On May 4, we celebrate Audrey’s birthday. Born in Ixelles near Brussels in 1929, from a British father, Joseph Ruston and a Dutch mother, Ella Baroness van Heemstra, she would have been 90 had she lived. Although she died tragically from an intestinal disease in 1993, only 63 years old, she still has many fans. Turner Classic Movies repeats her movies regularly. My favorites are Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, Wait Until Dark, The Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Charade. If I am pushed to the wall, I would rate The Nun’s Story her best because I know that world and loved the scenes in Africa’s Congo which I visited later while working for the World Bank. But Roman Holiday was the movie that rocked us in the family as Audrey had suddenly turned into a film star. At school, everybody was jealous that I knew her.
The above pictures are ‘pre-fame’ Audrey when she was modeling in London in the early fifties. The first is a copyrighted picture of the Audrey Hepburn family archive given to me by her second son Luca Dotti. The second is a rare photograph by Noel Mayne, a London photographer of Baron Studios, which Audrey’s mother left me.
Audrey (then 13) and I (then 7) played together in Holland in 1943 during World War II. I wrote about it in my paperback, entitled ‘Audrey – a Cherished Memory,’ which also includes some ‘pre-fame’ pictures, some given to me by her mother, and others by Audrey’s second son, Luca Dotti, from the family archive. The paperback contains two short stories, the first on how Audrey (then still Audrey Ruston) and I met at the house of my grandparents, not far from where Audrey lived with her mother and grandfather, and the second how we met again later in life in Geneva, Switzerland. You can read it in one sitting, with a cup of coffee or 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. I have lowered the price to US$5.25 or equivalent, to encourage more sales, which yields $1 in royalty. So, the more booklets sold, the merrier for the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund (www.audreyhepburn.org). The paperback is featured below:
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:
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.org
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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:
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!
On Mother’s Day, we celebrate our mothers and grandmothers for the fabulous jobs they do in our lives. The mother’s pivotal role in any family is recognized every day, first going through those exhausting nine months and the horrid delivery, then making sure there is good food on the table, kids go to school properly dressed and provided with a full lunchbox, or learn to read, write and do math, and put a lid on father’s disciplinary role. All mothers and grandmothers remain in our memory and when they pass they leave an enormous void for us who stay behind.
One Mother, Audrey Hepburn, was a special Mother who took care of the deprived children in poor countries as Ambassadrice for UNICEF during 1988-1993. Especially in Africa (Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia) and East and South Asia (Vietnam and Bangladesh). On May 4, it was 85 years ago that Audrey was born.
I repeat a quote from Audrey I found on the wonderful website of Audrey Fans <Audrey1> http://www.audrey1.org/
“My task is to inform, to create awareness of the needs of children. It would be nice to be an expert on education, economics, politics, religions, traditions and cultures. I’m none of those. But I am a mother and I will travel. “
She showed how she could be a mother for the deprived children in these poor countries and shone like a bright light in their sordid lives. Though her illness stopped her from pursuing her mission far too early at her tragic passing in 1993, she left an indelible mark on the great work UNICEF does.
In February 2014, I wrote two blogs on Audrey and launched my short story “Audrey” on Amazon.com (as part of a series of short stories entitled Some Women I have Known) on how I got to know Audrey as a young girl of 13 years old in Holland, long before she shot to the firmament as Gigi on Broadway in 1951 and as the adventurous innocent Princess in Roman Holiday in 1953.
How could I have ever expected that “that girl” would become so beautiful and so famous?
Audrey’s son Sean Hepburn Ferrer approved the story before publishing and found it “sweet.” Proceeds of the story go the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund. www.audreyhepburn.com
It’s only 99cts and all little bits help. Get it at Amazon.com at