Like several other celebrities, Audrey Hepburn helped fight against the Axis Powers during WW II, joining the likes of Roald Dahl, Moe Berg, Julia Child, Lucky Luciano, James Doohan, Jimmy Stewart, Noel Coward, and Ian Fleming, among others.
Audrey Hepburn is a famed actress having starred in classic movies like Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and My Fair lady. She had also won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Roman Holiday. Hepburn had a fascinating but tumultuous upbringing. Audrey’s father was a British businessman, and her mother was a Dutch baroness. She had spent most of her childhood in Belgium, Netherlands, and England.
In 1939, shortly after the start of World War II, Hepburn’s family moved to Netherland in the belief that the country, which had remained free and neutral from the devastation of WWI, would not be drawn into WWII. But she was mistaken.
In 1940, the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans. By 1944, Germans had executed Hepburn’s uncle, one of her brothers was put in the labor camp, and the other one had been hiding. Audrey was still a teenager when she started to help the Dutch resistance.
She was an accomplished ballerina by the age of 14; she had started helping the resistance by dancing. You might be wondering how this was helpful? Well, she danced in secret productions to raise funds for the resistance. Once Audrey famously said, “The best audience I ever performed for had made not a single sound at the end of my performance.” If she had been discovered doing these secret dance performances to raise money, she would have executed.
Like most of the Dutch people, Audrey and her family survived famine and other hardships throughout World War II. Audrey herself was going through edema, anemia, and respiratory during 1944, Dutch Famine.
When the humanitarian aid finally arrived in the Netherlands, providing the much-needed relief, Audrey witnessed the impact international aid providing agencies can have on suffering countries. As a result, she developed a long relationship with UNICEF(United Nations Children’s Fund) and was also appointed a Goodwill Ambassador back in 1989. In 1992, she was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, just four months before she died.
About Audrey Hepburn
She had won BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a leading role three times. In recognition of her successful career, she was also awarded BAFTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Golden Globe Cecil B DeMille Award, and the Special Tony Award. She is among the rare celebrities who have won Academy, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Awards.
Later in her life, she devoted much of her time to UNICEF. She worked in some of the most impoverished communities in Asia, Africa, and South America between 1988 and 1992. She died in 1993 at the age of 63 in Switzerland.
In 2002, at the UN’s special session on Children, UNICEF honored Audrey’s legacy of humanitarian work by unveiling a statue called “The Spirit of Audrey,” at UNICEF’s Headquarters in New York.