May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993
Born in Ixelles, a district of Brussels, Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands, including German-occupied Arnhem during the Second World War. In Amsterdam, she studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell before moving to London in 1948 to continue her ballet training with Marie Rambert and perform as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions.
After appearing in several British films and starring in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi, Hepburn played the Academy Award-winning lead role in Roman Holiday (1953). She went on to star in a number of successful films like Sabrina (1954), The Nun’s Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964) and Wait Until Dark (1967), for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. For her role in Roman Holiday, Hepburn was also the first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance in 1954. The same year, she accrued a Tony Award for Best Actress in the Broadway play Ondine. Hepburn remains one of few people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. She won a record three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress.
She appeared in fewer films as her life went on, devoting much of her later life to UNICEF. Although contributing to the organisation since 1954, she worked in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in late 1992. A month later, Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland in early 1993 at the age of 63.