations or hug humans with diseases. It was even stated that children gravitated towards her – they would come up to her and hold her hand despite having no reason to trust many adults.

From 1990 to 1992, Hepburn carried on her humanitarian efforts. In October 1990, she visited Vietnam to help provide clean water and immunization. These efforts in Vietnam were hopefully to form a connection with the government for national UNICEF. This was something that she continued to strive towards throughout her life.

A notable trip for Hepburn was her one to Somalia in 1992. She walked into something she described as “apocalyptic” despite seeing famine and destruction in other countries and communities. Despite being scarred by what she had seen, she still had hope, releasing one of her most famous quotes: “Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanization of politics.” Shortly after this trip, Hepburn was diagnosed with cancer.

When asked if she regretted traveling so much with UNICEF in the last years of her life, she appeared to be perturbed. Hepburn suggested that she would have missed so much of her life if she had not become part of UNICEF and traveled the world. Many said her only regret was that she couldn’t continue her humanitarian work.

Later Life

Before her diagnosis, Hepburn dedicated a lot of her time to UNICEF. However, Hepburn also entered back into the movies in the 1980s. For Instance, Bloodline (1979), They All Laughed  (1981), and Always (1989) were all filmed in her later years.

The acting was still her passion, and her interest in Hepburn in starring in these films did not pass. She also appeared in TV series such as American Masters (1985), Love Among Thieves (1987), and Gregory Peck: His Own Man (1988).

The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters. – Audrey Hepburn Click To Tweet

Family life was also paramount for Hepburn. In her later years, she was spending her time with Robert Wolders. She traveled the world with Wolders for six months every year, working together to bring attention to the needs of children.

Her Children, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti, carried on their mother’s legacy. Sean Ferrer became an accomplished film director and wrote a book called “An Elegant Spirit,” about Audrey Hepburn.

Luca Dotti always expressed a desire to stay away from the spotlight. He also wrote a book about his mother, titled “Audrey at Home, Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen.” Dotti has also inherited the UNICEF fund, which was dedicated to Hepburn.


In 1992, Hepburn believed she had picked up a stomach bug while working with UNICEF to help children in Somalia. UNICEF announced her death.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery in November. It was a sporadic type of cancer that had grown slowly over several years. After surgery, Hepburn began chemotherapy. However, she was given three months to live.

Sources stated that she was afraid of the pain but not scared of dying. Many said she thought more about her family and friends while dying than she did about herself.

Hepburn wanted to spend her last Christmas in their home in Switzerland. Getting to her home while she was so ill and fragile proved extremely difficult. Their longtime friends Hubert Givenchy and Bunny Mellon stepped in to help.

They went to Switzerland by private jet, during which Hepburn was on life support, and extra care and attention needed to be taken. Her last Christmas would be spent in Switzerland, with her friends and family surrounding her.

Hepburn asked her friend to buy three unique winter coats – one for Givenchy, Sean, and Wolders. She asked them to think about her when they wore them. She would also state it was the most beautiful Christmas that she ever had.

She spent her last days in hospice care in Vaud. Occasionally, she would walk around the garden but gradually become confined to her bed.

Michael Tilson Thomas was one of Hepburn’s longtime friends. He recalls his last conversation with Hepburn, a telephone call – just a couple of days before she passed away. He stated that she was concerned about him – something that was highly reflective of her nature and attitude towards other people. He also said that she didn’t sound afraid at all.

On January 20, 1993, Hepburn died in her sleep. After her death, Gregory Peck would tearfully recite her favorite poem. It was seen as a loss to her friends and family, the film, and humanitarian communities.

Her funeral was held in Tolochenaz on the 24th of January. Both her ex-husbands attended her funeral, as did executives of UNICEF and fellow actors such as Roger Moore and Alain Delon. Elizabeth Taylor and the Dutch Royal Family sent flowers.

Her will stated that her two sons should be co-equal heirs to her estate. She left various precious jewels to her friends and families. Robert Wolders received two silver candlesticks, which would be worth around $900 today.

Givenchy was named the executor of the estate alongside two Swiss attorneys.


Many notable figures recognized Hepburn. Not just for her life in the films, her childhood struggles, and her humanitarian efforts.

George H.W. Bush, the President of the United States at the time, presented Hepburn with a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with UNICEF. Her efforts to help starving children were recognized and praised by many worldwide.

The Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences awarded her the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for contributing to humanity.

In 2002, at the United Nations Special Sessions on Children, UNICEF honored Hepburn’s legacy of helping those worldwide. They unveiled a statue named “The Spirit of Audrey.” This can be found at UNICEF’s New York headquarters.

The service she provided for children is also recognized through the Audrey Hepburn Society – the United States Fund for UNICEF.

Hepburn is also recognized for her contributions to film and art. This includes acting, ballet, and fashion. She is one of the most successful actresses to have lived and will be forever known as the beautiful lady in the black dress and pearls.

Recognition of her comes in many forms, both on and off the screen.

In 1991, she received a tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Centre and remained a frequent presenter at The Academy Awards.


Hepburn summed up her legacy: “I’ve been particularly lucky.” That isn’t exactly the case, though. Through hardships, questionable parents, and hard work, Hepburn rightfully earned her place as one of the world’s most successful actresses and icons.

Her legacy still lives on today, almost decades after her death.

The American Film Institute named Hepburn one of the Greatest Female Stars of All Time. She remains among the few celebrities to win specific awards and wear certain accessories.

Since her death, she has become the subject of many biographies. In which the details of the turbulent early years and successful later years are presented. The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000), a documentary that starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Emmy Rossum, was extremely popular, showcasing that the interest in the legendary actress never really fell away.

Today, Hepburn’s image is commonly used in advertising. Many companies have colorized and digitally enhanced old clips from the Roman Holiday (1953) to feature Hepburn in modern adverts.

For example, In Britain, Hepburn was used for a television advert for the “Galaxy” chocolate bar. This particular advertising effort gained a lot of attention.

In 2006, Gap donated some of its earnings from a “skinny black pants” campaign to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, showing her legacy in humanitarian work and the fashion world.

Even Google produced a sketch for Hepburn on her 85th Birthday, demonstrating how widespread and influential the legendary actress was.

Hepburn is primarily remembered for such films as Roman Holiday (1953) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). With the introduction of the internet, Hepburn is also still commonly used as style inspiration – still to this day.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. – Audrey Hepburn Click To Tweet

However, her real legacy lies in charity. Audrey’s son, Sean Ferrer, founded the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund shortly after his mother’s death. This ensured that her legacy lived on and helped needy children.

The US Fund for UNICEF also founded the Audrey Hepburn Society, allowing her legacy to live on in a way she would have wanted. To this day, it has raised almost a million dollars.

Her son, Luca Dotti, has also become a patron for the Pseudomyxoma Survivor charity. This organization provides specific support to patients who had the same sporadic cancer that took Hepburn’s life.

Some of Hepburn’s items were also auctioned off. This included personal memorabilia and dresses. The money earned went to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, showing that her legacy, as expected, lies with the children she so desperately wanted to help.

Audrey’s life can be summed up in her own words: “I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time, it just happened to me without my ever seeking it.”

Packed with talent, adventure, and love, Hepburn remained humble and cheerful, even towards the end.

We hope you enjoyed exploring Audrey Hepburn biography and success story. We hope you feel inspired to follow your dreams and give back to the world.

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