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Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Ixelles, Belgium in 1929. Her father was a wealthy English banker, and her mother was a Dutch baroness. She had dual citizenship, and she spent much time in England growing up. In 1935, her parents divorced (her father was a Nazi sympathizer) and she went to a school in England for three years. In 1938 her mother moved to the Netherlands, and she went to school there and studied ballet. In 1940, the Netherlands were occupied by the Nazis, and Hepburn spent the rest of the war living in a Nazi occupied country. After the war, she lived in Amsterdam and continued studying and performing ballet. But she could not earn much money, and in 1948 she started acting as well, and also modeling. She appeared in several minor roles over the next few years.In 1951 she played the lead in in the Broadway play Gigi, and the following year she had her best film role to date in Secret People.The next year she starred in Roman Holiday (winner of the Best Actress Academy Award for this film) opposite Gregory Peck, and that made her an international star. After she filmed Roman Holiday she returned to New York and starred in Gigi for another eight months! The following year she starred in Sabrina (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film), opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. After filming, she returned to the stage and starred in Ondine, and won a Tony Award, at the same time she was receiving her Oscar for Roman Holiday! She followed with a long string of hits, including Nun's Story (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film), Breakfast At Tiffany's (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film) and My Fair Lady (she did not know until after signing to star that she would not sing in the movie). She did not star in the movie version of Gigi because she wanted to star in Funny Face instead, because she had been a professional dancer and she got to dance with Fred Astaire. In 1967 she starred in the fine thriller Wait Until Dark (nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for this film), and she decided to retire at the peak of her career and devote her time to her children, something few actors have ever done. She came out of retirement for the wonderful Robin and Marian in 1976 (opposite Sean Connery) and then made four more movies over the next 13 years, and passed away in 1993 from an unusual form of abdominal cancer at the age of 63. Just as Marilyn Monroe was THE female icon of the 1950s, Audrey Hepburn was THE female icon of the 1960s. Will there ever be another actress who has this much impact on the world? I doubt it!
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