Category Archives: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn 5.4.14 Thought of the Day

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and
for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
— Audrey Hepburn.


English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on this day  in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. Today is the 85 anniversary of her birth.


Her mother was a member of the Dutch aristocracy. Her father was banker. She had two older half brothers.


She grew up in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. She attended a small boarding school in Elham England (there were only 14 students) before the outbreak of WWII. Her parents divorced and her mother, Ella took Audrey back to Arnhem hoping that the Netherlands would remain neutral. There she attended the Arnhem Conservatory and continued to study ballet. She used the pseudonym Edda van Heemstra during the war because Audrey sounded too English. “Hepburn and her mother struggled to survive. She reportedly helped the resistance movement by delivering messages.” [] She carried messages in the toes of her ballet slippers and performed in a dance troupe that gave concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance. She survived starvation by eating cakes made of flour made of ground tulip bulbs.  She suffered from anemia and malnutrition. She never forgot the hardships of her war-time youth and devoted herself to the humanitarian organization UNICEF in her later years.


After the war, Hepburn continued to pursue an interest in dance. She studied ballet in Amsterdam and later in London. In 1948, Hepburn made her stage debut as a chorus girl in the musical High Button Shoes in London. [Ibid]


Her first film role was an untitled one in 1951’s One Wild Oat. She met the French writer Colette who insisted that Hepburn play the lead in the Broadway play version of her book Gigi. So at 22 Hepburn found herself the star of major Broadway production.


Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Grego...

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck from the trailer for the film Roman Holiday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Soon she was making movies and at 24 she starred opposite Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. She won an Academy Award for her performance as the elegant, spunky,  yet somehow fragile Princess Ann.


The following year, in 1954 she won a Tony for her role in the Broadway play Ondine opposite Mel Ferrer. She played a water nymph who falls in love with a human. In real life Hepburn and Ferrer fell in love off stage. They married in September of that year.


Also in 1954 Hepburn starred in Sabrina opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. She got an Oscar nom. for this bittersweet  romantic comedy.



English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Hump...

English: Screenshot of Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film en:Sabrina (1954 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Rita’s note: Can some one please tell Hollywood… THIS is how you make a romantic comedy!






Hepburn turned to dramatic costume drama in 1956 co-starring with her husband, Ferrer, and Henry Fonda in War and Peace.




She teamed up with Fred Astaire for 1957’s Funny Face. The film allowed Hepburn to show off her dancing skills.




In 1959 she received another Oscar nom. for her role as Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story, which Variety called “her most demanding film role.”   [Ibid]




Then in 1960 she went Western starring in John Huston’s classic The Unforgiven with Burt Lancaster.




In 1961 she went back to rom/coms in Truman Copote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her Holly Golightly earned her a fourth Oscar nom.




For the rest of the 1960s, Hepburn took on a variety of roles. She starred with Cary Grant in the romantic thriller Charade (1963). Playing the lead in the film version of the popular musical My Fair Lady (1964)… Taking on more dramatic fare, she starred a blind woman in the suspenseful tale Wait Until Dark (1967) opposite Alan Arkin. …This film brought her a fifth Academy Award nomination. That same year, Hepburn and her husband separated and later divorced. She married Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969, and the couple had a son, Luca, in 1970. [Ibid]



Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964)

Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (1964) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The roles slowed down in the 1970’s and 80s. She worked with Sean Connery, playing an aging Marian in Robin and Marian in 1976. She brought sophisticated grace to the crime thrilled Bloodline with Ben Gazzara in 1979. The two switched gears to comedy and starred again in They All Laughed in 1981. Steven Spielberg had the honor of directing her last film, when she took on a cameo role as an angel in Always.




Hepburn died on January 20, 1993 of appendiceal cancer.



... Audrey Hepburn

… Audrey Hepburn (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)


You may be interested in my previous blog post on

Secondary Character Saturday: Mr. Roat (Wait Until Dark)

Gregory Peck 4.5.13 Thought of the Day


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Secondary Character Saturday: Mr. Roat (Wait Until Dark)


Who: Mr. Roat

From: Wait Until Dark

Directed by: Terence Young, Written by: Frederick Knott, Robert Carrington and Jane-Howard Carrington

When: 1967

PROS: He’s a hipster, sociopath who wears sunglasses all the time. He’s played brilliantly by Alan Arkin, so there’s a certain coolness to his absolute evil. Besides that… not so much in the Pro category

CONS: He’s an amoral killer who threatens to burn Audrey Hepburn to death. No body messes with my girl Audrey.

Why I chose Roat: I specifically am referencing Alan Arkin’s movie portrayal of Roat, Harry Roat, Jr. and Mr. Roat, Sr.  in Wait Until Dark because he is absolutely wonderful in the role. He’s both funny and terrifying at the same time. And he’s really, really, really wicked.

Gregory Peck 4.5.13 Thought of the Day

“I don’t lecture and I don’t grind any axes. I just want to entertain.”–Gregory Peck

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the trailer for the film Gentleman’s Agreement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on this day in La Jolla, California, USA in 1916. Today is the 97th anniversary of his birth.

He was born to Bernice Mae “Bunny” and Gregory Pearl Peck. Bunny was Scottish, English and Protestant, Gregory senior was Irish and Catholic. She converted when they married and they raised Eldred Catholic. When the couple split  little Eldred was six, he went to live with his grandmother.

Peck…”never felt he had a stable childhood. His fondest memories are of his grandmother taking him to the movies every week and of his dog, which followed him everywhere.” [IMDb]  When he was ten his grandmother passed away and he went to live with his father full-time.

He went to St. John’s Military Academy, a Roman Catholic military school in Los Angeles, then to  San Diego High School. He enrolled at San Diego State Teacher’s College for one year before transferring to the University of California, Berkley where he settled on Acting. Working as a truck driver and kitchen assistant helped pay the bills.

Upon graduation Peck headed east to New York City.  Gregory Peck was ‘born’ when he dropped his first name. “I never liked the name Eldred. Since nobody knew me in New York, I just changed to my middle name.” He worked as an usher at Radio City Music Hall and a tour guide at NBC. He worked for the acting experience and for food, landing progressively larger roles as he honed his craft.

His debut was in Emlyn Williams‘ play “The Morning Star” (1942). By 1943 he was in Hollywood, where he debuted in the RKO film Days of Glory (1944).

Stardom came with his next film, The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Peck’s screen presence displayed the qualities for which he became well-known. He was tall, rugged and heroic, with a basic decency that transcended his roles. [IMDb]

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the trailer for the film The Yearling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was nominated for four Academy Awards in the 1940’s for his work in: The Keys of the Kingdom, The Yearling, Gentleman’s Agreement and Twelve O’Clock High. He’d have to wait another 20 years before winning the statue.

An old back injury keep him out of the service during World War II (he’d hurt himself while taking dance and movement classes — not while on the UC Berkley Rowing team as 20th Century Fox claimed.)

He kept his stage skills up at The La Jolla Playhouse, a theatre he co-founded with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire in 1947.

To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962

To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962 (Photo credit: mystuart)

His best known and most love role came in 1962 as Atticus Finch in the film adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the soft-spoken, southern lawyer. And his portrait of Finch was voted as the #1 greatest hero in American film by the American Film Institute in 2003.

Other notable films from his large library of movies include:

  • Spellbound
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro
  • Designing Women with Lauren Bacall
  • On the Beach
  • The Guns of Navarone
  • Cape Fear
  • The Omen
  • The Boys From Brazil

and my other favorite (besides Mocking Bird)… Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn.

Cropped screenshot of Gregory Peck from the tr...

Yousuf Karsh 12.23.12 Thought of the day

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.” — Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh was born on this day in Mardin, Ottoman Turkey in 1908. Today is the 104th anniversary of his birth.

Karsh was a child during the Armenian genocide and his family was forced to flee from village to villiage. His sister died of starvation. In 1924 his parents sent him to Sherbrooke, Quebec to live with his uncle, George Nakash who worked as photographer. Karsh showed interested in the art and his uncle arranged an apprenticeship with John Garo, a portrait photographer living in Boston.

After his apprenticeship he returned to Canada and worked in a studio near Parliament Hill  in Ottawa. The Prime Minister discovered his work and arranged sittings with visiting dignitaries.

Karsh photographed Winston Churchill when the Britt came to give a speech to the Canadian House of commons in 1941. It became the most reproduced photographic print in history.

Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace"...

Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” address originated the term “Iron Curtain.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He went on to photograph 51 of the 100 most notable people of the century in the International Who’s Who (2000).

He died in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in July of 2002 at the age of 93.

Karsh : Créateur d'images

Karsh : Créateur d’images (Photo credit: mstcweb)

His art has been celebrated on Canadian postage stamps and in 2009 Ottawa hosted a Festival Karsh .

Yousuf Karsh - Hepburn

Yousuf Karsh – Hepburn (Photo credit: Père Ubu)

Photo of Humphrey Bogart by Yousuf Karsh, 1946...

Photo of Humphrey Bogart by Yousuf Karsh, 1946 (“Yousuf Karsh collection” at the Library and Archives Canada). According to image information the copyright has expired. Title: Humphrey Bogart, actor Year: 1946 Size: 19.75 x 16 inches Source:National Archives of Canada Reference number: PA-212506 Restrictions on use/reproduction: Nil Copyright: Expired on December 31, 1996 Credit: Yousuf Karsh / Library and Archives Canada / PA-212506 Creator: Karsh, Yousuf, 1908- (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marx Brothers by Yousuf Karsh, 1948

Marx Brothers by Yousuf Karsh, 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nederlands: Paul Robeson in 1938; foto Yousuf ...

Nederlands: Paul Robeson in 1938; foto Yousuf Karsh; National Archives of Canada/PA-209022/Copyright: Expired (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H. G. Wells in 1943.

H. G. Wells in 1943. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer Deutsc...

Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer Deutsch: Martha Graham 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steven Spielberg 12.18.12 Thought of the Day

“I dream for a living.”
— Steven Spielberg

Français : Centrage sur le visage de Steven Sp...

Français : Centrage sur le visage de Steven Spielberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steven Allan Spielberg was born on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in 1946. He is 66 years old.

Spielberg grew up in Haddon Township, New Jersey and Scottsdale, Arizona. He made 8mm films that he charged his friends a quarter a piece to see, his sister sold popcorn. He’d do special effects train wrecks using his model trains. He earned the photography merit badge in Boy Scouts producing an 8mm movie called “The Last Gunfight. (Spielberg went on to become an Eagle Scout.)

While attending California State University, Long Beach he took an unpaid internship at Universal Studios. When studio VP Sid Sheinberg saw his 26 minute, silent film Amblin’ he offered Spielberg a seven-year contract with Universal Television. Thus making Spielberg the youngest director to be signed to a long-term deal with a major motion picture studio. He left Cal State, Long Beach to take the gig, but eventually finished his degree in 2002.

At Universal Television he directed episodes of Marcus Welby, MD, Rod Sterling’s Night Gallery, The Name of the Game, The Psychiatrist, Columbo and TV movies.

His first feature film was The Sugarland Express with Goldie Hawn (1974).  Sugarland Express was a good first effort, and the critics liked it, but it got tepid reaction at the box office.

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

In 1975  he made everybody afraid to get into the water with Jaws.  Based on a Peter Benchley novel Jaws had that mix of small town life invaded by something big and ominous — in this case a great white shark named “Bruce” — that became a Spielberg hallmark. Jaws starred Roy Scheider as the mild-mannered sheriff, Marty Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as smart, hyper Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as crusty Quint. Jaws was the highest-grossing film of all time until Star Wars knocked it off the top of the list.

He revisited the theme of an earlier, student, film, Firelight, to make his third film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Firelight had a budged of $500 and, with tickets that cost $1 each and the film made a profit of exactly $1. The budget and profit for Close Encounters was considerably larger. He wore both writing and directing hats on Close Encounters.

World wide adventure came calling with Indiana Jones in 1981  in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first [and best] of the Indiana Jones series.

Then he came home for another small town meets alien film with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. [Spielberg fans are generally split  on this one with some voting it as their favorite and others dismissing it as over sentimental and saccharine. I’m on team saccharine. Discuss.]

He did two segments of the Twilight Zone movie (no, not the Vampire one with Edward Cullen) and a couple of TV shows before making the wonderful The Color Purple. Based on the Alice Walker novel, the film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards — but not for directing — however, it didn’t win any Oscars.

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

Empire of the Sun is a war movie and is set in almost the same time frame at the Indiana Jones flicks, but it couldn’t be more different. Based on the J.G. Ballard novel and with a screen play by Tom Stoppard this move starred John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers and a young Christian Bale (in one of his first roles for film.) Empire of the Sun did well with the critics, although  it did not do as well at the box office as some of Spielberg’s more action packed films. It (along with Color Purple) marked a transition point for the film maker. From here on out he had the chutzpah to make a full-fledged drama. [Empire is my #1 favorite Spielberg film. It is beautifully filmed,  has amazing performances, and  a wonderful score, go put it on you Netflix queue right now.]

He closed out the 1980s with the third installment in his Raider’s series — this time with Sean Connery along for the ride with Harrison Ford; and an under appreciated movie about daredevil pilots who put out forest fires, Always. Spielberg teamed up with Richard Dreyfus again for Always, and it’s Audrey Hepburn’s last role.

Hook, a spin on the Peter Pan story came in 1991, followed by Jurassic Park. Both seem like a perfect fit for this director who revels in letting his inner child come out on the screen. Jurassic Park has DINOSAURS! What’s not to like? [Well if you’ve read the book, you might cite a the lack of character or plot development, which Michael Crichton taut novel had in spades.  The movie relied more on special effects and product placement than writing. — Seemed to work though, they made a LOT of money and squeeze out a couple of sequels.]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

Schindler’s List is another of his best movies. It won Spielberg his first Academy Award for Best Director (it also won for Best Film). He found a very human way to tell a very inhumane story. Like Empire of the Sun it is a WWII drama, and it also takes place largely in a concentration camp. But Schindler’s List is in the European theater and it encompasses a larger scope. Amazing acting, story, sets, and it is largely done in black and white. [It is my other favorite of Spielberg, and needless to say, you ought to put it on your queue.]

After another dance with dinos in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he returned to drama with Amistad. Amistad tells the true story of an uprising that took place on the slave ship La Amistad and the legal battle that followed. Look for Anthony Hopkins as [my guy] John Quincy Adams. Amistad lacked box office appeal, but did well critically.

Saving Private Ryan showed yet another side to WWII, this time from the US soldier’s point of view. It was a big box office hit.  and Spielberg won his second Academy Award as Best Director. Wonderful acting, especially from his lead, Tom Hanks, again a great story line, and beautifully shot. [A bit too realistic in the graphic depiction of the battle scenes for me, but still a great movie. Queue it.]

2001 brought A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was started on Stanley Kubrick’s watch. 2002 gave us Minority Report based on the Philip K. Dick novel. Both are nearish future sci-fi stories.  Catch Me If You Can goes back in time (a little) to tell the story of a con artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio and the cop that chases him, Tom Hanks. Hanks stars again in The Terminal as kind-hearted Eastern European traveller stuck in an airport when his country experiences a coupe. [All of them deserve a spot in your queue. As does…]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]

Spielberg’s reboot of War of the Worlds is creepy good with a capital C. The director joined forces again with Tom Cruise for this blockbuster, and it pulled in the big bucks — but it was also a darn good movie.

[It seems odd to me that I have seen SO many Spielberg movies, and yet after the 2005 War of the Worlds I haven’t seen any! How did that happen?  I want to see Munich; War Horse; and definitely Lincoln. Any body up for a movie night?]

Thought of the day 8.9.12 Audrey Tautou

“In France we have a law which doesn’t allow the press to publish a photo that you didn’t approve. It lets the paparazzi take the picture, but if they publish this picture, you have the choice to sue the newspaper. So me, I always sued them.”

Audrey Justine Tautou


Amélie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Audrey Justine Tautou  was born on this day in  Beaumont, in the Auvergne region of France in 1976 (or maybe it was 1978, no one seems to really know, and Tautou isn’t telling.) She is 36  (or 34).

She was named after actress Audrey Hepburn, it seemed destined that the French waif would become an actress. She studied acting Cours Florent (a private drama school in Paris), and, upon graduation quickly found work on television.

She won the Canal+ “Young Debut” award in 1998. The following year she won a Ceasar for Best New Actress in her work in the film Venus Beauty Institute .  She had three movies come out in 2000, Le Libertin, Voyous Voyelle, and Happenstance. She won the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti Award for her work that year.

Then came Amelie. Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, was directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, who also co-starred. Tauto plays the a young waitress who, despite a sad and lonely childhood, decides

to dedicate herself to bringing happiness to those who are less fortunate than she, whilst punishing those who deserve to be punished.[]

It made her the best paid actress in France, and gave her international exposure.

The Da Vinci Code (film)

The Da Vinci Code (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2002 she made her first English Language film with director Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things. And in 2006 she starred in the block buster Da Vinci Code directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.

Coco Before Chanel

Coco Before Chanel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2009 she embraced the role of fashion icon Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel.

In 2012 she made her stage debut at the Theatre de la Madeleine in Paris in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Tautou says she is not interested in doing sequels. “ I certainly don’t want to be in Thingy Blah Blah 3, if you know what I mean.”  She enjoyed working with Howard and Hanks on Da Vinci Code, but ““I never want to do the same things twice. I like surprises.”

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