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The 6 Roles That Defined Audrey Hepburn's Career

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 11:51 AM

Younger generations may know her for her style, elegance, and starring role in the ever-popular film "Breakfast At Tiffany's," but Audrey Hepburn's acting career was notably prolific, filled with prestigious awards and many "firsts."

As a model, it was Hepburn's stunning beauty, grace, and poise that first garnered the attention of film producers; but it was her undeniable talent that kept her on movie screens, and won her a plethora of coveted accolades.

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Here are six roles that defined Hepburn's illustrious career:

1. Gigi, "Gigi" (1951)

What began as a novella in 1945 later became a French film in 1949 before being adapted for Broadway in 1951. Hepburn, though at the time unknown, landed the starring role in what ended up being a hit. The play is a testament to her hard work, dedication and persevering spirit. Her initial reading was considered disappointing, but the play's writer Colette insisted on using her. After extensive practice and vocal coaching, critics chided the play, but spoke highly of Hepburn's performance.

"Her quality is so winning and so right that she is the success of the evening," gushed The New York Times, as reported by Broadway.com.

2. Princess Ann, "Roman Holiday" (1953)

After wowing audiences in "Gigi," Hepburn emerged as a major Hollywood movie star. Before moving to New York for the play, she successfully screen tested for the lead in William Wyler's "Roman Holiday." The critically acclaimed film about a princess who falls in love with a commoner while fleeing her boring life of privilege in pursuit of excitement debuted to British audiences in July 1953 and United States audiences in August.

The film and Hepburn were nominated for, and won several awards. "The newcomer named Audrey Hepburn gives the popular old romantic nonsense a reality it has seldom had before," said Time Magazine, as reported by Rotten Tomatoes.

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3. Eliza Doolittle, "My Fair Lady" (1964)

Julie Andrews certainly had the pipes to belt out the vocally challenging songs in Broadway's version of "My Fair Lady" but, when it came to the 1964 movie version, studio execs felt Hepburn was the one with the looks to pull off the perfect Eliza Doolittle, even though her songs had to be dubbed by another singer. While some questioned the choice of Hepburn, a non-singer, for the role they say Andrews was born to play, Time Magazine considered Hepburn's performance "graceful,", "glamorous," and "… the best of her career."

4. Holly Golightly, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961)


Groundbreaking in its portrayal of women and their sexuality before the sexual revolution, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" opens with Holly Golightly (Hepburn's character) emerging from a cab on the iconic Fifth Avenue in a sophisticated, svelte "little black dress" at a time when women in film were still confined to innocent, floral dresses that said their place was in the home. Although she didn't win any major awards for the film, it remains one of her most popular, particularly amongst younger generations.

Emmanuel Levy says, "Audrey Hepburn gives one of her most stylish and iconic performances in this charming if slightly sentimental version of Truman Capote's famous novella," according to Rotten Tomatoes.

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Younger generations may know her for her style, elegance, and starring role in the ever-popular film "Breakfast At Tiffany's," but Audrey Hepburn's acting career was notably prolific, filled with prestigious awards and many "firsts."
audrey hepburn, roles, defined, career
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2015-51-08
Friday, 08 May 2015 11:51 AM
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