Audrey Hepburn

by Andrea from San Diego

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Audrey Hepburn was one of the worlds' most beloved starlets from 1948 to 1989, who later became a humanitarian in the 1980's through 1990's winning awards for both her acting and for her UNICEF operations that would later define her as a "hero". Although Hepburn was not considered a hero until she reached the milestone of receiving the, "Presidential Medal of Freedom", she already held the characteristics of being a role model. Young Hepburn was born in Brussels, Belgium, but was brought up in the Netherlands, during the same time period that the famous genocidal leader, Adolf Hitler, started his reign over Europe and multiplied his anti-Jewish army by thousands. During this same time, Hepburn's father abandoned her family and caused Hepburn's mother to send her to a boarding school thinking she was better off there than at home. Audrey felt lonely and lost, and she kept to herself unlike most of the girls at school. At boarding school she found her passion as a ballerina, but was later crushed by a French teacher saying that Hepburn was, ".too much height, too little training." and could not come on tour with her. It was a hard blow; one as hard as the departure of her father, but Hepburn would receive a couple more blows before her inspiration of being a ballerina was crushed. Through the many problems Audrey Hepburn would face as a young girl growing up during World War II, and as a mature woman living in the glare of flashing lights, she would acquire different qualities such as morality, perseverance, and family orientation. () ()

There are many words that define perseverance. Words like persistence, tenacity, and determination. Audrey Hepburn embodies both the determination and persistency that stretched out to the people surrounding her. "Hepburn suffered from jaundice and edema and became anemic and asthmatic, one day after her sixteenth birthday the German surrendered, and food and emergency supplies sent by United Nations reached the resorts and other refuges" (Evensen). Audrey Hepburn knew the power the mind held over the body and persevered during the time the Nazis took charge of Germany. She thought about others instead of herself and was determined to bring a better reality for Jewish people. As frail as Hepburn felt, she kept going until she could not proceed any further. After surviving World War II, Hepburn's heart yearned, to become a ballerina and was persistent in fulfilling that dream. Her inspiration was shattered, when her ballet teacher said she was not going to work as a ballerina. Even after being told that, Audrey Hepburn did not give up her love for dancing. "Audrey was. too much height too little training. Though, crestfallen, Audrey, in retrospect understood the decision that for all intents ended her dreams of a career in ballet" (Glitin 16). Hepburn came to the conclusion that if her dream for dancing was not an option, she would be determined in choosing another inspiration to fulfill her broken heart. Inspired from both her mother and the plays she watched, Hepburn began her journey in acting and used the same persistence that was used in ballet for acting. She would face hard obstacles but Hepburn would persevere right past them.

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Morals are observed from diverse point of views, and forethought in many different ways by many different people. Audrey Hepburn, like many, had her own set of rules on what she thought was morally-right. She based circumstances on what she justified, believed, and behaved toward the outcome she perceived ethical. "Some of the money she earned teaching dancing and piano to young girls at the conservatory was given to the underground, for which she worked constantly, despite the grave danger. She knew that 70 Dutch children had been sent to prison.but her hatred for the Nazis. motivated her to take the risk" (Gitlin, 14) Hepburn was conscious that blaming a race for misfortunes that they had no part of causing was terribly wrong. At the same time, Audrey Hepburn's mother took a step forward and decided to aid Jews by starting a group along with the Dutch. Hepburn had the knowledge that what her mother was commencing was the correct thing to do. She then used the little money she had and took a stand with her mother and assisted the Dutch resistance in order for them to fight off the Nazis. This allowed Audrey Hepburn's morals to lead her to act as a hero to the innocent Jews. Another moral seen through the later famous acts Audrey Hepburn were watched in the way she carried her life in her acting career. Hepburn then again had to face simpler, but hard options that tested her principles in her life of fame as well. "Hepburn never had to take her clothes off, and never uttered a swear word on or off the screen" (Folori). She was asked to play in many scenes that contained adult material but Hepburn refused to do anything graphic or wrong according to her morals. Some directors kept offering parts in movies and plays during the ending of her career, but Audrey Hepburn did not budge and never changed her mind. She stayed grounded and selected her choices based on her beliefs throughout the majority of her life. As seen in the outcome of Hepburn's morals, they change definition from person to person. The way a situation is seen and how it should be handled defines the morals and honesty being held towards oneself. Audrey's morals were remembered and favored even after her death for she was so set on doing what was right.


Audrey Hepburn was known for her family orientation during the time she had her two sons and would not have minded talking to her friends all day. "She just loved that-to listen, as if her own life wasn't such a big deal. Cooking and sharing recipes with friends were part of the victory of being able to lead a private life" (Floroi). As noted by her son, Luca, she prospered in family events with her close ones around her. She had faith that family does not have to be people with the same blood, but more in how much closeness and trust that relationship holds. Hepburn was undoubtedly thankful for the fame giving by her many fans, but as the majority of the people, everyone needs time not to be the center of attention. In the later years of her life, her two sons, Luca and Sean, would cause Hepburn to dedicate her life to living it with her family. Being as famous as she was, Audrey decided to keep her limelight away from her boys until they were much older. "Like Sean, Luca never regarded her as a movie star:' Until the last day and for all her home life with us she was never 'Audrey' Hepburn: just 'Mama'" (Folori). She felt the need to let them have a normal life without cameras flashing in their face. Audrey did a great job helping her children in order for them to thrive in a glamorous-free life. Her boys never knew her as the famous self she was appraised around the world to be, but as 'mama'.

Morality, perseverance, and family orientation tied around Audrey Hepburn, leading her to the great things she accomplished in both her famous and private life. Even though, "Her teeth were not straight, her feet were too big, and her chest slightly flat. she lit up the screen with her elegance, beauty, and pixyish charm." she inspired people to hold their own morals and to love themselves no matter what. Hepburn gave the hope and the help needed to other people instead of herself. She used her own perseverance when her, "..home was reduced to rubble on September 17, 1994." and her father deserted her family without a look back. Hepburn also developed ways to become strong mentally, physically and emotionally in the many of the encounters she faced that were hard to take. Audrey Hepburn held the inspiration to be strong and to always stand your own ground. Even when her mother was never maternal and loving, Hepburn did not let that stop her from being family oriented and caring to her two sons. Audrey Hepburn is my hero because she taught me three important things. First, never change your own morals for some else. Second, the perseverance within you is hard to find, but still there. Third, love has no limit.

Works Cited


Audrey Hepburn." Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 1993. Student Resources in Context.

Web.18 Mar. 2014.

Evensen, Bruce J. "Audrey Hepburn." Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic

Series: Sports Figures. Ed. Arnold Markoe and Kenneth T. Jackson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. Biography in Cntent. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

Folori Pamela. "Biography in Context. Web. 20 Mar. 2014

Gitlin, Marty. Audrey Hepburn: A Biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2009. Print

Holmes, Anna. "Audrey remembered." Entertainment Weekly 5 Apr. 1996: 24.Biography in

Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

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Last edited 4/18/2014 12:00:00 AM

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