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Audrey Hepburn was the original “America’s Sweetheart,” long before Julia Roberts was awarded that title. Hepburn charmed audiences in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady for years during the golden age of Hollywood. Here are 9 things about the actress you may not have known…
1. Hepburn confessed to eating tulip bulbs and tried to bake grass into bread during the hard days of World War II.
2. Henry Mancini said of her, “‘Moon River’ was written for her. No one else had ever understood it so completely. There have been more than a thousand versions of ‘Moon River’, but hers is unquestionably the greatest.”
3. She turned down a role in the 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank because, as a young girl in the Netherlands during the war, she had witnessed Nazi soldiers publicly executing people in the streets and herding Jews onto railroad cars to be sent to the death camps. She said that participating in the film would bring back too many painful memories for her.
4. Her father was of approximately one quarter English and three quarters Austrian descent. Her mother was Dutch, with remote French and English roots. Some reports incorrectly identified Audrey as having Irish ancestry on her paternal side, something she even believed, but her father’s only ties to Ireland were having resided there in the latter part of his life.
5. According to her biography, Audrey Hepburn: An Intimate Portrait, she made a vow to herself never to exceed 103 pounds. With the exception of her pregnancies, she succeeded.
6. Hepburn was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer on November 1, 1992. The cancer spread into the lining of her small intestine. She had one foot of intestine removed in surgery and went through chemotherapy, but in a second surgery it was decided that the cancer had spread too far and could not be treated. She passed away in 1993.
7. Her famous “little black dress” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, designed by Hubert de Givenchy, was sold at a Christie’s auction for approximately $920,000 in 2006.
8. She was presented with her 1953 Best Actress Oscar for Roman Holiday by actor and humanitarian Jean Hersholt. Forty years later she would posthumously receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her work with UNICEF.
9. Despite what many just automatically believe, Audrey and Katherine Hepburn are not related at all.