Little-Known Audrey Hepburn Facts Paint A Complex, Tortured Image Of The Icon


British actress Audrey Hepburn is what many would consider the epitome of grace and class in Hollywood.

Her lead role in the 1953 film Roman Holiday gave the actress her first Oscar win, which was followed up with numerous awards and nominations, including 10 nominations at the Golden Globes. Aside from her memorable roles, she became a fashion icon for millions of girls around the world.

A month before her death in January 1993, Hepburn was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. We dug up 10 facts about the prolific actress that you might not know.

The first fact reveals Hepburn almost took a different career path.

10. Dental Assistant

Before becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of all time, Audrey went to school to become a dental assistant. During this time, she took up modeling and continued training as a ballerina. When she was told her height would make it hard to become a top ballerina, she decided to focus on acting.

9. Miscarriages

Audrey tried hard to build a family, but she dealt with continuous heartbreak. Before the birth of her first son Sean Hepburn Ferrer, she had two miscarriages, including one that stemmed from falling from a horse while filming the 1960 film The Unforgiven. After his birth, she would have two more miscarriages before the birth of her second son Luca Dotti in 1970. In 1974, she had her fifth miscarriage.

8. Semi-Retirement

After the 1967 film Wait Until Dark, the star decided to leave acting for a moment in order to spend more time with family. She had to turn down several leading roles in Oscar-winning films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestThe Exorcist, and The Turning Point. After eight years away, Audrey made her big screen comeback in the 1976 romantic film Robin and Marian.

7. Once Asked To Play A Japanese Bride

For the 1957 Oscar winning film Sayonara, Audrey was asked by director Joshua Logan to play the role of Marlon Brando’s love interest Hana-ogi. The actress knew that nobody would believe she was Japanese, so she turned down the role, which would eventually go to unknown actress Miiko Taka.

6. Lifelong Friends

While shooting the 1954 romantic comedy Sabrina, the star met French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. The two hit it off quite well and became lifelong friends. The designer has worked with her on several films, including Love in the AfternoonHow to Steal a Million, and Love Among Thieves.

5. Truman Capote Isn’t A Fan

When author Truman Capote sold the rights to his novel Breakfast At Tiffany’s, he wanted Holly Golightly to be portrayed by Marilyn Monroe. Due to her team stating it would be a stain on her image, Marilyn walked away from the part, which went to Audrey. When he heard about the casting, Truman replied, “Paramount double-crossed me in every way and cast Audrey.”

4. No Gigi On The Big Screen For Her

In 1951, Audrey played the title role of the Broadway play Gigi, which is based on the 1944 book from Colette, who chose the actress to play her character. When it came to the 1958 film adaptation of the novel, Audrey politely declined the role, which went to Golden Globe award winning actress Leslie Caron.

3. Fear Of Water

Audrey had aquaphobia, which is the fear of water. People with this condition are often scared about being thrown into a body of water. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to the actress while filming the 1967 film Two for the Road, which earned her a ninth Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.

2. Weight Problems

While many people loved Audrey’s physique, it came with a price. During World War II, the actress was malnourished due to the Germans blocking several resupply routes. Because of the lack of food, Audrey was forced to eat nettles and tulips as a way to survive. When the war ended, she weighed 88 pounds.

The last fact explains how she got her actual name.

1. Name Change

During World War II, Audrey’s mother Baroness Ella Van Heemstra changed her daughter’s legal name to Edda for a while. She was scared that the name Audrey would give away her British roots and cause trouble for the family. Originally born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, the star’s father decided to add Hepburn to her legal name as well since it was a part of his ancestors’ history.