On May 4th, what would be Audrey Hepburn’s eighty-fifth birthday, her poise and elegance remains more vivid than ever. Not only evident in her film roles–from Roman Holiday to Charade–but also in her entire approach to life, Hepburn’s charm and class is an important example for the current era, so lacking in anything other than utter gaucheness.
Hepburn got her start with several small film roles, as well as starring in the Broadway version of Gigi in 1951. This led to her Academy Award-winning performance in 1953’s Roman Holiday. Her innocence and European panache quickly won the hearts of American audiences, and her debut film provided the launching point for Sabrina in 1954, War and Peace in 1956, Funny Face in 1957 and Love in the Afternoon (her second Billy Wilder collaboration) also in 1957.
Already a household name in the 50s, Hepburn was about to achieve legendary status with 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Based on Truman Capote’s classic novella of the same name, Hepburn delivered the perfect blend of cunning and purity. Originally imagined with Marilyn Monroe as the lead, it seems impossible to think of anyone else who could have played Golightly so fantastically.
After Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn continued to remain in the limelight with films like Charade, Paris When It Sizzles, My Fair Lady and How to Steal A Million. Gradually, though, she began to appear less in cinema, perhaps intuiting that it would be better to bow out gracefully, and also placing more emphasis on her personal life.
Her gentility persisted in later years with her charitable work for UNICEF. As the Goodwill Ambassador for the organization, Hepburn dedicated the remainder of her life to the cause of helping others before her death in 1992 from abdominal cancer. Her essence and spirit persist as an inspiration to anyone who wishes to be a better person, and, most significantly, have more confidence in themselves.