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Born in Brussels in 1929, Audrey Hepburn was the daughter of a British father and a Dutch Baroness. But when she was five, her father deserted the family. With the outbreak of war in 1939, her mother thought they would be safer in Holland than Holland Park, but although they survived the German Occupation, the experience left its physical and emotional scars. Back in England again, Audrey studied ballet with Marie Rambert. After a few West End musicals and minor film parts, she was spotted by the author, Colette, to star in a stage version of her novel, "Gigi". And then Audrey's career took off. Her debut screen role was the Princess in the enchanting "Roman Holiday". It won her an Oscar. She went on to bring her unique grace and high spirits to a number of highly acclaimed films - from "Funny Face" and "The Nun's Story" to "My Fair Lady", "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Robin and Marian". For a while it looked as though her personal life would follow the Hollywood dream. But her marriage to Mel Ferrer was not to last. She married and divorced a second time, and there were other passionate but short-lived affairs, some revealed for the first time in this book, but her relationships were never entirely successful. With all the insight, background knowledge and innate sympathy for his subject, qualities that have made his biographies of Hitchcock, Dietrich, Monroe and Bergman such international successes, Donald Spoto truly captures the spirit of an elusive, beautiful, talented and vulnerable woman.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099487043
ISBN-10: 0099487047
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 19mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 7-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Straightforward, informative biography of the silver screen's fairest lady by veteran celebrity chronicler Spoto (Marilyn Monroe, 2001, etc.).Hepburn's role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) made the elegant waif one of the century's style icons. Born to an unaffectionate Dutch baroness and an emotionally distant British layabout (who abandoned the family in her youth), Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston was raised in Belgium and Arnhem, Holland. There, in her grandparents' house, Hepburn spent the harrowing years of World War II, nearly dying of starvation during the German occupation. Mother and daughter became involved in the Resistance, a move that would inform Hepburn's later humanitarian acts. Postwar, they moved to England, where Hepburn's budding dance career quickly led to theater and film work. While she was filming a silly musical on the French Riviera, author Colette hand-picked her to star as Gigi on Broadway, a stunning performance that propelled her instantaneously to It Girl status. Her first starring cinema role, in Roman Holiday (1952), garnered her an Academy Award, and Sabrina (1954) brought her another Oscar nomination, and love with co-star William Holden. Meanwhile, a tumultuous relationship with Mel Ferrar, whom she eventually wed, raged on. Following several more award-winning turns (War and Peace, Funny Face, The Nun's Story, etc.), Hepburn became a mother in 1960 (she had given birth to a stillborn years before). In 1967, about to divorce Ferrar, she took an indefinite hiatus from celluloid to raise her son, delighting in the daily chores of cooking and gardening. Two marriages, another son and work in developing nations for UNICEF followed. Hepburn died from colon cancer in 1993.For fans and movie buffs. The bouts of depression and the chain-smoking are covered, but Spoto clearly reveres Hepburn, ultimately rendering her a symbol of superhuman goodness. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Donald Spoto

Donald Spoto was born near New York City in 1941 and received his PhD degree from Fordham University in 1970. He is the author of 27 books, including internationally bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. He is married to the Danish school administrator and artist Ole Flemming Larsen. They live in a quiet village an hour's drive from Copenhagen.

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