• Tue, Mar 16 2010

Audrey Hepburn Was Not Some Goody-Two-Shoes Saint, Okay?

As Lilit pointed out yesterday, I realize we all want to idolize/canonize Audrey Hepburn. I get it. She made Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And Sabrina. And Roman Holiday. And Whatever-Your-Favorite-Movie-Was-When-You-Were-Fourteen (including Love in the Afternoon, my personal favorite movie when I was 14 and Paris When It Sizzles, pretty much one of my favorite movies forever). And she was so pretty, and so skinny and her eyes were really big and her voice was melodious and – yeah. All of those things are true. And she was an absolutely terrific actress.

But she was also a human being with actual human quirks and bad habits that I sometimes think everyone has completely forgotten about as we fall over ourselves to label her the most perfectly ladylike lady of all time. In reality, she was probably someone who would laugh at your dirty jokes while swilling a scotch.  Personally, I think everything below makes her seem a lot more interesting:

“She was a heavy smoker who liked a glass of bourbon, she had an earthy sense of humour and a robust sexual appetite…[on May 4, 1945]

‘Freedom has a special smell to me – the smell of British petrol and British cigarettes. When I ran out to welcome the soldiers, I inhaled their petrol fumes as if it were a priceless perfume and I demanded a cigarette, even though it made me choke’… she never again lost her appetite for tobacco… [in summer 1954] Biting her fingernails to the quick, smoking constantly”, from “Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn” by Donald Spoto, Daily Mail

“I met her privately in her suite at Claridge’s. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, but she seized a large Scotch thankfully. ‘I’m not a lush’, she explained in that distinctive, faintly-foreign accent, a legacy of her Dutch upbringing, ‘but I’ve been up since four and I need a pick-up’. She chain-smoked too, clearly ragged with exhaustion” Sunday Mail (UK), Jul. 3, ’88

“The day typically wound down with Hepburn ambling around the house with a Kent cigarette and her nightly ‘two fingers’ of J&B Scotch”, People Magazine, Oct. 31, ’94

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  • randi

    actually.. i’ve always adored her.. but reading this.. makes me love her even more.

  • Heather

    She smoked, and was known to have had a few affairs, notably with William Holden (he was married), and Albert Finney (she was married). She could be a bit imperious. All around, though, she was a good egg

  • Florence

    Yeah, me too. I love her, but now I love her even more! She is amazing in all ways! She lived her life! And It’s okey, she is just… amazing.