DAILY CIRCUIT Q&A: We’re all familiar with Audrey Hepburn‘s portrayal of “working girl” Holly Golightly (“Breakfast At Tiffany’s”) and rags-to-riches Eliza (“My Fair Lady”). Most folks are even familiar with her Oscar-winning performance as sheltered Princess Ann in “Roman Holiday.” But Hepburn had quite a filmography beyond these iconic roles (she was nominated for an Oscar 5 times).
A trained dancer and model, Hepburn’s acting career heyday was during the latter years of the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1950s and ’60s. From romantic comedies to historical, epic dramas, Hepburn tried her hand at it all. Opposite some of Hollywood’s greatest leading men the likes of Gregory Peck, Peter O’Toole, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart, Hepburn shines brightest playing younger love interests to older, playboy-esque leading men. Let’s talk about some of her lesser known gems.
Playing the “straight man” to debonair Peter O’Toole‘s funny man, burglar/P.I., Hepburn was her charismatic self in the elegant caper film “How to Steal a Million.” Her presence in this film was undeniable (the Givenchy wardrobe didn’t hurt either) and the chemistry between her and O’Toole was natural. And Hepburn was adorable when she tried to act like a “femme fatale.” The two leads seem like they are having the time of their lives in this film.
Or what about her turn as high-brow, independent Bohemian girl turned top model in “Funny Face” opposite Fred Astaire. Hepburn plays the sophisticated, reserved bookstore clerk who eventually gets to let her hair down and really have fun in Paris. Also styled by Givenchy, this was Hepburn’s first full-blown American musical and she looked like she was having fun through all the singing and dancing. And she gets to show off her background in the latter during a Bohemian dance scene, one of the highlights of the film.
Hepburn turned out another great performance in “Love in the Afternoon” opposite Gary Cooper. Playing the innocent yet mesmerizingly seductive young daughter of a private eye hired to catch middle-aged playboy Cooper with the wife of a client, Hepburn is absolutely charming. The plot and storyline are flawed, but her performance helped to redeem this film. Hepburn was also wild and over-the-top in 1964’s “Paris When It Sizzles.” As a young assistant helping a screenwriter overcome his writer’s block by acting out his plot fantasies, Hepburn gets to show her comedic range in this outlandish romantic comedy.
While best at romantic comedies, Hepburn gave a memorable performance as a blind woman terrorized by a trio of small-time crooks in 1967’s “Wait Until Dark.” Hepburn oozes vulnerability and sheer desperation in this convincing performance. Yet another obscure Hepburn classic.