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Creator / Audrey Hepburn

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"I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people's minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing."

Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; 4 May 1929 20 January 1993) was one of the most beautiful, elegant, and yes iconic actors in cinema history. She never seemed to try to be iconic; it just came naturally. Whether dressed in scarves, nun's habits, or the Little Black Dress, hers was an unforgettable image. Look up the word "classy" in the dictionary, and a picture of her will be staring back at you.

A British citizen, she was born in Brussels, Belgium to a Dutch Baroness and an Anglo-Irish ne'er-do-well. Her father walked out on the family when she was young, and her subsequent adolescence in German-occupied Netherlands was quite traumatising (she helped the local resistance, witnessed deportations of Jews and almost died of malnutrition during the "Hunger Winter" caused by a German blockade). She then studied and practiced ballet in Amsterdam.

She went from one small role after another in Dutch and British film and stage productions, until she ended up in the main role in the Broadway play Gigi in 1951, which earned her much acclaim. Prominent Hollywoodian director William Wyler decided to cast her for Roman Holiday as neither of his first choices, Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons, were available. The rest, as they say, is history.

She was married to American actor Mel Ferrer from ​1954 to 1968 and to Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti from 1969 to 1982. Even in her later years, she was still a looker, appearing in Blackglama's "What Becomes A Legend Most?" ad campaign, although she spent most of her later years doing philanthropic work with UNICEF. She passed away from appendiceal cancer (which was diagnosed too late) in Switzerland at the age of 63 on January 20, 1993.

She is not related to Katharine Hepburn, who was American. However, they were close friends; Katharine nicknamed Audrey "my little daughter".


Tropes in her works:

  • '50s Hair: She wore a ponytail at the start of her career, then cropped it into a pixie cut, then grew it again into a Beehive Hairdo in The '60s.
  • Hollywood Thin: Along with the Little Black Dress example below, Hepburn's physique has long been considered an ideal standard of beauty and grace. Despite being tall at 57, she never weighed more than 115 lbs her entire life. Sadly, this stemmed from having gone through long stretches of starvation during the war which ruined her metabolism. She suffered lifetime health complications due to this such as anemia, having issues getting and staying pregnant note , and eventually stomach cancer from which she died at only the age of 63.
  • Little Black Dress: She didn't invent it, but let's face it: her face is the one that immediately comes to mind whenever one hears the phrase. She's not the page image for nothing, after all.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Played two of the early role models for this archetype, Princess Ann and Holly Golightly.

Portrayals in fiction: