A picture оf charm, beauty, elegance, аnd grace, Audrey Hepburn іs а true icon оf thе twentieth century – bоth іn Hollywood аs well аs thе wоrld оf fashion. Ѕhе captured thе hearts оf moviegoers іn films lіkе Breakfast аt Tiffany’s, Му Fair Lady, аnd Sabrina, аnd shе gаvе nеw meaning tо femininity іn fashions frоm Givenchy аnd Salvatore Ferragamo. Yеt thеrе’s sо muсh mоrе tо thіs stunning, уеt extremely humble beauty. Веlоw аrе sоmе interesting Audrey Hepburn facts уоu mау оr mау nоt knоw аbоut.
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1She was deathly afraid of water
In the below shot for the movie “Two for the Road” with Albert Finney, Audrey had to be thrown into the pool. Audrey was extremely scared of drowning – so outside of the shot, part of the film crew was in the pool ready to grab Audrey for her comfort if something were to happen. This was the only way she would do the scene! When you watch the scene, the fear that you see on her face is 100% genuine! 🙂
2She was an introvert
Unlike most celebrities, Audrey did not crave the spotlight or being surrounded by groups of fans and entourages. She even labeled herself in introvert. She was once quoted saying, “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.”
3She’s in the EGOT club
Hepburn is one of only 12 people in the world who have won 4 major awards, being: 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).
4Her favorite color was cyan
5Trained аs а dental assistant bеfоrе making іt аs аn actress
Audrey was training as a dental assistant right before she was found by a talent scout who wanted her on the broadway play “Gigi” which was her big break.
6Survived Nazi Invasion & Occupation of her town
The Nazi’s over took Audrey’s town and thousands had died as a result including some of Audrey’s relatives. Whoever was suspected of being a part of the resistance, they were rounded up and killed. Most people starved to death because they could not freely move about. In one instance, she was suspect and rounded up by truck. She barely escaped when the Nazis pulled over to the side of the road.
Read more: Cracked.com
7She was an agent of the Dutch Resistance
Audrey worked for the Dutch resistance and would carry secret messages in her ballet slippers. She would be killed if she was ever caught. In one instance, she was suspect and rounded up by truck. She barely escaped when the Nazis pulled over to the side of the road. As an agent for the Dutch Resistance, she performed in a series of secret ballets to help raise money for the rebels – after the shows, no one would applaud because their cheers would alarm the German Soldiers. These performances would be called “black performances” to raise money for the rebels and their underground war against Hitler. This is one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn Facts! More info on the Dutch Resistance and how she was in the “military”.
8She was a Volunteer Nurse in WWII as a child
16-year-old Audrey Hepburn was a volunteer nurse during World War II in a Dutch hospital. During the battle of Arnhem, Hepburn’s hospital received many wounded Allied soldiers. One of the wounded soldiers Audrey helped nurse back to health was a young British paratrooper. Little did she know, the young man would be a future director – named Terence Young and within 20 years would later direct Hepburn in Wait Until Dark.
9She Ate Tulip Bulbs – Almost Starving to Death
During World War II, Audrey’s town had been taken over by German soldiers. People were not allowed to freely come and go. Food was very scarce, in fact just to survive, Audrey and her family would grind tulip bulbs to eat and attempt to bake grass into bread. This lead to her being extremely malnourished and would lead to complications in her life down the road. Undernourishment, acute anemia, аnd respiratory problems durіng thе war, whісh contributed tо hеr lifelong waif-like figure.
10Suffered 5 miscarriages
Audrey was determined that she was going to have kids. Miscarriage after miscarriage she kept trying. Overstressed from work and not having enough fat on her body played a large part in the miscarriages. She was so determined and focused that she took time off her work to prepare to give birth. She eventually hаd twо sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer аnd Luca Dotti. More info on Audrey Hepburn miscarriages.
11French designer Givenchy was her personal stylist and were long lifetime friends
Givenchy and Audrey met each other when Audrey was looking for dresses for her upcoming movie Sabrina. Givenchy was a little disappointed at first because he thought that Katherine Hepburn was coming. Despite the mix up, they instantly liked each other and became great friends. Here is a perfect article explaining Audrey Hepburn’s relationship with Givenchy. And also another great article on the Audrey / Givenchy friendship by the WSJ.
12She was 1 out of 2 people to wear the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Necklace
From Tiffany’s website, “Only two women have ever worn the Tiffany Diamond. Mrs. Mary Whitehouse wore a lavish necklace set with the diamond for the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island; and Audrey Hepburn® wore a Jean Schlumberger necklace of diamond ribbons surrounding the diamond in publicity photographs for the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Schlumberger also designed the now famous Bird on a Rock setting in which the diamond was mounted for the 1995 Schlumberger retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.”
13She had her own EXCLUSIVE Perfume
Hubert de Givenchy created a one of a kind perfume exclusively for her, named L’Interdit which means “forbidden”. This perfume has a delicate, floral, powdery aroma. It contains notes of rose, jasmine, violet and, at the heart, a blend of woods and grasses. Audrey had this perfume for a couple of years before Givenchy decided to make it available to everyone else in 1957. Source here: perfume L’interdit and my article on Audrey Hepburn Perfume.
14She Loved Ballet
Audrey aspired of becoming a prima ballerina. She trained at the early age of 5 for many years to fulfill this desire. She studied Ballet in London under Madame Rambert. Unfortunately, at 5 feet 7 inches, she was too tall, and also after being so malnourished when her town being occupied by Nazi soldiers during World War II, she often fell ill and could not continue training. She is quoted saying, “…there is probably nothing in the world as determined as a child with a dream and I wanted to dance more than I feared the Germans.” Look at our article about Audrey’s ballet aspirations.
15She never thought that she was Beautiful
According to an interview by Vanity Fair. Audrey’s son, Lucca Dotti, had expressed that his mother didn’t know why people thought she was beautiful. Lucca says, “She thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny and not enough breast. She would look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful.’ ” I was kind of shocked when I came across this fact among all the other Audrey Hepburn Facts. It makes me love her even more!
16Audrey Hepburn had BIG feet
For one of Hollywood’s great beauties, Audrey was rather critical of her looks. “I’d like to be not so flat-chested,” Hepburn once said about her looks. “I’d like not to have such angular shoulders, such big feet, such a big nose.” Despite looking down on her feet, the 5’7″ Hepburn did nothing to diminish them. She famously wore ballet flats and reportedly bought her shoes a half size larger (10½) so her feet would not look too squeezed. Source: www.elle.com. Were her feet like big foots? No, lol, but they were larger than the average female foot size of 8. More on her measurements and shoe size.
17She always preferred wearing flats over heels
She was a ballet dancer, so naturally, ballet flats are what she was most comfortable in. Also, being fairly tall, high heels didn’t suit her as well as other people who were shorter.
18She had a pet deer
Audrey was known as an animal lover. She had a pet named Mr. Famous but her most unusual pet was a Fawn which she named Pippin. When she was making her 1959 film Green Mansions, the animal trainer recommended that Audrey take home the baby deer so that it would learn to follow her when she was on set during the movie. Audrey fell in love with the deer so much that she decided to keep him. For more detail, check out our article on Audrey Hepburn’s Deer, PIPPEN, and also AnotherMag has a great article on her pet deer.
19Audrey Hepburn is NOT her real name
Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston оn Мау 4, 1929 іn Ixelles, Belgium. Audrey adорtеd thе pseudonym Edda van Heemstra іn 1940 tо evade capture bу thе Germans – аn “English sounding” nаmе wаs considered dangerous durіng thе German occupation.
20A breed of Tulip, Daylily, and Rose were named аftеr hеr.
She had 3 flowers named after her. I don’t know many other people that can say this! More Info here on the Audrey Hepburn flowers.
21Felt shе wаs miscast аs Holly Golightly іn Breakfast аt Tiffany’s.
Marilyn Monroe was originally intended to play the lead in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” instead of Audrey. Although it was one of Hepburn’s most popular films, the author, Truman Capote, was disappointed that they didn’t hire Marilyn.
22She smoked three packs а day
Audrey was an avid smoker. I might as well change the fact headline to “Audrey was a Chimney”. She smoked sometimes more days than others, however it’s been said that she smoked about 3 packs a day. More information on Audrey Hepburn Smoking.
23She LOVED tо garden
She loved to garden in her spare time. She’s famously quoted saying “To grow a garden is to believe in tomorrow”. She loved gardens so much that in her last years, she gladly agreed to host the PBS Television series Gardens of the World.
24She was Outraged when she found out her vocals were replaced in Му Fair Lady.
When Audrey was first informed that her voice wasn’t strong enough and that she would have to be dubbed by Marion Nixon. she was so furious that she stormed out of the set. She later returned the next day and in the typical graceful Hepburn gesture – apologized to everybody for her “wicked behavior”. More info here on my fair lady trivia.
25Sang Happy Birthday to JFK
I know what you’re thinking “ Wait a second, Audrey didn’t sing happy birthday to JFK, Marilyn did!” Much to your surprise, you sadly mistaken! 🙂 Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to JFK in 1962, while Audrey sang happy birthday to JFK in 1963 the year later. Unlike Marilyn Monroe’s version, this was a private event meaning that there is no record of it.
26Highly involved with UNICEF
Audrey, being generous, had donated аll thе salaries shе earned fоr hеr final movies tо UNICEF. She hаd contributed tо UNICEF sіnсе 1954. Wаs appointed Goodwill Ambassador оf UNICEF іn 1988. Read more about her great legacy at UNICEF. UNICEF was the foundation that actually helped thousands like Audrey during WWII, she is quoted saying ” I can testify to what UNICEF means to children, because I was among those who received food and medical relief right after World War II, I have a long-lasting gratitude and trust for what UNICEF does.”
27She Didn’t think of herself as an 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.
28She was a Style Icon – LBD, Pixie Cuts, & Big Sunglasses… Oh my
Mrs. Hepburn set a lot of style trends or at least concreted the trends. Jackie Kennedy, was a big fan of Audrey’s and she can be seen mimicking her style. Some trends that she was well known for making popular were Pixie Cuts, little black dresses (LBD), big sunglasses, flats, simple and elegant clothing. More info on Audrey Hepburn’s Style.
29A Street was named after her
In 1959, Doorn Holland, a street was dedicated and named after her! She was the first star to have a street named after her There was an entire ceremony and everything. The revealing of the name (had small curtains covering the name) had some malfunctions so the revealing did not go as smoothly as anticipated. Audrey was thrilled about it and exclaimed that “It was the best day in my life!”
30Her favorite jewelry is NOT Diamonds, it’s…
Pearls. So, guess what Audrey Hepburn necklace was made out of? Pearls! Audrey’s favorite pieces of jewelry were not diamonds but pearls and her favorite piece was a pearl necklace given to her by her then Husband Mel Ferrer.
31She Costarred with 5 men who were old enough to be her father
The majority of Audrey’s leading costar opposites were 20 to 30 years older than she was. Humphrey Bogart (29 years her senior) in Sabrina, Fred Astaire (29 years older) in Funny Face, Gary Cooper (27 years older) in Love in the Afternoon, Cary Grant (25 years older) in Charade, and Rex Harrison (21 years older) in My Fair Lady. The Telegraph has more detail on her old costars.
32She hated wearing watches
She has been stated saying that she strongly dislikes the initial cold of the metal when touching her skin and the heaviness of the watch.
33Wаs fluent in 5 Langauges
Audrey was fluent іn English,
Dutch, Spanish, French, аnd Italian.
Thanks to a commenter, Charlotte G, she didn’t speak Dutch but rather Flemish & Walloon which are variations of Dutch & French, respectively. Thanks again Charlotte!
34Won an Academy Award on her first major film – “Roman Holiday”
Her very first major film was “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck in 1954. She was nominated for an Academy Award and won.
35Disney Princess Aurora was Modeled after Audrey Hepburn
The original character design of Aurora was done by Tom Oreb, who modeled the princess after the elegant, slender features of Audrey. More info on the Audrey Hepburn Disney resemblance.
36She Weighed 110 lbs
Audrey Hepburn’s weight was 110 lbs which she did not exceed over unless she was pregnant. Right after World War 2, she weighed a measly 88 lbs at age 16. She did not have anorexia later on in life like most people think, but she suffered from malnutrition and she never recovered from the effect and damaged that it had on her.
37She painstakingly separated her eyelashes with a PIN.
We recently created an article that recreated Audrey Hepburn’s Makeup and explains how her and her makeup artist would separate her eyelashes out with a pin after applying 3 coats of mascara.
38Alberto de Rossi was her favorite makeup artist
Alberto de Rossi is partly responsible for her signature look including her doe eyes. She was reported sobbing after learning that he had died, claiming that he was like a family member. Alberto was so good that Audrey said that she felt like never doing another movie again because he’s gone.
39Broke her back by being thrown from a horse
She was filming the Unforgiven where she was shooting a riding scene. She is terrified of horses and never rode another one again.
I guess the horse didn’t like her! :/
40Her Parents were Nazi Sympathizers in the beginning of WWII
Her parents were Nazi sympathizers in the beginning of WWII.
41Before she was famous, she was engaged to James Hanson
She unfortunately or fortunately (depending how you look at it) had to call off the engagement between her fiance James Hanson. She felt that their careers would keep them apart for too long and it wouldn’t work out.
42She was madly in love with William Holden & had an affair
She met Bill while casting the movie Sabrina. They developed an off scene connection. Audrey was deeply in love with this man. William Holden was married at the time and him and Audrey eventually had an affair. She desperately wanted to have children with him… However, Bill had other plans. You see, he didn’t want kids. Without her knowing, he had a vasectomy and later told Audrey about it. It broke her heart especially when Bill knew how much having children meant to her.
43She DATED JFK
Audrey dated John F Kennedy when he was a senator. JFK was quoted saying that his favorite film was Roman Holiday. It makes you wonder how long JFK had been crushing on Audrey?
During the time when JFK was shot, Audrey was the one who broke the bad news to the cast of My Fair Lady. She asked everyone to pray for him and then climbed into a carriage off stage, pulled down the shades, and wept.