Internationally famous for her starring roles in such classic movies as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Love in the Afternoon, Hepburn was renowned for her graceful beauty. She was one of only four entertainers to win an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony award. (The other three were John Gielgud, Helen Hayes, and Rita Moreno.) She spent much of her time and energy promoting charitable causes, and in 1988 Hepburn became the official spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.
Born as Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston in Brussels, Belgium, she later simplified her name to Audrey Hepburn. Her father was an English banker; her mother was a Dutch Baroness. She grew up in England but moved to the Netherlands after her parents separated. She and her mother were vacationing in Holland when the Nazis invaded in 1940; they remained in the town of Arhem until 1948. She then returned to London to study ballet on a scholarship, and in 1949 made her London stage debut. Hepburn’s performance in the 1951 Broadway production of Gigi was critically acclaimed, but it was her film role in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday that established her as an international star. Her co-stars included such leading men as Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, and Sean Connery.
During her adult life, Hepburn divided her time between Europe and America. She was married three times, to actor Mel Ferrer, psychiatrist Andrea Dotti and actor Robert Wolders. Hepburn had two sons, Sean and Luca. She died of colon cancer at age 63.