My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

For the Love of Audrey

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audrey 1

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn

My mother is much on my mind today, so I thought I’d celebrate someone she loved. Audrey Hepburn was my mother’s favorite actress, and early in my life, she became mine as well. We loved her so much and spoke of her so often, she felt like a member of the family. Of course, physically, she was beyond lovely, but that wasn’t what drew us to her. She had a stillness, a sweetness, a fragility about her that had you instantly on her side whenever she was onscreen. But she also managed to communicate great strength, even in her most vulnerable scenes. If you had to sum her up in a word, you would have to describe her first and foremost as a lady, but in the very best sense of the word. She always seemed poised and gracious, but I always got the distinct feeling she also didn’t take any shit. (Sorry, Mom. I know you hate it when I curse.)

As wonderful as her film career was, when she shifted her focus away from Hollywood and onto charitable works in the second half of her life, she became even more of an idol in our house. Unlike spokespeople today, she didn’t just stand around in a TV studio, making impassioned pleas to a camera. Audrey was famous for her tireless, on-the-ground work with UNICEF. When the charity was started in 1946, the acronym stood for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. By 1953, the charity had expanded its reach to include and mostly focus its efforts on developing third world countries, and dear Audrey got right in there and did her part.

Her films still have the ability to comfort me, no matter how badly things are going, but it’s her generous spirit that I’ll always remember.

So, onto photography. Although he took may iconic, well-known photos and shot hundreds of huge Hollywood stars, photographer Bob Willoughby always said Audrey was his favorite subject, and his luminous photos certainly illustrate why. The photographer never forgot the first time he met her, when he was called in to take photos of a new starlet in 1953. As soon as they met, he was instantly charmed by the young actress.

“She took my hand like… well a princess, and dazzled me with that smile that God designed to melt mortal men’s hearts.”

Willoughby called her “A forest creature who, before one’s eyes, could transform herself into a princess.” That may be the most vivid, endearing description of a person I’ve ever heard. Also to his credit, I think he came closer to capturing her inner loveliness with his photos than any other photographer I’ve seen. I hope you get as big a kick out of these adorable, somehow personal photos as I did.

Miss you, Mom!

Photos © Bob Willoughby/ TASCHEN.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

14 thoughts on “For the Love of Audrey

  1. Thank you for the beautiful photo array of such a lovely woman. She conducted herself in such a way that you did think of her as a princess or queen; she realized that her fame could open doors for her to help others, and she was very humble, gracious, and yet determined. She was noble in stature, and carried herself as if she had a great responsibility to others. Although her strength shone through, she also came across as very venerable and lovely. When I watch her movies I find myself mesmerized by her gracefulness, and for a few hours I walk a little taller and sit like a lady (legs crossed at the ankles).

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  2. Definitely a classy lady who gave of herself to those less fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beauty, Class, and Grace….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Donna, like you and your mom, my mom and I shared a special connection to Audrey– she embodied so many qualities that made us just adore her. I’ve now passed that love on to my daughter, so I guess it’s a family tradition! Kate has had an Audrey calendar on her bedroom wall every year for the last decade– 12 new pictures every year, many of which are included in your collage. Thanks for putting a big smile on my face first thing this morning– you’re good at that!

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    • Thank you, darlin’ My girls like her, too. Miss you!

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      • Miss you too and am so sad I’m not going to see you this weekend! :(:(:( One more Audrey-ism. I distinctly remember watching Sabrina with my mom for the first time (there were many more). As soon as the movie was over, she and I ran into the kitchen and tried to break an egg with one hand– neither of us was very successful. I still try that every once in awhile!

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      • I used to be pretty good at that (also a talent inspired by Sabrina), but somehow I always screw it up now. I still do it, but I nearly always have to fish out a little piece of shell. Maybe because we’re buying different eggs.

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  5. She was a beautiful, talented actress with a lovely soul. Thanks for the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

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