Today is what would have been Audrey Hepburn's 85th Birthday. Though she died way back in 1993 it seems that every day we are still reminded of the power of her films (like that kind of creepy zombie Galaxy chocolate commercial) and her style (once a year an actress will appear in a magazine sporting an Audrey-inspired look). Yes, she was known for iconic style, her romances and her slight frame but here are a couple of things you may be surprised to learn.
She was a bit of a loner
Hepburn wasn't one of those celebrities who craved the spotlight and being surrounded by an entourage. She even called herself an introvert. She once said, "I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”
She had rather big feet
For her slight frame, Audrey was sporting some big feet. She was putting her size 10 feet into those dainty little ballet flats. And she was very critical of her looks. "I'd like to be not so flat-chested," she once said. "I'd like not to have such angular shoulders, such big feet, such a big nose."
She had a pet deer
Audrey was known for her love of animals, especially her pet Yorkie, Mr. Famous, but her most interesting pet was when she took in a fawn and named him Pippin. According to AnotherMag.com, when she was making her 1959 film Green Mansions, the animal trainer on the set suggested that she take her on-screen sidekick, a baby deer, home with her so that he would learn to follow her. Well, who wouldn't follow Audrey Hepburn around (plus he got to sleep in a custom-made bathtub)? He soon became completely docile. She would even take him, nicknamed Ip, to the supermarket in Beverly Hills (take that Paris Hilton and bringing your small chihuahua everywhere).
She misplaced her Oscar (for a little while)
Right after she won the Oscar in 1954 for Roman Holiday she was so excited she left it in the ladies room. Luckily she realized it before she left the auditorium and retrieved it.
She is in the EGOT club
Hepburn is one of only 12 people in the world who have won an Emmy ( host of Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn), a Grammy (spoken word album Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales), an Oscar (best actress for Roman Holiday) and a Tony (best actress in Ondine).
She was fluent in 5 languages
Audrey spoke English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Italian.
She almost played Cleopatra
She was considered strongly for the role that eventually went to Elizabeth Taylor.
She got a little mad when she found out they weren't using her singing voice in My Fair Lady
But she had done extensive vocal training so you get it. When the director told her they would be dubbing her she stormed off set. The next day she came back and apologized to everyone.
And she thought she was miscast as Holly Golightly
Even though it is arguably the role she is most famous for. But she may have been stressed about it because Breakfast at Tiffany's author, Truman Capote, wanted Marilyn Monroe in the part.
She hated Danish pastries
Which made the opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's rather tough to film.
She made what would have been $5.9 million today for playing Holly Golightly
So forcing some Danish pastries down her throat was probably worth it. That paycheck made her the second highest paid actress in Hollywood (Elizabeth Taylor was first.)
Her real name is not Audrey Hepburn
It is Audrey Kathleen Ruston and she was born May 4, 1929 in Brussels. She started calling herself Audrey Hepburn in 1948.
She almost starved to death as a teenager
As a teenager in the Nazi-invaded Netherlands from November 1944 until May 1945, a period known in Dutch history as ‘the hunger winter’, she suffered terrible starvation. The Germans blockaded the area she lived in, causing mass malnutrition that killed around 18,000 people (both her cousin and uncle were executed). She was reduced to eating tulip bulbs and trying to make bread from grass. At the end of the war she was hiding in a cellar from the Nazis.
Her favorite color was cyan
Cyan is a shade of light blue. Her favorite color was not black even though she was very responsible for making the LBD popular.
She didn't like to wear watches
She didn’t like the "sensation of cold or weight against her skin."
Her favorite jewelry was pearls
She either wore pearl earrings or a pearl necklace from her husband Mel Ferrer.
She worked for UNICEF for 38 years
Hepburn spend 38 years of her life working with UNICEF. Before she died in 1993, Hepburn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. She traveled the world to work with impoverished families and would promote her causes tirelessly. “Makeup can only make you look pretty on the outside, but it doesn’t help if you are ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the makeup,” said Hepburn.
She started ballet at age 5
But she never danced professionally (except for the little bit she did in her films). She even participated in secret shows for soldiers growing up in Holland as part of the resistance movement. It was her dancer's walk and training that got her noticed by Gigi author Colette who insisted she star in the Broadway adaptation of her book.
When Audrey met Givenchy
Audrey met the designer on the set of her film Sabrina in 1953 and they would remain dear friends for the rest of her life. He dressed her for Funny Face, Charade and Breakfast at Tiffany's and offscreen as well. Hepburn was also the face of Givenchy’s perfume, L’Interdit. Check out some amazing pictures of her in his designs in Vogue here.
She never considered herself a style icon
She once said, "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." She also considered her style to be quite accessible. “My appearance is accessible to everyone. With hair tied in a bun, big sunglasses and black dress, every woman can look like me,” she said.
There is only one Audrey
Natalie Portman, Alexis Bledel, (somehow Jennifer Love Hewitt who actually played her in a TV biopic) and Rooney Mara have been compared to Audrey Hepburn, but we know we will never see the likes of that package of beauty, talent, style, grace, composure and generosity again.
Images: Paramount Pictures (2), Metro Goldwyn-Mayer; Giphy (14)