Straightforward, informative biography of the silver screen’s fairest lady by veteran celebrity chronicler Spoto (Marilyn Monroe, 2001, etc.).
Hepburn’s role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) made the elegant waif one of the century’s style icons. Born to an unaffectionate Dutch baroness and an emotionally distant British layabout (who abandoned the family in her youth), Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston was raised in Belgium and Arnhem, Holland. There, in her grandparents’ house, Hepburn spent the harrowing years of World War II, nearly dying of starvation during the German occupation. Mother and daughter became involved in the Resistance, a move that would inform Hepburn’s later humanitarian acts. Postwar, they moved to England, where Hepburn’s budding dance career quickly led to theater and film work. While she was filming a silly musical on the French Riviera, author Colette hand-picked her to star as Gigi on Broadway, a stunning performance that propelled her instantaneously to It Girl status. Her first starring cinema role, in Roman Holiday (1952), garnered her an Academy Award, and Sabrina (1954) brought her another Oscar nomination, and love with co-star William Holden. Meanwhile, a tumultuous relationship with Mel Ferrar, whom she eventually wed, raged on. Following several more award-winning turns (War and Peace, Funny Face, The Nun’s Story, etc.), Hepburn became a mother in 1960 (she had given birth to a stillborn years before). In 1967, about to divorce Ferrar, she took an indefinite hiatus from celluloid to raise her son, delighting in the daily chores of cooking and gardening. Two marriages, another son and work in developing nations for UNICEF followed. Hepburn died from colon cancer in 1993.
For fans and movie buffs. The bouts of depression and the chain-smoking are covered, but Spoto clearly reveres Hepburn, ultimately rendering her a symbol of superhuman goodness.