It may be 27 years since Audrey Hepburn died at 63 but as “Audrey,” a new documentary, vividly shows, the Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian continues to reign as an iconic, globally admired figure.
Known for movies like “Roman Holiday,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “My Fair Lady,” Hepburn was embraced for her accessibility.
“I’ve described her as ‘A perfect package of imperfections.’ There’s something honest, straightforward and human there,” said Sean Hepburn Ferrer, 60, her eldest son. “That’s why we feel she’s one of us.”
Asked (for probably the umpteenth time!) how it felt to grow up with world-famous mom, Ferrer smiled during a half-hour Zoom interview.
“I like that question because I like the answer I’ve come to over the years: I have no idea.
“Because by the time I went to the village school in Switzerland, we’re talking about September 1965, she was finishing ‘Wait Until Dark’ which was released in ’66.
“That’s when she gave up being an actress to be a full-time mom – in a farmhouse with fruit trees. A few years later in 1969 she met the Italian doctor,” Andrea Dotti, her second husband.
“Soon we moved to Rome and I got a little bit of a sense I was different because the paparazzi would follow me when I went to buy books or socks.
“But my mother never behaved like a movie star. I did not grow up in Hollywood, the place or the state of mind.”
It was only with her death on Jan. 20, 1993, that Ferrer fully realized the enormity of her popularity.
“In this 600-person hamlet in Switzerland (Tolochenaz), it was like a rock concert for her funeral. Cars were parked as far as you could see in the fields. Probably 25,000 or more people were lining the streets.
“During her illness we received bags and bags of anything you can imagine, from get well cards to origami from Japan to medications. The mail lady used to come on a little moped — and she had to rent the mail truck from the town next door because she had to lug these bags to our door with thousands of cards we couldn’t even open.
“We sent 2,000 thank you notes,” he added. “A little black and white photograph of her as a little girl.
“That’s when we connected with what her celebrity meant. It wasn’t until then we realized the extent that she had reached her public.”
“Audrey” is available for streaming Friday.
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