"She took my hand and dazzled me with a smile that God designed to melt mortal men's hearts." -Bob Willoughby
Who doesn't love Audrey? I can name a group. They're the ones who often lord their superior taste in film actors over the rest of us, as if a love of Audrey is motivated by a shallow idolization of Holly Golightly. There are those who treat Audrey only as a fashion icon, who have only seen Breakfast at Tiffany's or else are just familiar with the image of Audrey in the black sunglasses and dress. For those of us who are floored by her humanitarian work, her pure heart, and her magnetic quality, Audrey can never be overrated. Some of us can understand why the media attachment is misplaced, but complaints against Audrey the person, Audrey the elegant spirit, and Audrey the actress are quite unwarranted.
When talking about Audrey's efforts as a spokesperson for UNICEF, her empathy is the most extraordinary. She could acutely feel the pain of those children in over exploited nations because she was one of them. Growing up in war torn Holland during the second world war, it's impossible to not be moved by the terror she experienced. She felt such a profound connection to Ann Frank because the latter was able to describe precisely what Audrey went through in her famous diary, though Ann was confined to that attic room. And when at last they were liberated, it was because of UNICEF. And Audrey loved children a great deal. Often the best people do.
She was just 63 when she died of colon cancer, and although she was a woman who aged gracefully, the youthful spirit was always there in those inexplicable eyes. We are often told that inner beauty is the kind that matters, and Audrey had it in spades. The proof is there in the way her eyes shone; right from within. And you can see that the light never faded as she grew older.
That is what makes Audrey so beautiful. She wasn't a bombshell, but she had a quiet kind of beauty that could still turn heads. "I never thought I'd land in pictures with a face like mine," she once said. But that face has never only been for the movies.
I for one, am so grateful to Audrey, because she's become one of the most inspirational people in my life, and is the perfect role model. I love her films. Whatever the opinion of herself and others, I've always found her performances to be fresh, funny, moving, tender, sincere, or anything else the role required. Her acting was understated and subtle. And when she took on the more dramatic, demanding roles, she was able to shine. She could convey a lot, and certainly gave it her all, so I don't think her status as a film legend is undeserved either.
I may find it hard to find the right words when talking about Audrey, but her son Sean does not. I stand by his book, Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit being the most comprehensive book on Audrey's life and career. And he says it best in the book's introduction:
"What you saw and felt when you watched her on the big screen was not only the clever presentation of characters brilliantly written, directed, shot, and edited into a performance, but a clear view of a truly magical human being who deserves the warm feelings that still transport audiences worldwide today."
Rest in peace, Audrey.