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Audrey Hepburn’s Benevolence

 

May 4 is Audrey’s birthday anniversary. She would have been 89 today but sadly she died way too early when she was only 63. She remains an icon in my mind as she touched my life when I was a kid during World War II.

  1941-1943 circa © Copyrighted Material

Neither of us knew then that she would become a famous and worldwide adored filmstar a decade later, and a beloved UNICEF Ambassadrice at the end of her flamboyant career. This is why May 4 is a splendid occasion to reward her tireless effort to support the deprived children of the world, in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

There are several ways you can do this: directly through Audrey’s website www.audreyhepburn.org, or by buying a copy of ‘Audrey Hepburn – A Cherished Memory’, a short story about how her bright star brushed my personal life https://amzn.to/2JOcjL4, the proceeds of which go to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund. You can also navigate my website www.johnschwartzauthor.com and look under ‘Books’ for more details on the Audrey story.  There you will also find direct links to the Audrey Hepburn website, courtesy Luca Dotti, Audrey Hepburn’s second son, who is Chairman of the Fund’s board.

Give magnanimous Audrey and her poor and malnourished children magnanimously! I have seen them myself and it is heartbreaking when you meet the orphaned kids on the street, in cities or rural towns, many limping because of maltreated diseases or injuries by war, or emaciated by hunger, struggling to stay alive, stretching their little hands for food or a dime. Many are abused by pimps and thieves. I know of a few organizations that help to keep them off the streets and build a new life for them (e.g. Website: www.givhopeafrica.org) and this is most gratifying. The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund deserves your good intentions too. Please don’t ignore this. Every little bit helps!

 

https://amzn.to/2JOcjL4

All my best,

John

 

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ENCHANTÉ – GIVE AUDREY A CHANCE!

Picture: Audrey dancing ballet in Arnhem – 1946

In honor of Audrey and her Children’s Fund (www.audreyhepburn.com) I published a short story on how we met as children and thereafter at a chance meeting when she was a well-known and beloved actress, with many good movies on her repertoire. My favored Audrey movie is Roman Holiday, her first, when I heard at boarding school the girl I played with when I was 7 (and she 13) during World War II had become a movie star and an overnight sensation. The short story is on holiday sale for only US$5.99 plus shipping or equivalent in other currencies (Pound Sterling, Euro) and the proceeds go to help Audrey’s Children’s Fund. Be a little generous and receive a sweet memory in return, with a few rare pre-fame Audrey pictures included.

USA and Canada:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0999154400

Europe:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.de/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.es/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.fr/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.it/dp/0999154400

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!

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Audrey Hepburn is Calling!

The above picture is ‘pre-fame’ Audrey Hepburn when she was modeling in London in the early fifties, a copyrighted picture of the Audrey Hepburn family archive given to me by her second son Luca Dotti.  Audrey (then 13) and I (then 7) played together in Holland during World War II. I wrote about it in my just-published paperback, entitled ‘Audrey – a Cherished Memory,’ which also includes some ‘pre-fame’ pictures, some given to me by her mother, Ellen Baroness van Heemstra, and others by Luca Dotti, also from the family archive. The paperback is a short story and you can read it in one sitting, with a coffee, a cup of tea, a scotch or a glass of wine. For Audrey lovers, it is a nice souvenir. I am sending the sales proceeds to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund. Originally priced at US$8 or equivalent, I have lowered the price to US$5.99 or equivalent, to encourage more sales during the Christmas and New Year period.

Many charities are claiming your generosity these days but with this contribution, you also get a sweet Audrey story in return! So give it your best, and click on where you are buying from:

The booklet is sold by Amazon.com with the following links, in the various locations of the USA, Canada, UK (Europe), France, Italy and elsewhere. as listed below:

USA and Canada:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0999154400

Europe:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.de/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.es/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.fr/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.it/dp/0999154400

MAKE IT YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFT! Audrey will be delighted.

For the cookerers among you, Luca Dotti produced a wonderful cookbook with Audrey’s recipes, including Dutch recipes, entitled Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen – http://amzn.to/2AqVPF1

Those who already purchased my Audrey booklet and want to donate directly to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, please do so by clicking on http://www.audreyhepburn.com

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ENCHANTÉ – Audrey Hepburn – A Cherished Memory

Thanks to all of you who are contributing to the www.audreyhepburn.com Children’s Fund by ordering my personal memoir of Audrey – A Cherished Memory!  The full proceeds of the sales will be transferred to the Audrey Fund. 

 

 

Finally, Sun Hill Books, USA, has published its first little booklet, entitled Audrey – A Cherished Memory. It is an updated 32-page printed version of the 2014 e-book “Audrey” with a few additional “pre-fame” photographs of Audrey when she was still a young girl as I knew her, which were given to me by her second son, Luca Dotti, from their family archive, on behalf of the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.  Much later, there were so many photographs of her widely published that adding one of those to my Audrey story would be superfluous. Sadly in the seventies, we did not make personal photographs the way we do now with our cell phones. The cover photograph of the Audrey booklet is “pre-fame” by Noel Mayne of Baron Studios in London, made in the early nineteen fifties when Audrey was modeling. I received this photograph from her mother through an aunt of mine when I was still in secondary school. It is rare because it was part of Baron’s negatives which perished in a flooding before Baron’s photos were transferred to the National Photo Gallery in London. Luca Dotti, who is now chairman of the board of the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund (Pasadena, California) sent me the second photograph above, which is from the same period and copyrighted by the Audrey Hepburn Family Archive.

Sun Hill Books issues this booklet for the benefit of the Audrey Hepburn Children Fund,  http://www.audreyhepburn.com. We have priced it at US$8, and equivalent prices in other countries, which would net the Fund between US$5-6. Now I hope that many of you still have a loving memory of Audrey’s movies (Roman Holiday,  The Nun Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade,  My Fair Lady, Two for the Road,  some of my favorites) and buy the booklet to read how we first met as children during World War II. I know she told her two sons, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti, of those bad days and the malnutrition she endured while living in Arnhem and Velp in The Netherlands. Both read the booklet before publication, Sean in 2014 and Luca in 2017, and they remembered their mother’s tales of World War II.

As you know, in 1988, Audrey became a beloved Ambassadrice of UNICEF, visiting malnourished and sick children in some twenty countries. She actively helped fundraise millions of dollars in the USA and Europe, while eventually succumbing to colon cancer at the age of 63 in 1993, perhaps induced by the malnutrition she suffered during World War II. She was a very engaged and courageous woman, both a famous movie star and a bright star in the firmament, which is still shining.

1988 – Audrey in Ethiopia – by John Isaac

The booklet is sold by Amazon.com with the following links, in the various locations of the USA, Canada, UK (Europe), France, Italy and elsewhere. as listed below:

USA and Canada:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0999154400

Europe:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.de/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.es/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.fr/dp/0999154400

http://www.amazon.it/dp/0999154400

For the cookerers among you, Luca Dotti produced a wonderful cookbook with Audrey’s recipes, including Dutch recipes, entitled Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen – http://amzn.to/2AqVPF1

Those who already purchased my Audrey booklet or want to donate directly to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, please do so by clicking on http://www.audreyhepburn.com

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ENCHANTÉ – AUDREY HEPBURN REMEMBERED

Audrey Hepburn 1

May 4 is Audrey’s birthday. Each year we remember her. I do and so many others. This portrait stood on the grand I played on at my grandparent’s home in Holland. It is a rare picture that you won’t find very easily among the thousands of Audrey pictures floating around on the internet. It was taken by Noël Mayne in London in the early fifties when Audrey was modelling and acting in cabarets, and not yet discovered. Her mother, who I used to call Aunt Ella, had left it with my Aunt Nini (the spouse of Count John Paul van Limburg Stirum who from 1916-1921 was Governor of the Dutch Indies where Aunt Ella, her niece, married her first husband). She visited Aunt Nini from time to time, and I met her there, too. She gave it to me, and so it landed on my piano.

John Piano Audrey 2

Not so long after that she sent me the famous picture of Audrey in Gigi on Broadway, for which she had been selected when she visited Cannes in 1952. For a long time I thought this photo was just for me, until I found out it was all over the place.

Audrey Hepburn as Gigi -1951

I met Audrey for the first time in 1943 when she was just thirteen and I seven. That was during World War II when she lived with her mother and two stepbrothers in her grandfather’s house in Velp, near the city of Arnhem, close to my grandparent’s place. Her mother was then divorced from her second husband Mr. Ruston, who had stayed in England. Baron van Heemstra was Mayor of Arnhem before the war.  He and my grandfather were related. Audrey came to visit on a horse-driven carriage, sitting between her mother and grandfather, on an afternoon for tea. She and I ran around the estate together. Though danger of bombs and fighter planes were a constant threat, and Germans were everywhere, even on my grandparent’s estate, we were only interested in my grandmother’s great cake.  Audrey was enthusiastic about becoming a ballet dancer.

audrey at 13  Audrey dancign Arnhem-1a

Both pictures are family pictures. The first (which slipped into the internet) is Audrey at age 13. The second is Audrey dancing in Arnhem at age 16, also given to me by her mother through my Aunt Nini. I gave the portrait and the dancing originals to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund for keeps.

For some reason, I could never forget her smile. It had a brilliance I would never see again until I met my wife. Then war reached a pinnacle and we could not see each other. I lived in Amsterdam, and when everyone thought we were going to be liberated, we heard that the battle of Arnhem had failed. There were thousands of deaths. We feared Audrey and her family were dead too. We suffered a long very cold winter without food, the hunger winter of 1944/45.

Hongerwinter 1 Hongersnood in 1944 hongerwinter 2

vliegtuig afgeschoten

Then, finally, on May 5, 1945, we were free, after five bitter years of war and suffering.

bevrijding 2 Bevrijding 1 Truck with allied liberators

bevrijding 4

But things changed rapidly. My father died shortly after liberation when he was run over by a British truck while bicycling to his brewery in Amsterdam. My grandfather died shortly thereafter of illness. It was a horrible time for me.  Then we moved in with my grandmother in the countryside. But Audrey moved in the opposite direction to Amsterdam with her mother, to continue her dancing lessons with Sonia Gaskell. I did not see them anymore before they left for London where Audrey – being British through her father Joseph Ruston – had received a scholarship at the Rambert Ballet. Audrey kept the name Hepburn her father had acquired from his grandmother’s maiden name.

I was at boarding school, about 16  or so, when my mother called me that Audrey had become a film star! It was “Roman Holiday,” with Gregory Peck. I still see myself standing at the  “middle court” of the school being admired. All of a sudden I became “famous”, too, because I knew her. I think each time she made a new movie, we went to see it immediately with my family and family friends who knew her. I remember we did not like Sabrina that much, because she married Humphrey Bogart, who was much too old for her and an obvious mismatch. Gary Cooper with Audrey in Love in the Afternoon was better, although he was also too old. Couldn’t they find younger guys? It took years before she finally teamed up with George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 and with Cary Grant in Charade in 1964! Aunt Ella kept sending pictures, one with her first husband, Mel Ferrer, and their little son Sean, which was used for a Christmas card.

Audrey Hepburn 3

It was only years later in the mid-seventies that I saw Audrey again, at a surprise moment, when she visited friends for a birthday party in Geneva. It meant the world to me: finally. I had written to see her when she was filming Charade with Cary Grant in 1963 in Paris where I studied.

Charade-1

But, even though she wrote back she remembered, she was so busy she did not have time to put a stamp on an envelop. This time we could remember the war time and our first encounter in Holland.

I wrote a story about my fascination with Audrey. There are many books about her, including wonderful picture books issued by her sons, Sean, and Luca (from her second marriage to Count Andrea Dotti, her psychiatrist). My story is a personal one I cherish, because it is mine alone. It is for sale on Amazon and whatever proceeds I get from it I send to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.

Audrey Short Story

http://amzn.to/1TJGH9k

Audrey was an icon for UNICEF and did so much good raising money for the many deprived orphans and malnourished children of the Third World.  She traveled all over the world after her movie career, and then got felled by illness herself that took her away from us in 1993 in a very short time, only 63 years old.

Audrey in Ethiopia

Audrey in Ethiopia

It was a very sad moment to learn she had left us, but at the same time so enlightening, as I had had the privilege of knowing her, albeit at the outer edge of her fabulous orbit. I still benefit and draw strength from her brilliant beam of light in the difficult moments of human life. Who could have imagined that that little girl I met during a cruel war would turn into that magnificent woman for so many millions of people, as her son Sean titled her in his wonderful picture book, “An Elegant Spirit.” And Luca’s lovely photo book “Audrey in Rome” as well.

Audrey Hepburn by Sean


 http://amzn.to/1SLyrDv                                             http://amzn.to/1Tkzoly

 

 

 

http://amzn.to/1Tkzoly

Luca Dotti’s Audrey Cook book!

Audrey Kitchen

http://amzn.to/1SMoc5l

 

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