Why We Celebrate
Audrey Hepburn’s Birthday
From Google’s Search Page To Headlines Across Newspapers And The Inter-webs, The World Recognized What Would Have Been The 85th Birthday Of Every Body's Fair Lady
By David Fantle and Tom Johnson
Reel To Real Special for Modern Times Magazine
May 5, 2014 — The silver screen loved Audrey Hepburn almost as much as film audiences around the world and through the decades still do.
One of the most naturally beautiful women in history and with an impeccable eye for couture (she’s listed on the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame); Hepburn would have turned 85 on May 4 (she died in 1993).
Her willowy dancer’s grace — she studied ballet in her native Belgium before WWII — favored Hepburn’s performances in such musicals as Funny Face with her idol Fred Astaire and My Fair Lady which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
And Audrey is one of the rare actresses that won a Best Actress Academy Award for her ostensible film debut (after a couple of bit parts) as the princess out on a spree in Roman Holiday. Other great performances include Sabrina opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden and as Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Speaking to us in his office in the San Remo building in New York City, Stanley Donen who directed Hepburn in three of her finest, Charade, Funny Face and Two for the Road told us that Audrey was “…a unique, delicate, attractive, physically sensual girl who guys went crazy for. And I should know; I numbered myself among them. She was just wonderful.”
Donen also paraphrased the words of another of Audrey’s directors, Billy Wilder, when he said: “I don't how to describe what Audrey Hepburn had. God created her and there she was.”
Gregory Peck, Audrey’s co-star in Roman Holiday, told us during an interview in his Bel-Air home that after seeing the first rushes of Audrey’s work on the film he thought she would win an Oscar and he magnanimously suggested that director William Wyler include her screen credit alongside his. It was a prescient move that turned out to be correct.
Peck went on to say that Wyler’s direction was considered to be “death on wheels” to method actors. “When I was working on Holiday with Audrey, he’d say: ‘Audrey, get mad. You have to cry in this scene.’ She’d have to produce tears without analysis. But Audrey even in her first film was a total pro and could do it.”
David Fantle & Tom Johnson have interviewed more than 250 celebrities, mostly from Hollywood’s Golden Age. They are co-authors of the 2004 book, Reel to Real: 25 years of celebrity profiles from vaudeville to movies to TV. Reach them at www.reeltoreal.com.
Chapter 18: “This Could be the Last Time” The galaxy-class astral catwomen paint by numbers way out in the Fornax Void, and grease some filthy-dirty alien werewolves in the process.
Beyond The Hill An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.