Audrey Hepburn - Mondays in June
ROBERT OSBORNE ON AUDREY HEPBURN
(Originally published in the July 2005 Now Playing Guide)
When our Star of the Month for June--Audrey Hepburn--died in 1993 (amazing to think it's been 12 years!), a breath of fresh air went out of this world that isn't likely to ever been satisfactorily replaced. Girls like Audrey, unfortunately, do not grow on trees. There has never been anyone quite like her--elegant beauty mixed with sweetness, class, friendliness, style, compassion, kindness, talent, professionalism and a melt-your-heart smile, all combined in a package that was a couturier's dream. Never, however, did she live for fashion or a mirror-the look, that Givenchy image which she radiated so memorably, is something that, in her estimation, just came with the job. Away from the hoopla, she was amazingly down-to-earth and easy to be around. I had the pleasure of getting to know Audrey because a great friend of mine, Rob Wolders, was the man with whom she shared the latter part of her life. Thanks to Rob, I had many a memorable time with them, often at a favorite dining spot of theirs in New York, the Hotel Pierre. (One of the things that always fascinated me about Audrey was her appetite. The woman who never seemed to gain a pound, the lady who defined the credo "You can never be too thin," always ate with a healthy, hardy gusto and genuine enthusiasm for food.)
We also shared memorable meals at the home of Connie Wald in Los Angeles and elsewhere. I even traveled to Jamaica in 1990 at Audrey's request to do a Q&A session with her at an event where she was the special guest of honor, something we did in the hopes that many in the audience would be galvanized into contributing money to UNICEF, a cause to which Audrey was then completely dedicated. Whether exhausted or energized, she was never less than adorable to be around, even when illness began taking its toll. One didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know she was the genuine article, a one of kind. However, I don't think I truly realized how talented she was as an actress until I attended a salute she was given at New York's Lincoln Center in 1991. During the course of the evening, former teammates and peers of hers such as Gregory Peck, Billy Wilder, Stanly Donen, Tony Perkins, Ralph Lauren, Harry Belafonte and Alan Arkin paid tribute to Audrey in her presence, while myriad clips were also shown-moments from films such as those we'll be showing this month on TCM, including Roman Holiday, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. That night I was bowled over watching her range as an actress--the subtle, artful differences of, say, her free-spirited Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's as compared to the madcap Reggie Lambert in Charade. Or the spin she gave the transformation of the chauffeur's daughter in Sabrina compared to that of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
That night left no doubts that besides being loved by the camera, she was both an intuitive actress as well as an artful one. Ironically, I don't think she ever believed she was, "Oh I'm just very, very lucky," she'd say. She once told me, quite seriously, "You know, I've always been afraid people will suddenly discover I'm really not all that good, certainly not compared to all those marvelous people I've worked alongside," meaning Peck, Bogart, Holden, Fonda, Astaire, Cooper, Grant, Harrison, O'Toole, Finney and directors such as Wyler, Wilder, Cukor, Vidor, Donen and others. If Audrey had a question about her abilities as an actress or her screen presence, no one else ever has. On Mondays this month on TCM you can see for yourself-with 18 dazzling examples of the incandescent Hepburn magic.
by Robert Osborne