Hepburn, Audrey Kathleen, born Edda (some sources say “Andrey”) Kathleen Van Heemstra Hepburn Ruston, 04-05-1929, was born in Brussels, Belgium but spent much of her youth in Arnhem, Holland, later famous of the “Bridge too Far”. Audrey was the daughter of a Dutch baroness, the baroness Ella Van Heemstra Hepburn Ruston, and an English banker, Joseph Hepburn Ruston. She Hepburn’s mother was a daughter of Aarnoud van Heemstra, former mayor of Arnhem and governor of Suriname and from a noble Frisian family. Hepburn had two half-brothers, Alexander and Ian Quarles van Ufford, from her first marriage to the Dutch aristocrat Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford. She loved her half brothers and she grew into a shy tomboy. To make Audrey come out of her shell, the Baroness sent Audrey to a boarding school in London where she discovered that she had a talent for dance. Audrey’s parents divorced in 1935, a little after her sixth birthday; and the event had a lasting effect on Hepburn’s life. World War II broke out in 1939 and, fearing for Audrey’s safety, the Baroness brought her back to Holland, thinking that she would be safer at home than at the boarding school in England. This turned out to be a mistake and, living in Holland, Audrey lived under Nazi occupation. During this time she saw many of her relatives and friends taken away or killed. She also suffered from malnutrition because of the lack of food. At one point she and her family were forced to eat cooked grass and tulip bulbs. This was most likely the reason for her thin body and tendency not to eat when she was feeling stressed. As a child, she served as a courier for World War II resistance fighters in Holland. During the war, Audrey Hepburn tried her best to keep up her dance lessons that she had enjoyed when she was in England. Ballet was a distraction as well as a goal for Audrey. She focused on improving her skills and her mother did her best to support her daughter. The Baroness, a one time aspiring actress, liked the idea of her beautiful daughter going into show business. She was even known to have said that she always wanted to be a thin, beautiful actress and she had a daughter who was all three. On 15-08-1942, an uncle of Audrey (Ernst Otto Count of Limburg Stirum) was executed together with four others for an attack on a train. Her half-brothers Alexander and Ian are also arrested and are obliged to work in Germany. Audrey and her mother moved to Velp in April 1943 and moved in with her grandfather, Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra . She participates in the illegal cultural evenings in Arnhem, the ‘Black Evenings’. She also tries to raise money for the resistance with small performances. On 08-08-1944 she performs as a fourteen-year-old in a dance performance in the Arnhemse Schouwburg. For the underground resistance, she occasionally acts as an illegal courier. All this comes to an end in September 1944 when the Battle of Arnhem, a part of the military operation Market Garden, erupts. After the allied failure, all citizens must leave Arnhem. Forty refugees are admitted to the Velp villa.In March 1945, the Germans recruit young women to work in the military kitchens. Audrey is forced to stay hidden behind the house for a month.In April 1945 the allied troops liberated Arnhem. One day after her sixteenth birthday the German capitulation is a fact. Her half-brothers also return from the German labor camps to her delight. When the war ended, very close to Audrey’s sixteenth birthday, she tried to go back to ballet full force. She and her mother moved to Amsterdam, hoping that prospects would be better there to make money and advance Audrey’s career. At that time, Hepburn heard about a scholarship to Marie Rambert’s famous ballet school in London, and was awarded a partial scholarship. The two prepared to move to London but, before they left Holland, Audrey appeared in what would become the first film appearance in her extraordinary career. It was a Dutch travelogue in which she spoke a few lines as a KLM stewardess. But Audrey didn’t think much of it at the time, her attention was focused on ballet. When Audrey arrived in London, she was in for a change in course in her life plans. While at Rambert’s ballet school, her instructor informed her that she didn’t have what it took to become a prima ballerina. She was too tall and was too far behind in her training because of the lost time during the war. Audrie here under with her husband Mel Ferrer during a war remembrance day in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands It was in Ireland, specifically Dublin, that Audrey’s first husband, Mel Ferrer, found her father through the Red Cross. A Nazi sympathizer, he’d deserted them during WWII. Upon return from Somalia to Switzerland in late September 1992, Hepburn, here with Otto Frank and his second wife Fritzi Markovits , began suffering from abdominal pains. She went to specialists and received inconclusive results, so decided to have herself examined while on a trip to Los Angeles, California in October. On 1 November, Hepburn here with their son, Sean Ferrer , checked in at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with her family. Doctors performed a laparoscopy and discovered abdominal cancer that had spread from her appendix, a very rare form of cancer belonging to a group of cancers known as pseudomyxoma peritonei. Having grown slowly over several years, the cancer had metastasized, not as a tumor, but as a thin coating over her small intestine. After surgery, the doctors put Hepburn through 5-fluoroscopic Leucovorin chemotherapy. A few days later, she had an obstruction and medication was not enough to dull the pain. She underwent further surgery on 1 December.
Death and burial ground of Hepburn, Audrey Kathleen.
After one hour, the surgeon decided that the cancer had spread too far to be removed fully, and was inoperable. On the evening of 20-01-1993, at her home in Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland, Hepburn, age 63, died in her sleep of appendicle cancer. Hepburn was interred at the Tolochenaz Cemetery, a small cemetery that sits atop a hill overlooking the village.