Although her film career came to an end in the late 1980’s, Audrey Hepburn is considered to be one of the most long-lasting on-screen icons of all time. During her 41 year acting career, Hepburn won several awards including an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1953, and was ranked third on the American Film Institute's list, “50 Greatest Screen Legends” (Jackson). In addition, Hepburn has been widely acknowledged as a timeless beauty and fashion icon. Several years after her death, her image continues to be used in advertising campaigns. Most recently, a clip of Hepburn dancing from the film “Funny Face” was used in a 2006 Gap commercial to advertise the company’s black pant (Msnbc). However, it is undeniably the actress’s later work with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, that has had the greatest impact on society.
Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 4, 1929. Although she experienced great success later in her life, Hepburn faced much adversity as a child growing up in Europe during World War II. In 1939, four years after her father’s abandonment, Hepburn, her mother, and her two half-brothers moved to the Netherlands as the threat of a Nazi attack continued to increase (Pettinger). However, one year later, Germany gained control of the country and the living conditions of its people began to deteriorate rapidly. During the Dutch Famine of 1944, in which much of the country’s food and fuel was confiscated by the Germans, Hepburn, along with many other people, suffered from severe malnutrition and faced starvation. “Hepburn and many others resorted to making flour out of tulip bulbs to bake cakes and biscuits” (Wikipedia). Adding to her suffering, Hepburn witnessed the brutality of the Nazi’s first-hand on several occasions. Most traumatic was the shooting of her uncle and cousin for their participation in the Resistance of the Nazi party. She also witnessed the murders of several strangers by the Nazi’s, as well as the collection of...
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