When you think of Audrey Hepburn, you probably think about her delicate petite frame accentuated by her iconic high-brow fashion sense. Or perhaps you are reminded of her tendency to play high-class wealthy women cast opposite to leading men that were considerably older than herself, and maybe a few of her most beloved films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady or Wait Until Dark might come to mind.
She was beautiful, wildly-talented, witty, educated, chic and poised as can be. There’s no denying the fact that she made a conspicuous and enduring impact on western culture. Through her contributions to the film industry during Hollywood’s Golden Age, she left behind a legacy that still resonates with contemporary audiences.
But there is probably a lot about this bewitching actress that you didn’t know. After all, everyone’s got skeleton’s in their closets and tricks up their sleeves, and Audrey was no different. Unfortunately, Hepburn died in Switzerland in 1993 but with a little bit of sleuthy detective work we’ve been able to take a sneaky little peak into her private life and pass. And some of what we’ve found is just too fascinating not to share.
Audrey Hepburn Was Raised By Nazi’s
Fortunately,Audrey supported the Allied nations and condemned the National Socialists, but her family on the other hand had some rather disturbing allegiances.
Her father, Joseph, and her Mother, Ella were both members of the British Union of Fascists. The BUF were outspoken supporters of the the Nazi Party and Benito Mussolini’s brand of far-right authoritarian fascism. Audrey’s parents toured Germany in 1935 with the Milford sisters – a nefarious duo of affluent British aristocrats that were later jailed for their pro-Nazi leanings.
Joseph would abandon Audrey when she was just a little girl. And after her parent’s divorced, her mother traveled back to Germany to participate in the Nuremberg rallies. She then penned a glowing account of her experience for the pro-fascist magazine The Blackshirt.
Joseph was then scrutinized and investigated for receiving funding form a a band of Germans with Nazi-ties. He used that money to start a propaganda dispensing newspaper. Ultimately, he was thrown into prison as an enemy of the state.
Hepburn moved to Holland during the war thinking that she would be safer in a nation that intended to to stay neutral. The Nazi’s didn’t care about who was neutral or not and invaded anyway. Audrey suffered like everyone else when the Nazi’s cut off of the nations food supply. In fact, her petite frame – which would later be one of her most defining features – had much to do with the fact she was malnourished as a teenager.
It was during this frightening time period that Hepburn financially contributed to the resistance by donating the money that she would earn at ballet recitals to the cause. She also worked as a courier, running messages and money from one group of resistance organizers to another. If the Nazi’s had caught her, she would have most assuredly been executed.
Once Hepburn made it to Hollywood, her agents would draw a lot of attention to her wartime bravery, but they carefully avoided letting the public know that her parent’s were allied with the Nazis. If that had leaked out, her career would have quickly come to a screeching halt.
Audrey Had A Steamy Affair With William Holden During Production of “Sabrina”
By the time filming began for Sabrina, Hepburn was already known to American audiences as the quintessential girl-next-door. No one suspected that her connection with her co-star William Holden was anything more than a working relationship. They obviously shined on-screen together but it was their behind-the-scenes chemistry that was the most intriguing and scandalous.
Holden had quite the reputation as being a misogynistic womanizer. He was married to a woman named Ardis at the time – and although she was aware of his extramarital infidelity, she thought that his rendezvous were just insignificant flings.
Holden was pretty brazen. He’d even go as far as introducing his mistresses to his wife. When Ardis met Audrey, she was immediately stricken with fear. She knew that Hepburn being the intelligent, successful actress that she was presented a viable threat to her marriage.
And she was right about that too. Holden was completely ready to abandon his wife for the young, attractive star. There was just one little kink in the gears that put a stop to that potential unfolding of events. Hepburn desperately wanted to have children.
When she told Holden that she wanted to have kids with him, he revealed that he had underwent a vasectomy several years prior. As soon as Hepburn learned of this, she immediately broke things off with him.
She quickly rebounded from that relationship with actor Mel Ferrar, who shared her desire to start a family. Awkwardly, Hepburn and Ferrar announced their engagement while attending a dinner party at Holden’s house in front of him and his wife.
The two were married in 1954 and had one son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer. They divorced in 1968 after 14 years of marriage.
A Breed Of Tulips Were Named After Hepburn
A hybrid white tulip was developed in Holland in 1990 and was given the name Audrey Hepburn. According to Netherlands Flowerbulb Information Center, the flower was given her name to commemorate the actresses many contributions as an activists and for her charity work with UNICEF.
Other tulips named after famously influential people include flowers named after Bing Crosby, Madame Curie, and John F. Kennedy.
Audrey had a lifelong love affair with gardening, and flowers took on special meaning to her because they helped give her hope when she was living through the depressing reality of World War II. She took them as a sign that food was on it’s way, that peace would someday be achieved and that regardless of the atrocities that human’s commit on this planet, nature always had something beautiful to show us.
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And make sure you keep watching to see what exclusive club Audrey belongs to. Here’s a hint, only 14 other actors and actresses have ever received this prestigious honor.
She Had A Pet Baby Deer
While working on the film Green Mansions in 1959, the animal trainer on set encouraged Hepburn to take the baby deer home so that it would become familiar with her and follow her when the cameras were rolling.
She bonded with the little fawn which was named Pippin and the two quickly were doing almost everything together. She nicknamed the little creature Ip and even took it to the supermarket with her. On that note, what supermarket would let someone inside with a deer? Did she tell them that it was her service animal?
She Had Huge Feet
Even though she was known for her small petite figure and short stature, she had relatively large feet. She wore a size 10 shoe and would buy a half size up so it didn’t look like she was squeezed too tight in her ballet shoes. Hepburn was actually pretty self conscious about her feet. She also felt insecure about her bust size, shoulder shape, and nose. Of course, the rest of the world thought she was drop dead gorgeous.
Hepburn Sang Happy Birthday to John F Kennedy After Marilyn Monroe
Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe where something like polar opposites of eachother. Monroe was the curvaceous, ditsy sex kitten and Hepburn was polished and refined – she exuded elegance. y’
When Truman Capote wrote his novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s he initially wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the films lead Holly Golightly because she thought that she would make a far more believable call girl.
In order to adapt Holly’s character for Hepburn, the character had to undergo some major changes to fit her persona. Of course, the end result was one of the most memorable films of the mid 20th century.
Both Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn have one distinct in common. They had both dated president John F. Kennedy. Hepburn had dated him while he was still just a senator. Monroe became his mistress when he was married – thus her relationship with the 35th president was much more scandalous.
On May 19, 1962, Monroe sang a very sultry version of the classic tune Happy Birthday at a celebration for the presidents 45th birthday. A year later, Hepburn sang for the president but no one remembers her performance as it was far more wholesome than the prior years sex-drenched rendition.
Hepburn Is One Of the Few EGOTs
An EGOT refers to someone that has one an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony Award. The club of people that have won all four honors is quite limited. Hepburn is in fact just one of 14 people that have managed to pull of the task.
She won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1954 for the film Roman Holiday. She won a tony a year later for Best Actress in a Drama for her role in Ondine.
Back in the day it wasn’t common for film star to take roles on television, as such, her Emmy award was actually quite surprising. She won that in 1993 for hosting the PBS’s docu-series Audrey Hepburn’s Gardens of the World. Unfortunately, Hepburn died before the series aired and some of her Emmy votes might have been cast out of sympathy.
Hepburn scored her Grammy posthumously as well in 1994. She won for her spoken word storytelling album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales.
She Is A Polyglot
Less that one percent of the global population is proficient in multiple languages. Hepburn spoke 5 which technically made her pentalingual.
She was fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and German. That must have come in handy when she was at auditions.
Not only was she multi-lingual, but she was exceptionally well spoken. No one could accuse Hepburn of being all looks and no brains.
Well, that wraps up another fascinating reflection of one of the 20th centuries finest actresses. Audrey Hepburn earned all of the recognition that she deservedly receives. Her parent’s might have been Nazis but she relentlessly stood up for what she believed in and put all of her heart and soul into her professional life.
Which Hepburn is your favorite, Audrey or Katherine? Incidentally they aren’t related to each other. In fact, Audrey’s original surname was Ruston – but we think Hepburn suited her quite nicely. Let us know in the comments section below which actress you find most intriguing.
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