Audrey Hepburn was a pop culture icon. And had she lived to see today, the actress would have been 92 years old.
Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929, in Belgium, the Hollywood star passed away on January 20, 1993, at age 63. She died of colon cancer at her home in Lausanne, Switzerland. Hepburn had gone through surgery to treat the cancer in November of 1992, according to History.com.
Today, on Hepburn’s birthday, here is a partial list of her most unforgettable moments.
Audrey Hepburn Wins an Oscar for “Roman Holiday”
In 1954, Hepburn took home an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Princess Ann in the 1953 film “Roman Holiday.”
In the movie, which also stars Gregory Peck, Hepburn plays a bored and pampered princess running loose in Rome who falls for journalist Joe Bradley, played by Peck. Cary Grant reportedly had a chance at the role of Bradley but turned it down.
A blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, wrote the screenplay. But fellow screenwriter Ian McLellan Hunter agreed to put his name on it so the studio could make it.
Little-known fact: According to Parade, Hepburn was so excited about winning the Oscar that she left her award in the ladies’ room.
Audrey Hepburn Stars in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
In the role for which she is most famous, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Hepburn plays Holly Golightly, an upscale call girl who is forever on the run from her past. Then she meets a young man in her apartment building who threatens to change everything.
According to Vogue, Truman Capote, from whose 1958 novella the movie was adapted, originally wanted Marilyn Monroe in the part of Golightly – a change that seems unimaginable to viewers who have seen Hepburn in the classic film. Also, Paramount executives reportedly tried to remove the famous song “Moon River” from the film. But thankfully, Hepburn intervened.
Hepburn Stars in ‘My Fair Lady’
“My Fair Lady” was mired in controversy at the time it hit theatres in 1964. That was both because Julie Andrews had become famous for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway, and because Hepburn at first stormed off the set when she learned that not she but Marni Nixon would sing all the songs in the film version of the musical.
Producer Jack Warner had used most of the Broadway cast for the film version. But he rejected Andrews for Hepburn, per Gold Derby. Unfortunately for Hepburn, though the film got 12 Academy Award nominations, she was passed over for a Best Actress nod.
Nonetheless, Eliza Doolittle became one of Hepburn’s most iconic roles, and “My Fair Lady” became the highest-grossing movie in Warner Brothers history up to that point.