The White Angel of «Black» Africa — legendary actress Audrey Hepburn

Audrey was born in Brussels in 1929 into an aristocratic family. Her father was British and ran a large trading company in India, and her mother was a Dutch baroness.

When the girl was 6, her parents divorced and her mother and three children (Audrey had two older brothers) moved to the family estate in the Netherlands.

A few years later, the Nazis came, and for the rest of her life, the girl has terrible memories of the fear and hunger she experienced during the German occupation.

In fact, her relatives were on the list of Jews to be exterminated by the Nazis and their possessions taken. The head of an old family (Audrey’s own uncle) was shot first, followed a little later by his adult son (Audrey’s cousin). The mother and children, realising they would meet the same fate, fled at the first opportunity.

They hid with an acquaintance in another town and were given new documents.

Later they suffered real hunger as the Germans raided the people’s supplies. The 13-year-old Audrey, not wanting to be a burden on her family, danced to earn some money or food.

Audrey’s family was known to give some of the money to the anti-fascist movement. At the same time, they were in dire need themselves.

At home, Audrey refused to eat in favour of other family members. Her mother saw that the girl had lost a lot of weight, but could not get her to eat as much as the others.

When food became scarce, her mother made a soup from a very rare variety of tulip bulb that had belonged to her ancestors. Later, many years later, Audrey tried to rebuild her family’s tulip collection, but it turned out that these bulbs were unique, as she could not find these varieties anywhere.

By the age of 16, Audrey had developed anaemia and breathing problems as a result of malnutrition. Years later, when she became famous and wealthy, even the best doctors in the world could not cure these chronic illnesses.

The famous figure of the actress, who drove millions of men mad with her grace, was the result of banal childhood malnutrition.

Later, after the war, she was forced to leave ballet school because she was too physically weak and tired easily. It was then that she decided to concentrate entirely on her acting career.

Her first success came on the stage. She played several roles in Broadway plays and in 1951 she received the prestigious American award «Theatre World».

But it was her role in the film «Roman Holiday» that brought Audrey worldwide fame. The film was a huge worldwide success and the actress won an Oscar in 1954.

After that Audrey successfully combined her work in theatre and film. And she was successful everywhere. In a career spanning more than forty years, Audrey Hepburn received more than twenty of the most prestigious acting awards and honours.

In the 60s she was one of the highest paid actresses in the world, but she never became rich. The fact is that she was always involved in charity, and primarily from her personal funds.

Her selflessness was seen by others and began to transfer money to her. A few years later her charity became one of the most influential in the world.

Audrey Hepburn met US President Ronald Reagan on behalf of her foundation in 1981.

For example, to save the people of Ethiopia from starvation, the Audrey Foundation spent more than the country’s budget on humanitarian aid.

It is safe to say that millions of lives have been saved from starvation in African and Asian countries thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s personal initiative.

She paid particular attention to programmes to support hungry children. This is not surprising, as she herself was hungry for much of her childhood.

In her many charity trips, she spent little time on her health. Her colleagues later recalled that Audrey occasionally complained of stomach pains, but attributed this to the unfamiliar food she had to eat in Africa and Asia.

When the pain became unbearable, she finally went for a check-up. The diagnosis was devastating — terminal rectal cancer. She was rushed into surgery. But it was too late and a few months later she was gone.

She died on 20 January 1993. White Angel (as she was known in Africa) Audrey Hepburn was 63 years old.

Ձեզ հետաքրքրե՞ց մեր հոդվածը, կիսվեք ընկերների հետ։