From Dating JFK To Potentially Portraying Peter Pan: Here Are 7 Interesting Facts About The Great Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn has remained an icon for generations due in part to her remarkable on-screen charisma, fashion sense and awe-inspiring philanthropic work. As the embodiment of grace whose image remains a staple on virtually every young woman’s wall in the form of a Breakfast At Tiffany’s poster, Hepburn managed to captivate the movie-going audience in such classics as Roman Holiday, Funny Face and Sabrina, just to name a few.

Her journey to super stardom certainly wasn’t a simple one, as many are aware of the harrowing experiences she suffered through. These included the Nazi occupation during World War II and the subsequent Dutch famine of 1944-1945 which resulted in her developing numerous health ailments.

Her inspirational rise to fame ultimately came to a heartbreaking end in January of 1993 when Hepburn passed away from appendix cancer at the age of 63. She left behind a marveling legacy and for those familiar with Hepburn, here are just a few facts about her life you probably never knew.


1. She Is Part Of The Elite EGOT Club

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Audrey Holding Up Her Oscar At The 26th Academy Awards, 1954

Hepburn is one of 12 people who have earned the rare honor of winning four of the major annual American entertainment awards – an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. She is also the first to join this elite club posthumously, earning an Emmy for Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn in September 1993 and her Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.

She is perhaps best known for earning a Best Actress Academy Award for her first starring role as Princess Ann in 1953’s Roman Holiday, an achievement only a few exceptional talents can say they’ve earned. Hepburn was awarded her Tony Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance in Ondine the following year where she worked alongside her future husband, actor Mel Ferrer, on Broadway.

2. Givenchy Created A One-Of-A-Kind Perfume Just For Her

 

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[Credit: Givenchy]

Hepburn met French designer Hubert de Givenchy during the production of 1954’s fashion-centric Sabrina. Givenchy was reportedly expecting to meet another Academy Award winner, actress Katharine Hepburn (no relation to Audrey) to discuss clothing options for the film. Although he was initially a bit disappointed by the confusion, Givenchy and Hepburn ended up becoming the best of friends for the remainder of her life.

Givenchy created an exclusive perfume for Hepburn in 1957 titled L’Interdit which translates to “the forbidden” in French. She adored the fragrance, wearing it for years and ultimately becoming the face of its advertising campaign when it was finally released to the public in the 1960s.

3. She Dated John F. Kennedy And Informed The Crew On Set Of My Fair Lady Of His Death

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My Fair Lady | Warner Bros.

You’re probably familiar with the Breakfast At Tiffany’s tidbit that Marilyn Monroe was original author Truman Capote’s first pick for who should portray Holly Golightly – the role that solidified Hepburn’s place in pop culture and film history. This discord between the film’s casting and Capote is not the only similarity shared between the two actresses. Interestingly enough, the beloved 35th President of the United States is where they both align as well.

Former President John F. Kennedy and Hepburn dated when he was a senator with no love lost between them when they ultimately split, as Kennedy was once quoted saying Roman Holiday was his favorite film. Monroe’s relationship with Kennedy is a bit different as he allegedly had an affair with her while married to Jackie O. Her seductive recitation of “Happy Birthday” remains one of the most talked about events in all of human history. Hepburn actually performed the song in a less scandalized matter the following year, however since it was a private event there is unfortunately no record of it.

When Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, it was Hepburn who made the distressing announcement to the cast and crew on set of My Fair Lady during production. She reportedly asked everyone to pray for him and when she went into a carriage on-set with co-star Jeremy Brett, she apparently lowered the shades and cried.

4. Disney Threatened Legal Action Against A Live-Action Peter Pan Film Starring Hepburn In The Titular Role

You read that right, we would’ve gotten to see an Audrey Hepburn-starring Peter Pan film if Walt Disney himself hadn’t threatened legal action against the London Hospital for Children.

The Hospital proposed a live-action film adaptation of J.M Barrie’s play in hopes to generate funds to improve patient care facilities. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, gifted the rights to the Hospital in 1929. The proposed film was to star Hepburn as the boy who never grew up and Laurence Olivier as Captain Hook. Hepburn’s My Fair Lady director George Cukor would have directed the film, however the project was ultimately scrapped courtesy of the King of the Mouse House.

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[Credit: Warner Bros.]
Disney essentially claimed their studio owned all the cinematic rights to Peter Pan following the release of their classic animated Pan film in 1953. They did pay for the rights to make the animated movie, although it was only a small amount in 1939. When they learned about the Hospital’s plan to develop a live-action Pan adaptation, Disney reportedly threatened legal action against them and that was enough to say goodbye to the idea of a flying Hepburn. If there’s anything we know about Walt Disney, it’s that he could utterly ruthless when anything related to his business arose and this was definitely a taste of just how harsh he could be.

5. Her Salary For Breakfast At Tiffany’s Made Her The Second Highest Paid Actress Of Her Time

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Breakfast At Tiffany’s | Paramount Pictures

While Hepburn portraying Holly Golightly in Blake Edwards’ Breakfast At Tiffany’s may not have been Capote’s first choice, her charismatic magnetism just radiated on screen which led to her earning what she rightly deserved for the role.

She was reportedly paid $750,000 for Tiffany’s, a number that placed her second behind Elizabeth Taylor’s record-setting contract of $1 million for the epic Cleopatra (1963). Actresses earning these numbers were simply unheard of at the time, however these two films ride entirely on the performances of the main lead actresses. Hepburn particularly enchanted critics and audiences alike with her incredible talent which only assisted her for future deals, earning a staggering $1,100,000 for My Fair Lady.

For anyone wondering how monumentally impressive this achievement is, she reportedly earned $12,500 for her starring role in Roman Holiday. Not every famous face who makes the big bucks in future projects are given the same sum during their debuts, no matter how impressive it may be. It goes to show how important those initial starring debuts are since the trajectory of Hepburn’s career managed to skyrocket following that role and subsequent Oscar win.

6. She Didn’t Understand Why People Thought She Was Beautiful

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Sabrina | Paramount Pictures

In one of the more unbelievable things learned about this brilliant woman, she experienced self-esteem and body issues throughout her life. According to her son, Luca Dotti, his mother didn’t know why people thought she was beautiful, revealing in a Vanity Fair interview that she “thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny and not enough breast.”

She apparently would “look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful'” to which I say, she was easily one of the most gorgeous-looking human beings to ever grace the Earth. A sentiment I know I’m not the only one to share.

7. Her Debilitating Health Caused Her To Miss The Presidential Medal Of Freedom Ceremony Honoring Her Humanitarian Work

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[Credit: UNICEF]
Hepburn retired from acting in the 1970s, choosing to spend more time with her family and focus on the plight suffered by millions around the world. Hepburn was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in 1989 and in December of 1992, she was awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

She frequently visited some of the most impoverished parts of the world in her later life and the honor was to primarily recognize her incredible role as Goodwill Ambassador. Unfortunately, her rapidly declining health rendered her unable to attend the reception honoring her at the White House. Her philanthropic legacy lives on at UNICEF’s New York headquarters where a statue dedicated to her was unveiled in 2002 named “The Spirit of Audrey.”

It’s truly no surprise why Audrey Hepburn is as beloved as she is. An icon in every sense of the word be it through her fashion sense, the way she conducted herself or her emphasis on the struggles experienced by the less fortunate, Hepburn has and will continue to remain an inspiration. While she easily could’ve went down the route of a typical Hollywood starlet, she chose roles that challenged her abilities and didn’t allow her various insecurities to stop her.

Whether you feel a sudden inkling to laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably or anything in between, there is always an Audrey Hepburn film guaranteed to satisfy whatever film craving you may have.

(Sources: Biography | Everything Audrey | Ranker)

What’s your favorite Audrey Hepburn factoid? Share them in the comments below!

Nostalgia’d Review: Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), Seen On The Big Screen!

This Week, Let’s Visit The Illustrious Holly Golightly And Grab Some Breakfast At Tiffany’s!

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Paramount Pictures

Holly Golightly: I’ll tell you one thing, Fred, darling… I’d marry you for your money in a minute. Would you marry me for my money?
Paul Varjak: In a minute.
Holly: I guess it’s pretty lucky neither of us is rich, huh?
Paul: … Yeah.


Based on the novel of the same name by Truman CapoteBreakfast At Tiffany’s follows the journey of Holly Golightly portrayed by the captivatingly brilliant Audrey Hepburn. We are introduced to this vision in black as she scarfs down on a croissant while looking lovingly at a window belonging to Tiffany & Co. You know, a typical Monday morning for many of us. Breakfast At Tiffany‘s also stars a beautifully tanned George Peppard, an incredibly racist performance by Mickey Rooney and is directed by the iconic Blake Edwards (Victor/Victoria, The Pink Panther)

Viewing This In The Theatres Is An Experience Like No Other

Tiffany’s is one of my favourite movies of all time and I was lucky enough to view it tonight at the VIP Cineplex theatre in Toronto. For those unfamiliar, the VIP theatres are 19+ and feature reclining seats, in-seat service, and they have basically been the only way I watch movies at the theatres now. They’ve spoiled me, really.

Hearing that incredible Henry Mancini score set against the backdrop of 1960s New York on a movie theatre screen while chomping down on an unhealthy brownie that was brought to me is fan… tastic! (This is also not a paid promotion… I just really like their VIP theatres)

And for those confused by my strange spelling, Canadians spell “theater” as “theatre.” Why? No idea.

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Audrey Hepburn As Ms. Golightly Is Simply A Dream

Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of this woman who harbours deep secrets and has lived through her whole existence by placing various facades on whomever she encounters could have easily come across as a vapid and selfish woman by any actress not of her calibre. Hepburn’s ability to step into a room and take it over completely while also managing to have that small-town naive look in her eyes is simply mesmerizing. I am genuinely in awe throughout the film at her sheer magnitude of a presence on screen. She receives first billing and undoubtedly owns it.

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Hepburn and Peppard work fantastically well together, I enjoyed every single moment these two were on screen because I felt the adoration each respective character had for the other. The way the story progressed added another layer to their relationship and understanding of each other, particularly in Paul’s (Peppard) growing love for Holly. Since Hepburn’s performance and grasp of her character is executed so well, you want to see her succeed and thrive in her love life regardless of her belief that she needs to be wealthy in order to achieve that. Every character works to serve Holly’s story and ultimately, I love the film for that because of how much I am drawn to Holly Golightly.

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Really Though… That Mickey Rooney Was All Kinds Of Crazy

With the undying love I will forever have for this movie, that performance by Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi will always make me laugh at the sheer absurdity of it. It is terribly insensitive and I’m certain any audience member today watching for the first time will understand just how different the times were… Not to excuse the blatant racism of the character, you just can’t help but laugh at the terribleness of it when a grown man in shitty makeup is shouting, “Miss-a Gorightry!” In the words of Clay Davissheeeeeeeeit.

Henry Mancini’s Score And Blake Edwards’ Direction Is To Die For

Mancini’s Moon River is utilized throughout the film for a number of scenes and every time I hear those first few chords, I melt. Edwards’ sequences are paired perfectly with Mancini’s score. That iconic opening scene is regarded as a classic because of its ability to express so much with not a single word of dialogue uttered in it.

We hear the opening chords to Moon River set against the sequence of a beautiful woman in black dressed to the nines, adoring the window display of one of the most affluent establishments on Earth. The hugely pronounced font displaying all those involved plus a mention of “Cat” in the character list! This movie has me hooked already and it’s only a minute in!

Please Check Out The Opening Scene Below, It Is Lovely:

Favourite Scene!

So as you can tell from this entire piece, I love Breakfast At Tiffany’s and since it had been awhile since I last saw it, watching it in the theatre reminded me of all the fun this film has and the countless sequences that made me laugh aloud.

It is terribly difficult, darling to narrow it down to just one scene but since that is the point of this specific segment, I will mention the Stripper Dance scene wherein a drunk Holly and relatively distracted Paul visit a bar that I guess doubles as a strip show?

  • Bye Bye, Doc Golightly. The scene happened right after Holly said goodbye to Doc and declared to Paul to not take her home until she is well and drunk and well… Thankfully Paul is a man of his word.
  • Holly And Paul Discuss The Talents Of The Dancer. Nothing says relationship bonding like taking your prospective partner to a strip show and debating the merits of whether the woman stripping on stage is either “deeply and importantly” talented or “amusingly and superficially” talented… Not to mention HOW GREAT IS IT SEEING AUDREY HEPBURN AND GEORGE PEPPARD JUST CHILLING, WATCHING A WOMAN STRIP DANCE?!
  • My Favourite Line Of The Entire Film: “… Gracious! Do you think she’s handsomely paid?”

See My Favourite Scene Below:


If you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn, gather your friends who are into older films that make you laugh and emotional at times and check out Breakfast At Tiffany’s. 

Breakfast At Tiffany’s receives a Matt Damon-Having-The-Time-Of-His-Life-And-Grabbing-His-Beautiful-Nose.

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Omaze.com

Some Ticket Stub Action, If You’re Into That:

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When Did I First Feel The Need To Watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s?

Fun Fact! For those interested, I used to be a huge Gossip Girl fan back when it aired in 2007 (TEN YEARS AGO?!) and there is a Tiffany’s sequence that occurred in the first season that I remember so vividly because I used to watch that fucking show incessantly. I even bought the Season 1 DVD that is… Somewhere…

Anyway, there is a sequence in Season 1, Episode 14 where Blair (Leighton Meester) is in her Holly Golightly-garb set at the conclusion of the film, looking for “Cat.” I don’t know why I liked it so much, I think it was because the thought of naming one’s cat “Cat” was just so appealing to me. After that episode, I decided “hey, maybe I should watch this movie with Audrey Hepburn because Gossip Girl referenced it… I mean, it must be good if they referenced it, right?” I always knew of the film since I was slowly getting into old Hollywood films but never took the time out to watch since we all know how busy seventh graders are.

Long winded story short, it is thanks to that sequence from the first season of Gossip Girl that got me off my butt and watching this Hepburn classic. Thanks, Jenny BLAIR!

Check Out More Nostalgia’d Reviews!

featured image source: panic-posters

Roman Holiday (1953)

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Princess Ann: I’ve never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on. With my dress off, it’s MOST unusual.

According to sources known from the “IMDb”, Audrey Hepburn’s reaction to Gregory Peck’s it’s a prank, bro during the disgustingly adorable “Mouth of Truth” sequence was completely genuine.


Starring: Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann, Gregory Peck as Joe Bradley, dir. William Wyler

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Cinematographers: Henri Alekan, Franz Planer