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Audrey Hepburn

Discussion in 'Celebrities and Entertainment From WWII' started by Dave War44, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Audrey Hepburn (4th May, 1929 – 20th Jan, 1993) was an Acaademy Award-winning Belgian-born British actress of film and theatre, Broadway stage performer, former ballerina, fashion model, and humanitarian.
    Raised under German rule in Arnhem, Netherlands during World War II, Hepburn trained extensively to become a ballerina, before deciding to pursue acting.

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    Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston in Belgium in 1929. Audrey's father, who had fascist sympathies, left the family under mysterious circumstances when she was 6 years old. Soon after this, in 1939, her mother, Ella, moved her and her two half-brothers to their grandfather's home in Arnhem, Netherlands. Ella believed the Netherlands would be safe from German attack. Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945 where she trained in ballet, in addition to learning a standard school curriculum.

    In 1940, the Germans invaded Arnhem. During the war Hepburn adopted the pseudonym ''Edda van Heemstra'', modifying her mother's documents to do so, because an "English-sounding" name was considered dangerous. This was never her legal name. The name Edda was a modified version of Hepburn's mother's name, Ella.
    By 1944, Hepburn had become a proficient ballerina. She secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the underground movement. She later said, "the best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performance."

    After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, things grew worse under the German occupiers. During the Dutch famine over the winter of 1944, the Germans confiscated the Dutch people's limited food and fuel supply for themselves. Without heat in their homes or food to eat, people in the Netherlands starved and froze to death in the streets. Hepburn and many other Dutch people had to resort to using flour made from tulip bulbs to bake cakes and cookies. Arnhem was devastated during allied bombing raids that were part of Operation Market Garden. Hepburn's uncle and a cousin of her mother's were shot in front of Hepburn for being part of the Resistance. Hepburn's half-brother Ian van Ufford spent time in a German labor camp. Suffering from malnutrition, Hepburn developed acute anemia, respiratory problems, and edema - a swelling of the limbs.

    Hepburn noted the similarities between her and Anne Frank. "I was exactly the same age as Anne Frank. We were both 10 when war broke out and 15 when the war finished. I was given the book in Dutch, in galley form, in 1946 by a friend. I read it . . . and it destroyed me. It does this to many people when they first read it but I was not reading it as a book, as printed pages. This was my life. I didn't know what I was going to read. I've never been the same again, it affected me so deeply."

    "We saw reprisals. We saw young men put against the wall and shot and they'd close the street and then open it and you could pass by again. If you read the diary, I've marked one place where she says, 'Five hostages shot today'. That was the day my uncle was shot. And in this child's words I was reading about what was inside me and is still there. It was a catharsis for me. This child who was locked up in four walls had written a full report of everything I'd experienced and felt."

    These times were not all bad and she was able to enjoy some of her childhood. Again drawing parallels to Anne Frank's life, Hepburn said, "This spirit of survival is so strong in Anne Frank's words. One minute she says, 'I'm so depressed.' The next she is longing to ride a bicycle. She is certainly a symbol of the child in very difficult circumstances, which is what I devote all my time to. She transcends her death."

    One way in which Audrey Hepburn passed the time was by drawing, and some of her childhood artwork can be seen today.
    When the tanks came in and the country was liberated, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration trucks followed. Hepburn said in an interview that she ate an entire can of condensed milk and then got sick from one of her first relief meals because she put too much sugar in her oatmeal. This experience is what led her to become involved in UNICEF late in life.


    SOURCE: Wikipedia.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Interesting that the Anna Frank situation would disturb someone who led such a powerful life in her own way. Nice story Dave.. :wink:
     
  3. Jeannie

    Jeannie New Member

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    I appreciate the information and it is great to hear how things can change a persons life. I think that when you look at people such as Audry, you can only appreciate where they came from and how they managed the challenges. We are all given challenges each and every day of our lives, but what we do with challenges is how we grow as a person.

    I enjoy learning and therefore reading about the celebrities and others who struggled within this time you get a better picture of how things have changed and how those changes effect even the smallest of people.
     
  4. RustySword

    RustySword New Member

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    Great info, good post.
     
  5. deb4953

    deb4953 New Member

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    Before reading about Audrey here, I would never have thought that her life was so challenged. I think we view celebrities as having easy lives and that's just not always true.
     
  6. Echos

    Echos New Member

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    She was such a brave and beautiful woman, whose heart was as generous and kind as anyone you will find. She left us all too early. I truley miss her.
     
  7. katharina

    katharina New Member

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    What an amazing story (and lady!) I don't know if I can post links here,
    so I won't... but I just googled to find some of her drawings and it was fun
    looking through them. I especially like the Christmas drawing that was one
    of her favorites.
     
  8. Dave War44

    Dave War44 Member

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    Hi Katharina, please feel free to post the links or upload the photos, NP !
    :thumb:
     
  9. eireann

    eireann New Member

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    Wow, I knew about her humanitarian works, her life as an actress and as a model... I also knew that she had been through the war in Europe, but I never realized to what extent! I never imagined she was in a quite similar situation as Anne Frank. Thank you for the info - it's much appreciated.
     

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