Thursday, November 4, 2010
Audrey Hepburn said that her father leaving "left me insecure for life perhaps. I do think there are things, experiences in childhood, that form you for the rest of your life." Her father was a nazi-sympathizer and her mother took her to the Netherlands to wait out World War II. Shortly after their move, the nazis came to the Netherlands. Audrey said, "Had we known we were going to be occupied for five years, we might have all shot ourselves. We thought it would be over next week...six months...next year...That's how we got through."
In 1991, Audrey said "I have memories. More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on to the train. I was a child observing a child".
Audrey's slight figure can be attributed to not getting near enough to eat during the years of German occupation. She said that the War "made me resilient and terribly appreciative for everything good that came afterward. I felt enormous respect for food, freedom, for good health, and family- for human life." She recalls, "We talked about food endlessly- what meal we would eat when the war was over. I think mine was chocolate cake...Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me."
She felt that she was fortunate, "How shall I sum up my life? I think I've been particularly lucky. Does that have something to do with faith also? I know my mother always used to say, 'Good things aren't supposed to just fall in your lap. God is very generous, but he expects you to do your part first.' So you have to make that effort. But at the end of a bad time or a huge effort, I've always had - how shall I say it? - the prize at the end. My whole life shows that."
Her mother taught her to put others before herself. "It's that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so don't fuss, dear; get on with it." Audrey says her mother was "a fabulous mother but not an affectionate person... There were times when I though she was cold- but she loved me in her heart, and I knew that all along." Audry remembers, "As a child, I was taught that it was bad manners to bring attention to yourself, and to never, ever make a spectacle of yourself... All of which I've earned a living doing."
Audrey said becoming an actress "just happened; I had no intention of it." She said, "I needed the money; it paid ₤3 more than ballet jobs". Audrey recalls, "I never expected to be a star, never counted on it, never even wanted it. Not that I didn't enjoy it all when it happened. (But) it's not as if I were a great actress. I'm not Bergman. I don't regret for minute making the decision to quit movies for my children."
She seemed to have a balanced view of life, "There is a Dutch saying, 'Don't fret; it will happen differently anyway.' I believe that." In her life she says, "I didn't expect anything much and because of that I'm the least bitter woman I know." She believed, "It would be terribly sad, wouldn't it, to look back on your life in films and not know your children? For me there's nothing more pleasant or exciting or lovely or rewarding than seeing my children grow up...and they only grow up once, remember.
Here are a few more quotes from this lovely woman.
"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."
"People seem to have this fixed image of me. In a way I think it's very sweet, but it's also a little sad. After all, I'm a human being. When I get angry, I sometimes swear."
"I'm not a city person...I'm very board by cement."
"I adore cooking and love to garden. Dull, isn't it?"
"I think any woman dresses mostly for the man in her life."
"You have to be relaxed as possible about food and fitness and the rest of it, or you'll be a slave to your beauty habits...You may have great skin, but you become a robot."
"My look is attainable. Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses, and the little sleeveless dresses."
"I don't want to be a perennial teenager."
"There's never any need for any woman to ogle any man. Ogling only puts the men off...In fact, the faintest flutter of an eyelash should be enough."
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others."
"When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that's when I think life is over."
"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once."