Friday, 3 February 2012

A Close-Up: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn lives on as an elegant and mesmerising woman who has seduced us with her talent in iconic movies from Hollywood's golden age.

2010, Bob Willoughby - Eliza is escorted by Colonel Pickering,
played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, on a day at the races at Ascot

This Belgian-born actress arrived in Hollywood in 1953 and her career soared following her Oscar-winning US debut in Roman Holiday. But Audrey Hepburn's career high is My Fair Lady, certainly a classic, each detail is well-thought and her performance is ravishing.

"She took my hand like... Well a princess, and dazzled me with that smile that God designed to melt mortal men's hearts." Bob Willoughby

Bob Willoughby, a distinguished Hollywood photographer who took iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, was called in to shoot Audrey Hepburn in the beginning of her career and she caused a lasting impression, becoming his favourite subject.

2010, Bob Willoughby - Audrey poses with a phone
during a 1953 photo session at Paramount Studios

As a trusted friend, he framed her working and home life with stunning photographs which have been published in limited and art editions by Taschen. Now a trade edition is available for all who admire this amazing woman.

"People, even  more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone." Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn devoted much of her later life to UNICEF, having worked in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities in Africa, South America and Asia. Her passion for humanitarian work was recognised one year before she died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland in 1993.

2010, Bob Willoughby - My Fair Lady: Eliza meets Higgins's mother,
who is completely on her side

She was a great human being and will always be remembered as a talented and incredibly beautiful actress, my favourite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany's loosely based on a book with the same name by Truman Capote.

You'll be able to see the black dress she wore in this film in the Hollywood exhibition which will open this fall at V&A, but for now you can keep this unrivalled record of the many facets of one of the 20th century's touchstone beauties.

2010, Bob Willoughby - Audrey wears a pink dress
with matching ribbon and elegant white gloves

Bob Willoughby. Audrey Hepburn
(£44.99, Taschen)

Other related posts:
V&A Unveils Hollywood Glamour
The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor
Red Carpet: Golden Globes Dresses