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Audrey Hepburn (4 May
1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian.
Born in Ixelles,
Belgium, as Audrey Kathleen Ruston, Hepburn spent her childhood chiefly in the
Netherlands, including German-occupied Arnhem, Netherlands, during the Second
World War. She studied ballet in Arnhem and then moved to London in 1948, where
she continued to train in ballet and worked as a photographer's model. She
appeared in several European films before starring in the 1951 Broadway play
Gigi. Hepburn played the lead female role in Roman Holiday (1953), winning an
Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for her performance. She also won a
Tony Award for her performance in Ondine (1954). Hepburn is one of the few
entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award. She was named
to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1961.
Hepburn became one of
the most successful film actresses in the world and performed with notable
leading men such as Gregory Peck, Rex Harrison, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper,
Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, William Holden, Burt Lancaster, Fred Astaire, James
Garner, Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney. She won BAFTA Awards for her
performances in The Nun's Story (1959) and Charade (1963) and received Academy
Award nominations for Sabrina (1954), The Nun's Story (1959), Breakfast at
Tiffany's (1961) and Wait Until Dark (1967).
She starred as Eliza
Doolittle in the film version of My Fair Lady (1964), becoming only the third
actor to receive $1,000,000 for a film role. From 1968 to 1975 she took a break
from film-making to spend more time with her two sons. In 1976, she starred
with Sean Connery in Robin and Marian. In 1989, she made her last film
appearance in Steven Spielberg's Always.
experiences inspired her passion for humanitarian work and, although she had
worked for UNICEF since the 1950s, during her later life she dedicated much of
her time and energy to the organization. From 1988 until 1992, she worked in
some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities of Africa, South America
and Asia. In 1992, Hepburn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in
recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 1999, she was
posthumously ranked as the third greatest female star of all time by the
American Film Institute.
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