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Audrey Kathleen Ruston Graces Humanity
WeatherViolet from United States
6 March 2010
Richard Kiley narrates this account of the life and career of Belgian
native Audrey Kathleen Ruston, who sees tragedy at a very young age,
from the divorce of her parents to the Axis destruction of her
Netherlands community during World War II.
Audrey harbors dreams of studying ballet from a young age, when her
father adds his grandmother's maiden name to form Audrey Kathleen
Hepburn-Ruston, before sending her to school in Britain at age five,
and before leaving the family by the time which Audrey reaches the age
Audrey's mother and two half-brothers by her first marriage, Alex and
Ian, relocate to Arnhem, the Netherlands, before occupying German
forces invade the community in a wave of destruction, leaving the
remaining family and neighbors in dire poverty, leading her in great
concern of humanitarian efforts during her devastating childhood.
As her half-brothers are controlled by the Germans to serve against the
Allies during the remainder of the War, Audrey continues to study
ballet, and performs before Dutch audiences in secret, as they forbid
applause for fear of discovery by their captors. She considers these
some of her most appreciated performances, as the quiet empathy speaks
After the war, Audrey drops her surname to become Audrey Hepburn, as
she returns with her mother to UK to audition for the ballet. But by
now, she is rejected as a contender for Prima Ballerina because of her
age and scant physical condition.
And so, she continues to dance, when she is discovered for parts in
minor film roles, as well as for a part in the Play "Gigi," which has
her sailing for the States to star on Broadway, for which she studies
acting and is well-received in the role.
This would lead to Audrey's acclaimed film career, throughout the
remainder of the 1950's and 1960's, as she would accept challenges to
attempt roles against type, to the delight of audiences and critics
Audrey would value her family's privacy and spend many years at her
estate in Switzerland, and would emerge to dedicate several years of
her life with the humanitarian relief organization UNICEF, touring
Africa, South America and Asia, and assisting with her first-hand
tender loving care, bringing international attention to the plights of
the needy in impoverished war-torn nations.
Audrey marries thrice, to Actor Mel Ferrer (19541968), with whom she
has son Sean; Doctor Andrea Dotti (19691982); and Actor Robert Wolders
(?1993), with whom she has son Luca, after unfortunately suffering
several miscarriages throughout her marriages.
Connie Wald describes Audrey as "a joy, a role model with not many like
her whom one would like to emulate," Harry Belafonte as, "the
embodiment of the best in the human heart, mind and soul," and Richard
Dreyfuss as, "the best we could possibly be, perfectly lovely and
charming, a dream of dreams."
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Audrey's Friend Connie
Wald, Audrey's Son Sean H. Ferrer, Actors Harry Belafonte, Richard
Dreyfuss, Roddy McDowall, and Robert Wolders, Director Blake Edwards,
and Biographer Barry Paris.
Archive footage includes Audrey Hepburn with Co-stars Eddie Albert,
Sean Connery, Edith Evans, Albert Finney, William Holden, Shirley
McClain and Gregory Peck in speaking parts, as well as Rex Harrison,
George Peppard and others in non-speaking parts.
Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Audrey through the years, in
scenes from "Monte Carlo Baby" (1951), "Roman Holiday" (1953),
"Sabrina" (1954), "War and Peace" (1956), "Funny Face" (1957), "The
Nun's Story" (1959), "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), "The Children's
Hour" (1961), "My Fair Lady" (1964), "Two for the Road" (1967), "Wait
Until Dark" (1967), "Robin and Marian" (1976) and "Always" (1989), plus
a 1951 Screen-test and a Broadway promotional announcement.
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