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Thread: Timeless Beauty ~ Audrey Hepburn ~ {ERG}

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    Default Timeless Beauty ~ Audrey Hepburn ~ {ERG}

    Timeless Beauty ~ Audrey Hepburn ~ {ERG}



    Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on Rue Keyenveld/Keienveldstraat in Ixelles/Elsene, a municipality in Brussels, Belgium, she was the only child of the Englishman Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston and his second wife, the former Baroness Ella van Heemstra, a Dutch aristocrat, who was a daughter of a former governor of Dutch Guiana.

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    Her father later prepended the surname of his maternal grandmother, Kathleen Hepburn, to the family's and her surname became Hepburn-Ruston

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    She was a descendant of King Edward III of England[3] and Mary Queen of Scots' consort, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, from whom Katharine Hepburn may have also descended. This also made her related to the other notable distant cousins including Humphrey Bogart and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

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    Hepburn's father's job with a British insurance company meant the family travelled often between Brussels, England, and The Netherlands. From 1935 to 1938, Hepburn attended a boarding school for girls in Kent.

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    In 1935, her parents divorced and her father, a Nazi sympathizer, left the family. (Both parents were members of the British Union of Fascists in the mid-1930s according to Unity Mitford, a friend of Ella van Heemstra and a follower of Adolf Hitler.)

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    She later called her father's abandonment the most traumatic moment of her life. Years later, she located him in Dublin through the Red Cross. Although he remained emotionally detached, she stayed in contact with him and supported him financially until his death.

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    In 1939, her mother moved her and her two half-brothers to their grandfather's home in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Ella believed the Netherlands would be safe from German attack. Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945, where she trained in ballet along with the standard school curriculum.

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    In 1940, the Germans invaded the Netherlands. During the Nazi occupation, Hepburn adopted the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra, modifying her mother's documents because an 'English sounding' name was considered dangerous. This was never her legal name. The name Edda was a version of her mother's name Ella

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    By 1944, Hepburn had become a proficient ballerina. She secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance. She later said, "the best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performance."

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    After the Allied landing on D-Day, living conditions grew worse. During the Dutch famine over the winter of 1944, the Germans confiscated the Dutch people's limited food and fuel supply for themselves. People starved and froze to death in the streets.Hepburn and many others resorted to making flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuits.

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    Arnhem was devastated by Allied artillery fire that was part of Operation Market Garden. Hepburn's uncle and her mother's cousin were shot in front of Hepburn for being part of the Resistance. Hepburn's half-brother Ian van Ufford spent time in a German labour camp. Suffering from malnutrition, Hepburn developed acute anemia, respiratory problems, and oedema

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    In 1991, Hepburn said "I have memories. More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on to the train. I was a child observing a child."

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    Hepburn also noted the similarities between herself and Anne Frank: "I was exactly the same age as Anne Frank. We were both ten when war broke out and fifteen when the war finished. I was given the book in Dutch, in galley form, in 1946 by a friend. I read it – and it destroyed me. It does this to many people when they first read it but I was not reading it as a book, as printed pages. This was my life. I didn't know what I was going to read. I've never been the same again, it affected me so deeply."
    Last edited by Zorrow; 24-05-2008 at 07:52 PM.

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    "We saw reprisals. We saw young men put against the wall and shot and they'd close the street and then open it and you could pass by again. If you read the diary, I've marked one place where she says 'five hostages shot today'. That was the day my uncle was shot. And in this child's words I was reading about what was inside me and is still there. It was a catharsis for me. This child who was locked up in four walls had written a full report of everything I'd experienced and felt."

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    These times were not all bad and she was able to enjoy some of her childhood. Again drawing parallels to Anne Frank's life, Hepburn said "This spirit of survival is so strong in Anne Frank's words. One minute she says 'I'm so depressed'. The next she is longing to ride a bicycle. She is certainly a symbol of the child in very difficult circumstances, which is what I devote all my time to. She transcends her death."

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