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Audrey Hepburn


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About the Author

Barry Paris is the author of the acclaimed biographies Louise Brooks and Garbo. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, American Film.


Paris, author of acclaimed books on Greta Garbo (Garbo, LJ 1/95) and Louise Brooks (Louise Brooks, Doubleday 1990), now recounts the life of everyone's favorite gamine. Audrey Hepburn had little acting experience or unique talent, but her enormous doe eyes and ladylike demeanor made her irresistible to moviegoers of the 1950s and 1960s. Born into an impoverished aristocratic Dutch family, Hepburn spent much of her early life hiding from the Nazis. Her father abandoned the family when Audrey was six, and she began acting as a means of support, quickly rising through the ranks to major stardom. Ultimately, although Paris offers a vivid and well-documented assessment of both her films and her private life, Hepburn's story isn't on a par with the treatment accorded it. She emerges as a nice, rather ordinary woman who just happened to have the right look at the right time. For public libraries.‘Cynthia Ward Cooper, Carrollton Lib., Tex.

The life of beloved actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) is stylishly explored in this lively, at times even frothy, biography from Paris (Louise Brooks; Garbo). Paris goes a long way toward explaining Hepburn's gamine appeal with his account of her hardscrabble, often terrifying childhood during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. For the rest of her life, he shows, Hepburn had a former refugee's infectious love of the limelight and the good life but also a charmingly modest understanding that most people suffer more than movie stars do. Hepburn's personal and professional relationships with her leading men‘William Holden, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant‘are presented in gossipy detail, as is her often difficult marriage with actor Mel Ferrer. There are also informative accounts of the making of her films, with special emphasis on the controversy surrounding the casting of Hepburn rather than Julie Andrews as Eliza in the film version of My Fair Lady. Paris presents some new material from Ferrer, and some very witty new remarks by composer André Previn about the struggle over whether to dub Hepburn's singing voice in My Fair Lady, but for the most part this biography is a pastiche of earlier articles, interviews and biographies. Even so, it's the very model of a celebrity biography‘a little breathless, a little prurient, with just enough fiber in the way of psychological insight to make reading it a slightly more substantial experience than gobbling chocolates. Photos and filmography not seen by PW. BOMC selection; first serial rights to Vanity Fair. (Nov.)

"Rich and definitive...fascinating." --*Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Illuminates the complex inner life of the highest-paid actress of her time." --San Francisco Chronicle "Certainly [Paris's] account seems more personal than other recent biographies of Hepburn have been. In part, this may be because Paris had better access to family and friends, but he is also a very good writer, and his mix of anecdote and observation is just right." --Booklist

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