I have always regarded Audrey Hepburn with a bit of awe. To me, she seems like a princess, and though I'm nothing like her (physically or mentally) I humbly adore the woman as an icon and overall inspiring person. At first I tried to squeeze her life into one post, then two, and it spread out into four parts (it helps that I have absolutely TONS of scans of Audrey). So I offer this and its three accompanying posts up as tribute to the great lady.
Audrey Hepburn, originally Audrey Kathleen Ruston, was born May 3 1929 to English banker Joseph Ruston and Dutch baroness Ella van Heemstra. She had two half-brothers from her father's first marriage. She was sent to English boarding school at age 5. Her parents divorced in 1935 when her father became a Nazi sympathizer. Audrey attended school in England until 1939, when her family moved in with their grandfather in the Netherlands to escape German attack. Audrey attended school and ballet classes there, performing for the resistance in a dance group by 1944. After D-day, however, living conditions got much worse and the Netherlands slipped into a famine. While Audrey and her family had to get by on food like endive and flower bulbs, one of her half-brothers was in a labor camp. Audrey developed anemia, respiratory problems, and edema from malnutrition, which ultimately held her back from her dreams of becoming a prima ballerina. Thankfully, the war ended and her suffering was over, though her wartime experience stayed with her all her life. Audrey moved to Amsterdam to study dance under many different instructors and to model. She eventually had to drop ballet due to the fact that at 5'7" she was too tall coupled with her earlier malnutrition. Since she could not have that dream, Audrey decided to pursue an acting career in London.
(Photos from Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund and Audrey Hepburn [book].)