Audrey Blake Biography & Facts
Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; 4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognised as both a film and fashion icon, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
Born in Ixelles, Brussels, Hepburn spent parts of her childhood in Belgium, England, and the Netherlands. She studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell in Amsterdam beginning in 1945 and with Marie Rambert in London starting in 1948. She began performing as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions and then had minor appearances in several films. Hepburn starred in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi after being spotted by the French novelist Colette, on whose work the play was based.She rose to stardom in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday (1953) alongside Gregory Peck, for which she was the first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award for a single performance. That same year, Hepburn won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Ondine. She went on to star in a number of successful films such as Sabrina (1954), in which Humphrey Bogart and William Holden compete for her affection; Funny Face (1957) a musical in which she sang her own song parts; the drama The Nun's Story (1959); the romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); the thriller-romance Charade (1963), opposite Cary Grant; and the musical My Fair Lady (1964). In 1967, she starred in the thriller Wait Until Dark, receiving Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations. After that, she only occasionally appeared in films, one being Robin and Marian (1976) with Sean Connery. Her last recorded performances were in the 1990 documentary television series Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn.
Hepburn won three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. In recognition of her film career, she received BAFTA's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Special Tony Award. She remains one of only 16 people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards.
Later in life, Hepburn devoted much of her time to UNICEF, to which she had contributed since 1954. Then, she worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America, and Asia between 1988 and 1992. In December 1992, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. A month later, she died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
1929–1938: Family and early childhood
Audrey Kathleen Ruston (later, Hepburn-Ruston) was born on 4 May 1929 at number 48 Rue Keyenveld in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. She was known to her family as Adriaantje.
Hepburn's mother, Baroness Ella van Heemstra (12 June 1900 – 26 August 1984), was a Dutch noblewoman. She was the daughter of Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra, who served as Mayor of Arnhem from 1910 to 1920 and as Governor of Dutch Suriname from 1921 to 1928, and Baroness Elbrig Willemine Henriette van Asbeck (1873–1939). At the age of nineteen, Ella had married Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, an oil executive based in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, where they subsequently lived. They had two sons, Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford (1920–1979) and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford (1924–2010), before divorcing in 1925.Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston (21 November 1889 – 16 October 1980), was a British subject born in Auschitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He was the son of Victor John George Ruston, of British and Austrian background and Anna Wels, who was of Austrian origin and born in Kovarce. In 1923–1924, Joseph had been an Honorary British Consul in Semarang in the Dutch East Indies, and prior to his marriage to Hepburn's mother, he had been married to Cornelia Bisschop, a Dutch heiress. Although born with the surname Ruston, he later double-barrelled his name to the more "aristocratic" Hepburn-Ruston, perhaps at Ella's insistence, as he mistakenly believed himself descended from James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.Hepburn's parents were married in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, in September 1926. At the time, Ruston worked for a trading company, but soon after the marriage, the couple moved to Europe, where he began working for a loan company; reportedly tin merchants MacLaine, Watson and Company in London and then Brussels. After a year in London, they moved to Brussels, where he had been assigned to open a branch office. After three years spent travelling between Brussels, Arnhem, The Hague and London, the family settled in the suburban Brussels municipality of Linkebeek in 1932. Hepburn's early childhood was sheltered and privileged. As a result of her multinational background and travelling with her family due to her father's job, she learned six languages: Dutch and English from her parents, and later varying degrees of French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
In the mid-1930s, Hepburn's parents recruited and collected donations for the British Union of Fascists. Joseph left the family abruptly in 1935 after a "scene" in Brussels when Adriaantje (as she was known in the family) was six; later she often spoke of the effect on a child of being "dumped" as "children need two parents". Joseph moved to London, where he became more deeply involved in Fascist activity and never visited his daughter abroad. Hepburn later professed that her father's departure was "the most traumatic event of my life".That same year, her mother moved with Hepburn to her family's estate in Arnhem; her half-brothers Alex and Ian (then 15 and 11) were sent to The Hague to live with relatives. Joseph wanted her to be educated in England, so in 1937, Hepburn was sent to live in Kent, England, where she, known as Audrey Ruston or "Little Audrey", was educated at a small independent school in Elham.Hepburn's parents officially divorced in 1938. In the 1960s, Hepburn renewed contact with her father after locating him in Dublin through the Red Cross; although he remained emotionally detached, Hepburn supported him financially until his death.
1939–1945: Experiences during World War II
After Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Hepburn's mother moved her daughter back to Arnhem in the hope that, as during the First World War, the Netherlands would remain neutral and be spared a German attack. While there, Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945. She had begun taking ballet lessons during her last years at boarding school, and continued training in Arnhem under the tutelage of Winja Marova, becoming her "star pupil". After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Hepburn used the name Edda van Heemstra, because an "English-sounding" name.... Discover the Audrey Blake popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Audrey Blake books.