Audrey Hepburn dies of cancer

AUDREY Hepburn, one of Hollywood's biggest stars, died yesterday at her home in Lausanne, Switzerland, from cancer of the colon. She was 63.

The Belgian-born actress, who charmed audiences with an almost ethereal beauty and sophistication, won an Oscar for her first major film, Roman Holiday. Among her best films were Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, Funny Face and My Fair Lady.

After ending her main acting career, Hepburn became an ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and last September went to war-torn Somalia to publicise the plight of starving children. Afterwards she underwent surgery in America to remove a tumour before returning to her home on Lake Geneva.

Her own childhood had been scarred by fear and hunger during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Born Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929, to a Dutch baroness and an English banker, Hepburn was sent to private schools in Britain but was on holiday in the Netherlands when the Second World War broke out.

She saw her brother dragged away to a labour camp and struggled to survive after her uncle and cousin were executed.

In 1988, more than 20 years after she gave up full-time acting, she became a goodwill ambassador for Unicef.

'My childhood made me more receptive to the ravages of war, violence and hunger and gave me the urge to do something,' she said in an interview in 1989.

Inspecting development projects in Africa and Latin America, and touring rich countries to persuade them to do more to help, she was one of the most prominent campaigners for third world children.

Robert Smith, Unicef's UK director, said last night: 'She gave those last years of her life totally to Unicef. She felt she was a voice for the children, she was giving them a voice.'

George Peppard, her co-star in Breakfast at Tiffany's, said: 'It's very sad. A silver bell has been silenced.'

Hepburn had two sons, one by Mel Ferrer, her co-star in the Broadway production of Ondine. They were divorced in 1968. She had another son with an Italian psychiatrist, Andrea Dotti, whom she married the following year. They later divorced.

Her funeral will take place on Sunday at the village church of Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland.

Ambassador of charm, page 2

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high