My darlings, I don’t know how it happened and a most important date slip my mind. A very dear friend of ours just celebrated her anniversary two days ago and, in all shame, add my modest Happy Birthday, Ellington!
And because we all know one of her favorite sheroes, as she says (if not her most adored sheroe), is Audrey Hepburn, I wanted to make a special break this week, in her honor, with two songs interpreted by one of the most amazing actresses (and human beings) ever to have existed! Audrey Hepburn performing for My Fair Lady “Show Me” and, after the jump, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Just You Wait“. Happy Birthday, Ellington!
I know voices keep saying that Audrey didn’t sing a note on My Fair Lady’s soundtrack. However, records have demonstrated that Marni Nixon, who dubbed Audrey Hepburn’s songs for My Fair Lady, did so because, despite Audrey having had extensive vocal training in preparation for the role, didn’t pull it out quite right in the studio. That’s because her natural voice wasn’t as high pitched and as powerful as it was demanded by the role (and also set as a standard on in the Broadway play by Julie Andrews who made an amazing Eliza Doolittle before Audrey won the motion picture role).
Few facts about the “My Fair Lady” movie: it followed an already successful musical with the same name which was originally based on a play by George Bernard Shaw, “Pygmalion”. In the theatre play, the leading role was played by Julie Andrews and many still believe that she should have been the film’s leading lady also. However, Audrey Hepburn was amazing as Eliza Doolittle and I’m so happy she was the one chosen to play the part! (Julie Andrews had her revenge, so to speak, when she was awarded with the Oscar that year for Marry Poppins).
There’s so much that can be said about Audrey! I don’t even know where to begin! Here I go (and I’ll try to keep it as short as possible)! Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on May 4, 1929 in Belgium. Audrey studied ballet, as a child living in the Netherlands and in 1948, when she moved to London, continued to be active artistically by posing as a model to a photographer.
After starring in the Roman Holiday in 1953, all the lights of Hollywood were on to this willowy, remarkable young lady. She managed to turn our heads and melt out hearts movie after movie (Sabrina, 1954, Funny Face, 1957, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961, Charade, 1963, My Fair Lady, 1964 and Wait Until Dark, 1967). Her amazing acting career was followed by a dedicated work for Unicef as a humanitarian ambassador, working a lot with children and firmly believing that there’s no third world being just one planet, so one home for all. She traveled to Africa, South America and Asia until the very last years of her life, continuingly and genuinely interested in improving the life of others. Audrey Hepburn died on January 30th 1993 (of appendiceal cancer).
She was an accomplished wife and mother – she was married to Mel Ferrer and had a son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (and two miscarriages), she divorced him in 1968 and met and married Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969. Their son, Luca Dotti, was born in 1970. Audrey divorced Andrea Dotti in 1982 (after again, one miscarriage in 1974). Despite of her apparently fulfilled family life, Audrey Hepburn said she had spent the happiest years of her life from 1980 on, alongside her partner, Dutch actor Robert Wolders (with whom she never married).
Can you believe that we almost lost Audrey to ballet? If it wasn’t for Marie Rambert from the prestigious Ballet Rambert company, Audrey would have most certainly persevered until reaching the prima ballerina status. However, Marie Rambert counseled Audrey to try acting because her frail constitution (due to childhood malnutrition during the WWII) and her tall stature (5ft7 – 1m70) wouldn’t help her in achieving complete success through ballet dancing. Thus began Audrey’s road to world domination! (you may remember some scenes from Beyonce’s video Countdown which were heavily inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face? See below to convince yourselves!)
You can even admire Audrey Hepburn in one of her first movie roles: Netherlands in seven lessens from 1948. Just look at her: wasn’t she just gorgeous? One of the kindest, most charming people ever, both on and off screen! (doesn’t she look a bit like Miranda Kerr in this short clip?)
You may ask yourself what happened and how did Audrey turn into the style icon we know? Hubert de Givenchy happened! The famous stylist gave her a style and she stayed true to that style. Her most famed costumes are Mr. Givenchy’s extraordinary work of sartorial art. Sabrina (1954) was the turning point into both their lives – Audrey found her style and Givenchy found his muse. A match made in heaven! Just take a look at the video below and see the magic unfold!
I will stop here because I said so much already. I would just like to stick with this magical feeling after watching the Hubert de Givenchy wonderful style working so perfectly with Audrey’s personality. She was such an exquisite, character both on and off screen, I completely understand and concur with Ellington’s admiration for Audrey Hepburn. Once again, dear, dear friend, Happy Birthday! I’m so happy and thankful to have met you and I hope you can forgive me for being so late!