Sean Hepburn Ferrer talks about Audrey Hepburn: The actress, the mother, the style icon and the humanitarian

Let’s do the math first. If you take the Lumière brothers’ “Sortie des Usines Lumières à Lyon,” a.k.a. “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory,” first shown publicly in March 1895—a 46 seconds and one-shot moving picture—as a point of reference to mark the beginning of film history, then this art form now exists over 121 years. Audrey Hepburn, on the other hand, played her major breakthrough role in William Wyler’s “Roman Holiday” in 1953. That’s over 60 years ago. Yet she’s still and undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, she has been dominating the film history for over half its history. More than 20 years after she passed away prematurely, she’s still a major driving force, one of the most important and charismatic screen icons ever, being the enchanting personification of charm, grace, sophistication, and elegance, who was also universally praised for her perfectionism. As a unique style icon who left behind an everlasting film legacy that is still as fresh, inspiring, and admirable as it was when her films were first released, she still comes to life on the screen as vividly as the day when her scenes were shot.

No wonder that to this day, Ms. Hepburn left behind a rarely seen before thriving posthumous career. Not only are there numerous websites that all pay tribute to her legacy, but people of all ages also gladly buy numerous items with Ms. Hepburn featured on them, such as handbags, shoulder bags, shopping bags, cups, metal boxes, T-shirts, pillows. They’re all trendy, they’re modern, they’re very fashionable. And no matter where you go, you’ll see a huge picture of Ms. Hepburn in any store, tavern, women’s clothing stores, or especially in hair salons wherever you may find yourself.

There are so many references to illustrate the everlasting impact of her talent, ignited by her incredible spontaneity. Take, for example, the opening scene in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)—to pick one—where she portrays Holly Golightly, one of her many classic screen roles. When you first look at the opening scene, it all seems pretty normal. Nothing special, you’d think, at first glance, until you start analyzing every move she makes, the expression on her face which changes very subtly, and her entire body language which turns an everyday opening scene into a major highlight. Getting out of her cab, she doesn’t just cross the sidewalk to walk straight up to Tiffany’s, it’s an experience to enjoy and see what she does and how she does it, just by holding only a paper bag in her hands with a cake and a cup of coffee in it, and simply looking at some jewelry while window-shopping, before walking away into the fantasy world of Holly Golightly. She even didn’t have to say one single word. And you don’t have to take my word for it, why don’t you judge for yourself; Henry Mancini’s wonderful score of ‘Moon River’ is an unexpected bonus you get and gladly accept.

Opening scene of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

This was all a little over 55 years ago. Ms. Hepburn, then in her early thirties, had given birth to her first son Sean Hepburn Ferrer a couple of months earlier, and he’s the man I had made an appointment with at the Helvetia Bristol Hotel in the historical center of Florence, Italy, to have lunch and talk about his memories of his mother and his life. It was easy to recognize him when he entered the hotel lobby; he has his father’s looks [actor-director Mel Ferrer, 1917-2008], the good-natured charm that always typified his mother, and her soft and refined voice.

“I suppose you could blame me for ending my mother’s career. If she had kept on working, her success professionally would have continued at a high level for many years,” he said. He refers to “Wait Until Dark” (shot in 1966), a film she made when he was six and had just started school, and she then put her career on hold to be with her family and be a full-time mom. After both of her sons (Luca Dotti from her second marriage was born in 1970) had grown up, she appeared in a few more films, but most importantly, she became a passionate ambassador for UNICEF.

Mr. Ferrer was born in Buergenstock, Switzerland, in 1960 and raised mostly in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, where his parents (married from 1954 to 1968) had bought a former farmhouse in 1963 and turned it into the family’s country house with a huge garden Ms. Hepburn adored tremendously. She herself had gone through the horrors of World War II when growing up in wartime Holland (although born in Ixelles, a suburb of Brussels in 1929 to a British banker and a Dutch baroness), and she wanted to make certain that her family had a safe place to live and would never experience another war.

The cover of Mr. Ferrer’s biography “Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit—A Son Remembers” (2003), published by Atria Books, New York

After residing and working for many years in Los Angeles, Mr. Ferrer quit the film business after his mother passed away from cancer in 1993, at age 63. The New York Times wrote in its January 23, 1993, obituary: ‘She [Ms. Hepburn] was skinny. Her nose was long, her mouth big, her teeth a little bit crooked. She chose not to inflate her modest bosom, and her feet were on the large side. The sum of these irregularities, however, was perfection.’ Or, simply put, as Fred Zinnemann, who directed her in “The Nun’s Story” (1959), also clearly in awe of her, wrote in his 1992 autobiography: ‘I have never seen anyone more disciplined, more gracious or more dedicated to her work than Audrey. There was no ego, no asking for extra favors; there was the greatest consideration for her co-workers.” Which Mr. Ferrer confirms all the way: “She didn’t want to be regarded as a star, and there was absolutely nothing pretentious about her. Consequently, I never saw anyone misbehave in her presence.”

Ms. Hepburn passed away at her Tolochenaz home. In his biography ‘Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit’ [2003], Mr. Ferrer writes in detail about the terrible tragedy of losing a beloved one at a young age. While working in Somalia for UNICEF in 1992, she became ill, and the stomach pain got so bad she could barely stand it. The verdict that followed was devastating. Cancer. Rushed to California, the doctors found the disease to be spreading through her abdomen, and in the end, the cancer was inoperable. He went to her hospital room to tell her the bad news. She just looked out of the window and said, ‘How disappointing.’ They took her back to Switzerland, where she died a few weeks later.

Her legacy will continue forever, though. Mr. Ferrer devotes most of his time and energy to her body of work and honors her humanitarian work with various non-profit organizations that bear her name. In the meantime, his daughter Emma Ferrer (b. 1994), a former art student at the Florence Academy of Art, is currently a model and an artist, residing in New York where she takes acting classes. She was featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in September 2014, and, following in the footsteps of her grandmother, she describes on her website how she recently became an international spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR. Emma graced the cover of the subscriber’s edition while Lady Gaga the commercial version. Miss Gaga’s internet page for the edition garnered 26,000,000 views, quite a feat. Emma’s, an astounding 500,000,000 page views—clearly a show of her grandmother’s power raining down upon her.

Harper’s Bazaar September 2014 full fashion issue with Emma Ferrer, introduced on the cover as “Audrey Hepburn’s granddaughter”

So there I was in Florence, Italy, having lunch with and enjoying the pleasure of Mr. Ferrer’s company as he reminisced about his childhood, his work, and his mother. At the same time, he also shared his inspiring and inspirational views on every topic we talked about.

Mr. Ferrer, what do you think made your mother so special when you see her on the screen?

Actually, we were just in Rome for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Gregory Peck’s birth. His children Cecilia and Tony came from Los Angeles, and we attended an open-air screening of “Roman Holiday” [1953, which earned Ms. Hepburn a Best Actress Academy Award] in Piazza di Spagna [Spanish Steps]. It has been a very long time since I last saw it on a big screen. So there we were, a thousand seated guests and hundreds of teenagers sitting in the sidelines on the grass, and we were watching this high-definition version of the film. I have to tell you, the quality of the transfer was amazing, it was so beautiful, there was not a scratch, nothing—it was enchanting. The twitch on the face, you notice it at once. On a TV screen, you don’t. We have to realize that, although there has been a tremendous liberation of the media—we can watch a movie now on a computer screen or on an Ipad—but then we miss a lot of details. On a big screen, every little twitch is seen and given its rightful place. Ever since my mother was a young girl, she performed for ten years in ballet, little operettas, and plays in Holland, and when she realized she wasn’t going to be a dancer, she started doing small bit parts in British films, but she didn’t have any formal training. And there you had this young girl of 22 years old who already understood the relationship with the camera. The Victorian upbringing, trying to be sort of self-effacing, which she was throughout her life, together with the understanding of what a close-up is, you realize what kind of mastery she already had at that tender age. I think that’s the reason why she got an Academy Award; of course, you also have the wonderful script, the wonderful part, Greg’s acting, Willy’s directing… but she had the ability to really hold back, which makes the performance unique. And so, what makes her so special? She’s special across generations; people—parents and their children—saw her films, they all grew up with them. Fifty percent of her current fan base today are teens and tweens. There we have to let go of our own preconceptions by trying to explain how wonderful and how elegant she was and go to a much more instinctive level. In a world where the Kardashians are a reference point, young people know instinctively where the truth lies. They know because they haven’t been corrupted by society. They know who they can trust, and I think that’s what they feel when they attach themselves to an icon like my mother. It took me many years to answer that question, and I’m not really sure if I have a complete answer, but on a sort of instinctive level, I think that’s where we are.

The 36th Academy Awards ceremony on March 25, 1954, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, with Audrey Hepburn winning the Best Actress Academy Award for her performance as Princess Ann in William Wyler’s “Roman Holiday.”

What is the most important lesson in life that she taught you?

One of the great gifts that our mother gave us was probably a product of the fact that she never forgot where she came from and who she was, nor was she really interested in that whole ‘social’ side of Hollywood. It all goes back to what we just talked about: there was something legitimate about her. I didn’t grow up the son of a movie star; I didn’t grow up in Hollywood, not the place, not the state of mind. I grew up in a farmhouse, and when we moved to Rome when I was ten years old [after her marriage to Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969], then, of course, I experienced the paparazzi. People wanted to photograph her all the time. The way I discovered her films—way before videocassettes—was because we had 16mm copies and an old Bell and Howell projector. I put up a sheet in the attic of the house and set up a little screening room with some pillows. That’s how I started seeing her old movies. With that little sound of the tictic of the 16mm and that speaker that’s kind of metallic, it’s magical because it’s watching real film. They still exist; they’re still in their metal cans. So that’s how I got to see her films for the first time.

Do you have an idea what Hollywood was like in the days when she first worked there?

In those days, Hollywood was a serious place with serious people working; there was none of this created Hollywood glamour of opulence, huge mansions, cars—everything that today is being pushed into the social media. What does it mean to be rich and famous, you know? Nothing… if it isn’t backed by something solid. It just wasn’t like that. It was the end of the reconstruction of America, so there wasn’t this great salary difference, and the crew was like a family. Everybody was respectful, and the crew members wore a suit—a jacket and a tie. And it was just about being clever and fixing problems. No computers, no cell phones, no fax machines, no xerox copies. Everything had to be done by hand. That’s how I learned when I started as an assistant director. I am glad to say that I was trained by some people to whom I owe a lot of gratitude because they taught me a level of professionalism that doesn’t exist much anymore. It’s easy today to fix a mistake digitally, while in those days, you couldn’t afford to make that kind of a mistake.

Mr. Ferrer in 2010, appearing on ‘Good Morning America’ to talk about a new book titled “Audrey 100,” a compilation of 100 stunning images of Ms. Hepburn

Would you be able to compare your mother to other actresses, not just because of her talent or the roles she played and how she played them, but also because she was a screen icon and a role model for modern women? Grace Kelly or Sophia Loren, maybe?

People also ask me that question about actresses today. Natalie Portman is a good friend of mine, and Audrey Tautou has that modern and intriguing quality; several actresses have this wonderful texture, that quality. But I think it’s unfair to compare anyone. So many times, people have brought me photographs and said, ‘Look, this is my daughter; they say she looks exactly like Audrey Hepburn.’ But you rarely get to see someone who actually looks like her—and now I’m only talking about the looks. There’s a Chinese actress [Hsia Meng, 1933-2016] who passed away last week; they say she was the Chinese Audrey Hepburn. They had her picture in the newspaper. She actually did look like my mother [shows her picture on his cell phone]. Strange, don’t you think so? Of all the people I’ve ever seen, there are some of her qualities there. But we’re all individuals; we’re all unique. My mother was unique in her own way, just like Sophia Loren was unique, but so many wonderful actors have their own uniqueness, so I wouldn’t be able to compare her to anybody.

What did your mother consider her proudest achievement?

The ability to still have the interest of the public. They enabled her to do the work for UNICEF at the end of her life, for sure. She could use the leverage of film to get the world’s attention to her humanitarian work. I think I would put that on par with the fact that she was able to give up the dream of being a ballerina at nineteen or twenty and just get on with it, do something else and re-invent herself. It shows how both she and my grandmother, who was also a key player, masterminded this whole trajectory. I think it takes a lot of strength. Of course, they were very poor after the war, and she had to keep working, but she was able to pick herself up and re-invent herself.

It is very interesting to see that she worked with both pre-war directors such as Billy Wilder [“Sabrina,” “Love In the Afternoon”], William Wyler [“Roman Holiday,” “The Children’s Hour,” “How to Steal a Million”] or Fred Zinnemann [“The Nun’s Story”], and the new Hollywood directors of the late 1960s and early 1970s like Peter Bogdanovich [“They All Laughed”] or Steven Spielberg [“Always”]. Did that really make any difference to her, and when she was on the set, did she ever need any direction?

Yes and no, that’s the amazing part. I was fortunate to work with her on “They All Laughed” [1981], so I saw her at work first-hand. Some actors need to get the first couple of takes to get going as a sort of warm-up to the scene. My mother was already a print on take one: the first and the second take were simply extraordinary. Peter Bogdanovich talked about that and about [Ms. Hepburn’s co-star] Ben Gazzara. He’d get good around take four or five, and the problem was that she was already good on the first or second take, so she didn’t need any more. And Bogdanovich ended up using that first or second take. Gazarra wasn’t really good in that movie, as he would have been better a couple of takes later, but Bogdanovich preferred to use my mother’s better performance. Maybe that was a problem for the film, which has become a kind of a cult movie, but at the time, it wasn’t understood. The Audrey Hepburn audience was getting older then; if the film has any redeeming qualities or value, it is probably because it’s a nouvelle vague film and might have appealed better to a younger audience, but it wasn’t marketed that way. It was tested in retirement communities in Florida, where old Jewish people in their eighties were asking after seeing the film, ‘Why? Why?’ They didn’t understand the point of the film. They wanted to see the same Audrey Hepburn like when she was 23. So it was not a very clever approach to marketing the film. But on the set, my mother was a real pro, always ready.

How did Steven Spielberg react when your mother agreed to appear in “Always” [1989]?

I don’t know. I only met him years later after my mother had passed away: his children were in the same primary school in Santa Monica as my daughter was. When we met, he told me that my mother was a very special woman, but we didn’t get to talk about what it meant to him to work with her. Did you ever see his film “Schindler’s List” [1993]? In the film, at one point, you see the train station where they’re loading up all the people on the trains, and there is a little girl with a red coat. She pops out in the middle of a dreary, almost black and white and unsaturated background. This comes from a story my mother told him during the filming of “Always.” She told him she remembered how all of these people were being loaded on the trains, and at some point, she saw a little girl wearing a red coat. She never forgot that; it stayed with her her entire life. The color suddenly made it all real… it could have been her. So he remembered and put it in the movie—what a nice touch.

Audrey Hepburn, Always
Audrey Hepburn, playing an angel, with Richard Dreyfuss, in her final film “Always” (1989), directed by Steven Spielberg | Film Talk Archive

Did your career in films work out the way you had hoped it would?

I worked for fifteen years in production from when I finished school until my mother passed away [1978-1993]. Then I was faced with the decision of whether I should continue. I was starting to develop my own ideas for production. She was only 63 when she passed away, a lot of people were shocked, and we felt that the minimum we could do was to continue her humanitarian work. That’s something we felt she would have very much appreciated. So I started to take care of the protection of her name and likeness, as well as the Foundation and her work. From that point, film became some sort of a hobby for me. There’s a wonderful mini-series that I made a few years ago in Australia called “Cloudstreet” [2010], based on a sort of sacred Australian novel “Cloudstreet” [1991] by Tim Winton; it was the biggest mini-series at the time made for television in Australia. The book is now required reading in schools in Australia. It was a love project that I worked very hard on, and it’s one of the few ones I worked on since I left the film business. It’s a very beautiful piece, and I’m very proud of it.

When you first started working in pictures, what was your first impression?

One of the first things I realized was that it was going to be very tough for me because people started with a preconception: my mother and father were famous, and they thought that if I was in any position or job, I was probably there because I had ‘connections’ of some nature. Interestingly, both of my parents were completely self-made, and they always insisted that I make my own way. You know, when I did “They All Laughed,” my mother had put me in touch with Peter Bogdanovich, and I started working on the film before she accepted to do the role. Maybe they offered me the job as production assistant, hoping that she would come on the film—which ultimately she did. Very often, when I did interviews, people told me, ‘This is below you, you’re applying for the assistant director or first assistant director, you should be directing or producing.’ I always said to them, ‘Well, no, I am learning the business.’ People were sort of embarrassed in a way that I was out there like everybody else, trying to get jobs. To them, it seemed like an awkward situation. But because of all the languages I speak, I worked a lot in Mexico and did as much non-union films as I did union pictures at the time. People took me on location because of the languages and my location experience. Making a film at home is one thing, but when you’re in another country, things are a little bit rougher, so that was always sort of my specialty. If you look on IMDB at what I did, I would say that about 25 to 30 percent of my résumé is not on there, for the simple reason that I was hired either as a script doctor or I would come in to fix one situation or another. Then you get paid, but you don’t get credit because people don’t want to lose face, or there are certain ‘contractual obligations.’ You’re bound by a non-disclosure agreement not to disclose what you’re working on. That is mostly for creative work—a script doctor and so forth. It makes for a very nice living, although certainly not on a level like Oliver Stone or Goldman, who are the greatest script doctors in Hollywood of the last thirty to forty years. They have fixed films that very few people know about; in the industry, they do, but on the outside, they don’t. They are responsible for reworking problem scripts for big sums of money. I did the same thing in a much smaller and humble way with small independent films.

What did you learn from your days in the film industry?

I learned a lot from my mother and from the directors I worked for because the nature of the business is so intense. The basic systems of all businesses are the same: it’s production. If you have to build a house, it’s a very similar kind of development and planning. But because our business is so expensive, you learn a lot about getting it done under the gun. So our crews are mostly very professional, the people who do the work, like electricians, they’re better paid than in any other business. Electricians in the movie business make $2,000 to $3,000 a week. I don’t think the electrician who comes to your house makes that kind of money. Why? Because they’re the best, the most capable, they work long hours, they have to be away from home. So I learned a lot from them. But the thing in the end that teaches you the most is the difficulty in life. The greatest friend that you have is the hard times that you’re faced with, the difficulties, and the things you have to overcome. They teach you how to dig down and really find yourself. And your partner in life is incredibly crucial.

They All Laughed cast
The cast of “They All Laughed”: Colleen Camp, Blaine Novak, Patti Hansen, Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, John Ritter, Dorothy Stratten (who died at age 20, only a few weeks after the production wrapped up), and George Morfogen | Film Talk Archive

Without getting too much into legal terms such as royalties, or publicity rights, personal rights, celebrity rights, could you pick out one thing you had to do to protect her image, after your mother had passed away?

We trademarked her name, signature, and image in every jurisdiction in the world, so it can’t be misappropriated for commercial reasons. This limits the big companies from taking her image and likeness. But there probably isn’t a single hair salon in the world in which you won’t see a picture of her in “Roman Holiday” with her short haircut—those kinds of things you have to live with. But we have two, three dozen lawsuits going every year for medium to important unauthorized use of her name and likeness or ‘piracy.’

What is the difference between the Audrey Hepburn Estate and the Audrey Hepburn Foundation?

The Estate is a name that my brother and I gave to our ownership of the intellectual property rights. The Foundation is a non-profit that we created to operate in the world of social and non-profit world. At the same time, I created very early on the Memorial Fund at UNICEF. As it grew, it became a project called All Children in School and ultimately became the Audrey Hepburn Society, the big donor club of the US Fund for UNICEF. It certainly has been a full-time job for me for the past twenty years. A couple of years ago, my brother wanted to become more involved, so I stepped away from the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, I was its founder and chairman. He became its chairman. We also had just started the Audrey Hepburn Society for the US Fund for UNICEF, and I became its Chair. It has raised over a $140,000,000 over the past five years. So yes, we have a full office, with lawyers, assistants, licensing directors, executive directors for the Fund, bookkeepers, etc. We’re like a small company, and we have agents and law firms all over the world.

Do you also go to Africa, like your mother did, to see which projects UNICEF supports?

The part of the non-profit, which involves Africa and developing countries, we leave it to UNICEF. The Audrey Hepburn Society is within the US Fund for UNICEF. The money goes directly to them; we don’t put any prerequisites on the funding. They’re free to use it for any kind of emergency they wish to. The money that comes from the Audrey Hepburn’s Children Fund, we have a series of projects in America, in Latin America, more sort of grass-roots approach closer to home, a variety of projects that go from child abuse, nutrition, scholastic support, all kinds of projects. It was originally created to function in the world of non-profit and for us to interface with UNICEF.

Mr. Ferrer speaking at UNICEF’s Snowflake Ball charity event gala in New York

You are also involved in other charity causes, aren’t you?

I am. My mother died of a very rare type of cancer. EURORDIS, which is the European Organisation for Rare Diseases, approached me four years ago and asked me if I wanted to be their first ambassador. It was an appointment that would last a year, and I would be their ambassador for Rare Disease Day, which is a day across the world where the plight of people suffering from rare diseases is brought to the foreground. There are 4,000 to 6,000 rare diseases, and a rare disease is something that touches less than one in 2,000 people. My mother died from a cancer that touches only one in a million people. We believe that over 60 million people are suffering from a variety of rare diseases in Europe and North America; that number goes up to about 200 million globally. So together, they’re quite a force to be reckoned with, and half of those diseases are genetic. They affect children—and therefore very much in line with what we do—but originally, the appointment was really to use my mother’s name and to celebrate her and the fact that she had suffered from a rare disease. Very often, people think of rare diseases as of something very weird, so it was an opportunity to make the cause more mainstream. They were never able to find someone to replace me, so here I am in my fourth year, still their ambassador, and that’s why I go to Brussels every year. We now have created a circle of ambassadors—people from the business, medical field, and so forth—so I will do it for one more year, and by then, I suppose someone will take over. You know, when my mother passed away, I asked myself, ‘Do I want to continue living and working in Hollywood, or continue her work on her behalf?’ I made a nice living working in pictures—by no means millions of dollars—but for a young man, I had a very carefree life, I had a new car whenever I wanted, and traveled a lot. But I made the decision because there was never that magic moment… that wink between the movie business and me. Success in the industry is a combination of many factors, but there’s also the timing, the luck, being in the right place at the right time. I never went to the right parties; the business was changing and relationships were playing a very important role. I was offered at one point to join a big agency… to become an agent, but I didn’t have the heart for that. So I left the business when my mother passed away and devoted myself to her work. That was to me much more important than to produce a few more films—and then what? I wasn’t going to make movies that would change the world; it’s maybe like my mother knew that when she couldn’t be the best prima ballerina, so she decided to be the best at something else. I decided I would try my chance at doing something good, so maybe genetically, that’s something we have in our family. If I couldn’t do one thing that well, then maybe I could do something else, and I’m glad I did. I started the protection and the care of her image; there was really very little going with respect to the legacy management, and licensing. There were no agents, it was really the very beginning. The arena was pretty open. Elizabeth Taylor had started her work for her AIDS Foundation, which was terribly important, but at that time, there wasn’t really much of this celebrity relationship between socially relevant work and Hollywood. And so I think I caught the train at the right time; I’m glad I did, and it became a success.

Do you have any plans to return to filmmaking?

There are a few projects that I still have a desire to make, but very much like when I wrote my book, people told me, ‘You’re a wonderful writer.’ Then I say, ‘No, I’m not a writer because I’m not a book writer.’ It took me three years to write it. A real writer is someone who gets an order for a newspaper article to write the night before, and the following day it’s in the newspaper. You’re on a schedule and within a time frame; those are the real writers of the world, people who do it as a job every day. But could anyone else write such a spiritual biography about her? Probably not the way I did, because I knew her so well and I was so close to her. Of this handful of film projects I’ve been considering, I might probably be the director for one or two of them, but I have my doubts about directing any of the other films. You live with something, and you have it in your head, but at the same time, I have been out of the movie business for twenty years now, so I’m not sure I should go back. There are many people and who can do a much better job than I.

“Audrey Hepburn” (1996), written by Barry Paris, is the only official biography approved by Ms. Hepburn’s family. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, New York

There have been published many biographies about your mother; you just said you don’t think of yourself as a writer, but would you ever consider writing a book about your mother with the little stories, behind-the-scenes at home, things nobody else knows, and undoubtedly will create a very fascinating picture of her?

That’s difficult to say. It’s not in my nature, really. My daughter Emma and I are considering doing something together about her style … her fashion. But anecdotes, no, that’s not in my style, and not in my mother’s style. The Barry Paris biography pretty much sets the facts straight, so that’s the official biography. We collaborated with him, and it’s the most well-researched. This is the only real one. Actually, we’ve talked with him about offering his and my book as a sort of companion books, as a sort of package on Amazon, because he tells the historical part, her life story, while I talk about the spiritual side.

Is there anything of your mother that you recognize in your daughter?

Yes. You know, the ability to act is genetic. That’s the truth. My daughter has it; ever since she was a little girl, she was a comedian. She has that special quality, and she’s now taking acting classes in New York—a teacher at Stella Adler. She’s really a painter and also does a little modeling to pay the rent, and now she’s managed by my really good friend Alan Nevins. I wouldn’t encourage her to become an actress; it’s not something you can encourage anyone to do. It either happens, or it doesn’t, and with it comes a responsibility, a life that is different from anyone else’s.

Was it emotionally difficult for you to sell your mother’s house, La Paisible, in Tolochenaz, Switzerland, where she lived most of the time from 1963 until she passed away?

No, because we didn’t go after the most or the highest-paying client. Several people were interested, but this one family, in particular, came to us. They were friends, and they had one little boy who had palsy and was in a wheelchair. We thought that would be the right thing: this garden that she loved so much would play a very important part in his life, and we felt that would be a good thing. He ended up in my room, and what used to be my second closet became the elevator. We were there with the BBC last summer. We did a piece and shot in Buergenstock [where Ms. Hepburn lived with her husband Mel Ferrer from 1954 to 1963] and then went down to Tolochenaz and shot in the garden. I rang the bell; the lady was there, we said hello and hugged. My wife got to see the house as well; nothing had changed much. When I am there, and I go there regularly, I always go to her grave. I take the train to Morges, and there I get a taxi to Tolochenaz. The last time the taxi driver asked me, ‘Where are you going to? Are you going to the cemetery?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Ah, you’re going to see the grave of Miss Hepburn?’ I only said, ‘Yes.’ I didn’t say anything else; I didn’t tell him who I was. He told me how amazing it is that so many people go up there every day. In the summer, he and his associates do sixty, seventy trips a day. That’s in addition to the tour busses with people from all over the world that stop in front of the house and go to the cemetery. So that’s hundreds of people per day that visit this little town of 500 people. That’s a lot of people passing through. One of the first things we did after she passed away was turning a low, old school building in Tolochenaz into a pavilion, the Audrey Hepburn Pavilion, a mini-exhibit about her. At that time, we put a beautiful bust of her by a wonderful Dutch artist, Kees Verkade, in front of the Pavilion and had an exhibition there until we sold her house. Then we took her things with us, but the bust stayed there a little longer. Years later, my brother met a  lovely Irish painter and sculptor who did another piece that’s now on the square of Tolochenaz. I’m not too crazy about it; it’s a little too realistic for my taste. I prefer the bust we had in front of the Pavilion, which is more serious, maybe even somber: it’s not just the movie star, it’s also the woman who saw millions of children starve and die. Meanwhile, I’d been in conversation with the city hall of Elsene [Ixelles, Ms. Hepburn’s birthplace near Brussels] to do something on the little square in front of the old Solvay factory—’Styx le Cinema’ which you know, I’m sure—which is converted into a shopping center, parking, and office space. As soon as the square is completed, I’m going to install the statue there [the one which originally was in front of the Pavilion], as a gift to the city of Elsene. They will also put a new plaque on the house where she was born, so we’ll have something very meaningful and very nice in her birthplace. The bust is already in Brussels. It’s been at least twenty years now since they first put up a plaque on the house where she was born, but whenever they had put it up, people kept stealing it all the time. Now it’s installed higher up. I suppose one day, one of those old plaques will turn up in an auction.

Ms. Hepburn’s home La Paisible from 1963 to 1993 in Tolochenaz, Switzerland | Leo/Film Talk

Do you still have a lot of your mother’s memorabilia?

I kept everything after she passed away. Very often in Hollywood, the family sells everything after the person dies within six months or a year. We didn’t. We did exhibits, and we now have a clear understanding of what the things we may need in the future for exhibits are; we also have a lot of material that is just sitting in storage, including lots of photographs, and we’re considering maybe having an auction. Not an Elizabeth Taylor kind of an auction, but maybe at the other end of the scale, a very democratic auction, where a young girl who would love to have something, can buy a silk flower my mother wore in her hair for €150 or €200. That would be the spirit of it. Photographs probably are worth something more. Hubert de Givenchy [Oscar-winning costume designer who frequently worked with Ms. Hepburn on her films] donated dresses to the Foundation, which may be exhibited in time. The auction will probably be in London.

I always thought you gave a very beautiful speech at the Oscar ceremony when you accepted her honorary Oscar on her behalf.

I was a young boy then, only 33 years old. I think the speech that I read at the church, the day of her funeral, which I basically reread and added some things that she had said, at the end of my book, is something that I also like very much.

Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn’s co-star of “Roman Holiday,” talking about her life and legacy, and presenting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Sean Hepburn Ferrer on March 29, 1993, two months after Ms. Hepburn had passed away.

When you lived in Tolochenaz, were you close with the Chaplin family who lived nearby?

No, not really. I think my mother and my father were when they were living there. But I didn’t grew up with the Chaplins. We were closer with Hollywood families like Gregory Peck’s. As a teenager, I spent the summers in California. We were also very close with Jimmy Stewart and Billy Wilder, who was an amazing storyteller. Noël Coward and Peter Ustinov came to the house regularly. Of course, once I went back to school and we had a little place in Gstaad, other people dropped by as well, like Roger Moore. But I don’t know anybody of the Chaplin family.

I met Gregory Peck once in Brussels in 1986, and I had asked him which questions he gets asked the most. He told me those questions were about “Roman Holiday” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” [1962].

From my point of view, I think “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a tremendously valuable, and on a humanitarian and social level, probably the most important film of the 20th century. It’s beautifully made, beautifully acted, and the contents are ideally what every film should be about.

That’s right, but I think that in every film your mother made—except maybe for “The Children’s Hour” [1961] and “Wait Until Dark” [1967], because of the nature of those films—every man or woman, every boy or girl could easily identify himself or herself with the character she played. Not only because of the part she played, but also because of what she always brought to the part.

And yet, there are people who believe she was a celebrity, but not a good actress. If you didn’t do “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” you weren’t a good actress, you know, one of those parts where you come apart at the seems.

Did anyone ever tell you that?

Yes, to my face. A woman came into the Foundation office in New York one day, and she said, ‘Your mother was Audrey Hepburn, right?’ I said, ‘Yes, and she did a lot of humanitarian work at the end of her life.’ She said, ‘I know, I know. You know, she was a nice woman, but not a very good actress. You realize that, don’t you?’ That’s exactly what she told me. So I listened to her, and then I said, ‘Thank you so much for coming, lovely to meet you.’ That was it. You know, people are desperate for something to say, and also, maybe they just don’t see it. They look, but they don’t see. By reading the historical journals of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, when they first arrived off the coast of Hispaniola, which is the Dominic Republic today, they parked a few miles off the beach and waited to see what was going on. They didn’t know where they had arrived, or who was there. One of the captains looking through the telescope said that the people just looked out at sea and acted normally as if nothing was there. It wasn’t like, ‘Look at that!’—or whatever. It was later understood that they had no reference point: they had never seen a sail, or that kind of a boat, or anything that looked like that. And so, therefore, they couldn’t see it. They actually couldn’t see it. So, maybe, depending on what your mental frame is, maybe this woman just didn’t see it.

Audrey Hepburn, Robin and Marian (1976) starring Sean Connery
Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, and director Richard Lester between takes on the set of “Robin and Marian” (1976) | Film Talk Archive

Whenever your mother appeared on the screen, she set very high standards for herself, didn’t she?

She set those high standards because of who she was, so whether she was making flower arrangements, or cooking pasta, or acting—that was who she was. That comes from her professionalism; at her level it was also a form of respect. And as much as people had said that they admired her as an actress, as many people I met in my career when I was working in Hollywood, and who had worked with her, they always told me, ‘Your mother was the first one on the set, always on time, she never made anybody wait, she always said thank you’—things like that. And this, I heard over and over and over again. She talked about that. The first time she put me on the plane to Korea to work for Terence Young on “Inchon” [1980], she said, ‘Everybody is expendable and replaceable. So don’t ever believe otherwise. Treat that job as if it’s your last job and the most important one.’ So that respect for the craft and the professionalism was real. She did say that there was a period of time when she was uncomfortable. She was offered “The Turning Point” [1977], the part which Anne Bancroft took instead. We talked about it with Uncle Mel [Ms. Bancroft’s husband, Mel Brooks], he always wanted to be called Uncle Mel. He said, “Your mother and my wife are very similar kinds of ladies, so from now on, I’m Uncle Mel.’ A funny and brilliant man. She was also offered “Out of Africa” [1985]. She turned them both down because she felt too young to be the grandmother and too old to be the love interest. But those were two pretty good roles if you ask me. Her personal life at that time was such that she didn’t feel strong enough to go out there. Although I was able to convince her to do “Robin and Marian” [1976], when she really had to get out of the house. Her marriage with Andrea Dotti was a disaster. She was destroyed; she was either going to stay in bed and cry herself to sleep every day, or get on with it. And she really hung on as much as she could. The crime that man did to my mother, he didn’t do it over one day. He did it over ten years. In the beginning when she was pregnant, when she found out when they were separated, when she tried again, hoping to save the marriage… They were married in 1969 and in the spring of 1978, I came home; I was doing the baccalaureate, that’s when you get to spend the last three months studying at home. When I came home, I found her in bed, and she had taken a bunch of sleeping pills. Dreadful. He killed the marriage every day for ten years. The effect on my mother was absolutely devastating. When I was going to school in Switzerland in 1974, they were already leading basically separate lives. But she still had hopes, she still hoped that it would work out.

Your mother was obviously a very strong woman.

She was like an iron fist in a velvet glove. She was a self-made woman, a single mom for many years, and she did it out of nothing. She did it with tremendous inner strength. What you learn from ballet… those people are tough. Ballet dancers are tough people, never forget that. The training is so rigorous; you have no idea.

You’ve lived in several countries, and are residing in Italy now. Would you consider yourself Italian?

No. I used to take great pride in my American citizenship. But I have a serious problem with what’s going on there right now—a serious problem. Like I had a serious problem when Mr. George Bush, Jr., was re-elected, I decided at the time that a change of scenery would be a good thing. My daughter was a teen and started to hang around with the rich kids in Los Angeles, so in 2005 we moved here [Tuscany, Italy]. I never regretted it for a second, but I’m not Italian. Maybe I’m more Spanish than Italian because I have very strong Spanish roots. I can get the Spanish nationality if I wish. Since I was born in Switzerland, I could also become a Swiss citizen; Switzerland is a neutral country, even though they were a little too neutral for their own good during the war, but my mother was very happy there for two thirds of her life. Maybe I’ll go back there. Who knows, I might give up my American nationality altogether; that’s how strongly I feel about it. I spent 25 years of my life there, which is more than half of my adult life, but in America, the lack of culture is such that people actually believe that what they see on television is real. They have no ability to separate Schwarzenegger from Trump… basically.

How did you learn to speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian?

I was just fortunate. We spoke English at home, my mother insisted that as a young man, I’d read Time and Newsweek after she had read it, and we watched movies and TV in English. My education at school was in French, and I traveled a lot as a young man, visiting my mother on the set, seeing my father on the holidays, going to Spain, so that helped a lot. Portuguese came later because of friends and work. When I was growing up with my father in Spain, my best friend was from Brazil, so I was exposed to Portuguese.

In “Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen” (2015), Luca Dotti, Mr. Ferrer’s younger brother, looks back at life with his mother, with a special focus on her cooking skills. Published by HarperCollins, New York, New York

Would you say that film actors, actresses, or film stars, are famous people?

I don’t think the word famous really applies to people. It may apply to sayings, places, or art, I think. But I don’t think people are famous. There’s something permanent about it, while people are temporary. You can be well-known and stay well-known, no matter what people think of you. There’s an appreciative quality to the word famous, which I think is maybe the wrong adjective. Once you’re well-known, you realize that everybody else who is, is there just like you by accident. It’s not based on merits. It takes so many things to create a well-known person. It includes, of course, fortune, timing and a lot of things you have no control over. There have been many wonderful actors who didn’t get to be famous, there are scientists that nobody knows but who have created things that turned out to be terribly important. The Italian man who created the original algorithm for Google got paid $25,000 to do it. So it’s a mixture of things that make people well-known, and when you get to be there, or when you get to be around them, they are just the same as everybody else. Some of them behave well, others not so well [laughs]. I had fun doing a TV movie once with Robert Mitchum [“One Shoe Makes It Murder,” 1982]. They gave him to me to sort of ‘take care of.’ He started drinking the minute the sun went down. He had a little apartment in Beverly Hills, which had not been redecorated since the 1940s; it looked like a set from one of the gumshoe films of his. I used to take him there at night and drop him off. He always said to me, ‘Just lay me on the bed, and slip the script under one arm and a bottle of Evian under the other. I’ll wake up early, study my lines, and you be here at 6 o’clock in the morning.’ And that’s what I did every morning; he was out there walking around, having his first cigarette of the day, waiting for me to pick him up and take him to the set. What a character, he was something else. He really was from another time, I’m telling you. Made of a different material altogether. So they’re all just people like you and I. And if you became well-known, you would still be yourself. If you meet legendary people, you never meet an alien, but you do meet a person who had wonderful moments that touched the divine, but that doesn’t mean that they became divine themselves. You know, I have been an assistant director, and that’s something you can only do for so many years. Not only because of the long hours of production but mostly because you are exposed to actors. And you don’t want to be exposed to actors for more than fifteen or twenty years of your life because it will kill you. And it’s always the B-minus and the B plus who behave the worst, and the superstars mostly… behave like princes. The really well-known people are nice. Charlie Sheen was an A-plus and he behaved so badly that he became a B-minus. It’s all not that important that people can afford to misbehave. That’s my bottom line, you know. But it’s easy for me to say: my mother is still the princess of Hollywood. I don’t think she has been dethroned yet. She wasn’t the highest-paid or the most whatever, but she’s still number one—anywhere—in her own category. And she survived most of her peers. She even survived most recent stars like Julia Roberts or Michelle Pfeiffer, who were her favorite actresses at the time. Here’s a cute story: Julia Roberts was dating Daniel Day-Lewis at the time, and we asked Julia to receive the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award [1993] for my mother, who was already sick. She did and sent it and asked if she could have an autographed picture. So I got it from my mother, put it in the FedEx, and sent it to Julia. But they broke up a few weeks later, and then we got letters from both of them, ‘We never received that photograph from Miss Hepburn.’ And I got a copy of the FedEx invoice; the photograph was delivered, and then she passed away. Both of them were so crazy about my mother that one of them took the photograph and didn’t tell the other one, and they both acted like, ‘I didn’t do it!’ Pretty cute…

On January 20, 1990, Gregory Peck presented Ms. Hepburn the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes ceremony in Los Angeles.

Finally, Billy Wilder, who directed your mother in two screen classics, was he in real life as humorous and as sharp as his screenplays and his films always suggested?

Absolutely. I saw him regularly. My mother often stayed with a friend of her’s, Connie Wald [1916-2012], when she was in Los Angeles. She was the widow of a famous producer, Jerry Wald [1911-1962]. She was sort of the grand dame of Beverly Hills, and so my mother met with her when she came to Los Angeles, and all the friends would gather, have dinner on Sunday night, and so on. Everybody who was someone in Los Angeles would come through and be introduced… initiated… and it was a wonderful place where you had writers, directors and producers from her time as well as younger people. If you take the A list of the 1950s and 1960s, and later the 1970s and 1980s, they were all there at one point. And Billy showed up very often, and he would tell these wonderful stories, filled with humor and irony.

Florence, Italy
November 16, 2016



NEDERLANDS IN ZEVEN LESSEN, a.k.a. DUTCH IN SEVEN LESSONS (1948) DIR Charles Huguenot van der Linden, Heinz Josephson PROD Charles Huguenot van der Linden, Heinz Josephson, Harold Goodwin, George Julsing, Jack Dudok van Heel SCR Charles Huguenot van der Linden, Heinz Josephson CAM Peter Staugaard, Piet Schrikker ED Rita Roland CAST Sanny Day, Pia Beck, Wam Heskes, Greet Vogels, Koes Koen, Audrey Hepburn (KLM Stewardess), A. Viruly

ONE WILD OAT (1951) DIR Charles Saunders PROD John Croydon SCR Vernon Sylvaine, Lawrence Huntingdon (play by Vernon Sylvaine) CAM Robert Navarro ED Margery Saunders MUS Stanley Black CAST Robert Hare, Stanley Holloway, Vera Pearce, Andrew Crawford, Irene Handl, June Sylvaine, Constance Lorne, Audrey Hepburn (Hotel Receptionist), Roger Moore

LAUGHTER IN PARADISE (1951) DIR – PROD Mario Zampi SCR Jack Davies, Michael Pertwee (story by Jack Davies, Michael Pertwee) CAM William McLeod ED Guilio Zampi MUS Stanley Black CAST Fay Compton, George Cole, Alastair Sim, John Laurie, Joyce Grenfell, Beatrice Campbell, Guy Middleton, Hugh Griffith, Audrey Hepburn (Cigarette Girl), Sebastian Cabot

THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (1951) DIR Charles Crichton PROD Michael Balcon SCR T.E.B. Clarke CAM Douglas Slocombe ED Seth Holt MUS Georges Auric CAST Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass, Marjorie Fielding, Edie Martin, Audrey Hepburn (Chiquita), Robert Shaw

YOUNG WIVES’ TALE (1951) DIR Henry Cass PROD Victor Skutezky SCR Anne Burnaby (play by Ronald Jeans) CAM Erwin Hillier ED Edward B. Jarvis MUS Philip Green CAST Joan Greenwood, Nigel Patrick, Derek Farr, Guy Middleton, Athene Seyler, Helen Cherry, Audrey Hepburn (Eve Lester), Irene Handl

SECRET PEOPLE (1952) DIR Thorold Dickinson PROD Sidney Cole SCR Thorold Dickinson, Wolfgang Wilhelm (story by Thorold Dickinson) CAM Gordon Dines ED Peter Tanner MUS Roberto Gerhard CAST Valentina Cortese, Serge Reggiani, Charles Goldner, Audrey Hepburn (Nora), Angela Fouldes, Megs Jenkins, Irene Worth, Bob Monkhouse

MONTE CARLO BABY, a.k.a. NOUS IRONS TOUS À MONTE CARLO (1952) DIR Jean Boyer, Jean Jerrold PROD Ray Ventura SCR Jean Boyer, Alex Joffé, Jean Jerrold, Serge Véber CAM Charles Suin ED Fanchette  Mazin MUS Paul Misraki CAST Ray Ventura, Henri Génès, Georges Lannes, Philippe Lemaire, Danielle Godet, John Van Dreelen, Audrey Hepburn (Linda Farrell / Melissa Farrell), Marcel Dalio, Suzanne Guémard, André Dalibert

ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) DIR – PROD William Wyler SCR Dalton Trumbo, John Dighton, Ian McLellan Hunter CAM Frank F. Planer, Henri Alekan ED Robert Swink MUS Georges Auric CAST Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Rawlings, Tullio Carminati

SABRINA (1954) DIR – PROD Billy Wilder SCR Billy Wilder, Samuel A. Taylor, Ernest Lehman (play by Samuel A. Taylor) CAM Charles Lang Jr. ED Arthur P. Schmidt MUS Frederick Hollander CAST Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina Fairchild), William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams, Martha Hyer, Joan Vohs, Marcel Dalio, Frances X. Bushman, Marion Ross

WAR AND PEACE (1956) DIR King Vidor PROD Dino De Laurentiis SCR Mario Soldati, Gian Gaspare Napolitano (adaptation by King Vidor, Mario Camerini, Bridget Boland, Ivo Perilli, Robert Westerby, Ennio De Concini; novel by Leo Tolstoy) CAM Jack Cardiff ED Leo Cattozzo MUS Nino Rota CAST Audrey Hepburn (Natasha Rostova), Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, Vittorio Gassman, Herbert Lom, Oskar Homolka, Anita Ekberg, Helmut Dantine, John Mills

FUNNY FACE (1957) DIR Stanley Donen PROD Roger Edens SCR Leonard Gershe CAM Ray June ED Frank Bracht MUS George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Leonard Gershe, Roger Edens CAST Audrey Hepburn (Jo Stockton), Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair, Robert Flemyng, Dovima, Suzy Parker, Sunny Harnett

LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957) DIR – PROD Billy Wilder SCR Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond (novel ‘Ariane’ by Claude Anet) CAM William C. Mellor ED Leonid Azar MUS Franz Waxman CAST Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn (Ariane Chavasse), Maurice Chevalier, John McGiver, Van Doude, Lise Bourdin, Olga Valéry, Franz Waxman, Louis Jourdan (narration)

GREEN MANSIONS (1959) DIR Mel Ferrer PROD Edmund Grainger SCR Dorothy Kingsley (novel by William Henry Hudson) CAM Joseph Ruttenberg ED Ferris Webster MUS Bronislau Kaper CAST Audrey Hepburn (Rima), Anthony Perkins, Lee J. Cobb, Sessue Hayakawa, Henry Silva, Nehemiah Persoff

THE NUN’S STORY (1959) DIR Fred Zinnemann PROD Henry Blanke, Fred Zinnemann [uncredited] SCR Robert Anderson (book by Kathryn C Hulme) CAM Franz F. Planer MUS Franz Waxman ED Walter Thompson CAST Audrey Hepburn (Gabrielle van der Mal [Sister Luke]), Peter Finch, Dame Edith Evans, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Dean Jagger, Mildred Dunnock, Beatrice Straight, Colleen Dewhurst

THE UNFORGIVEN (1960) DIR John Huston PROD James Hill SCR Ben Maddow (novel by Alan LeMay) CAM Franz F. Planer ED Russell Lloyd MUS Dimitri Tiomkin CAST Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn (Rachel Zachary), Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Charles Bickford, Lillian Gish, Albert Salmi

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961) DIR Blake Edwards PROD Martin Jurow, Richard Shepherd SCR George Axelrod (novel by Truman Capote) CAM Franz F. Planer ED Howard A. Smith MUS Henry Mancini CAST Audrey Hepburn (Holly Golightly), George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, John McGiver, Mickey Rooney

THE CHILDREN’S HOUR (1961) DIR – PROD William Wyler SCR John Michael Hayes (play by Lillian Hellman) CAM Franz F. Planer ED Robert Swink MUS Alex North CAST Audrey Hepburn (Karen Wright), Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Karen Balkin, Veronica Cartwright

CHARADE (1963) DIR – PROD Stanley Donen SCR Peter Stone (story by Peter Stone, Marc Behm) CAM Charles Lang Jr. ED James Clark MUS Henry Mancini CAST Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn (Regina Lampert), Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, Stanley Donen, Mel Ferrer, Peter Stone

PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES (1964) DIR Richard Quine PROD George Axelrod SCR George Axelrod (story ‘La fête à Henriette’ by Julien Duvivier, Henri Jeanson) CAM Charles Lang Jr., Claude Renoir ED Archie Marshek MUS Nelson Riddle CAST William Holden, Audrey Hepburn (Gabrielle Simpson / Gaby), Grégoire Aslan, Raymond Duvaleix, Michel Thomas, Noël Coward, Tony Curtis, Mel Ferrer

MY FAIR LADY (1964) DIR George Cukor PROD Jack L. Warner SCR Alan Jay Lerner (book by Alan Jay Lerner; play by George Bernard Shaw) CAM Harry Stardling Sr. ED William H. Ziegler MUS André Previn CAST Audrey Hepburn (Eliza Doolittle), Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel, Mona Washbourne, Betty Blythe

HOW TO STEAL A MILLION (1966) DIR William Wyler PROD Fred Kohlmar SCR Harry Kurnitz (story by George Bradshaw) CAM Charles Lang ED Robert Swink MUS Johnny Williams CAST Audrey Hepburn (Nicole), Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith, Charles Boyer, Fernand Gravey, Marcel Dalio, Jacques Marin

TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967) DIR – PROD Stanley Donen SCR Frederic Raphael CAM Christopher Challis ED Richard Marden, Madelèine Gug MUS Henry Mancini CAST Audrey Hepburn (Joanna Wallace), Albert Finney, William Daniels, Eleanor Bron, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Grey, George Descrieres, Gabrielle Middleton, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967) DIR Terence Young PROD Mel Ferrer SCR Richard Carrington, Jane-Howard Carrington (play by Frederick Knott) CAM Charles Lang ED Gene Milford MUS Henry Mancini CAST Audrey Hepburn (Susy Hendrix), Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Jack Weston, Robby Benson, Mel Ferrer

ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) DIR Richard Lester PROD Denis O’Dell SCR James Goldman CAM David Watkin ED John Victor Smith MUS John Barry CAST Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn (Maid Marian), Robert Shaw, Richard Harris, Nicol Williamson, Denholm Elliott, Ian Holm

BLOODLINE (1979) DIR Terence Young PROD Sidney Beckerman, David V. Picker SCR Laird Koenig (novel by Sidney Sheldon) CAM Freddie Young ED Bud Molin MUS Ennio Morricone CAST Audrey Hepburn (Elizabeth Roffe), Ben Gazzara, James Mason, Romy Schneider, Omar Sharif, Claudia Mori, Irene Papas, Michelle Philips, Maurice Ronet, Gert Fröbe, Gabrielle Ferzetti

THEY ALL LAUGHED (1981) DIR Peter Bogdanovich PROD Blaine Novak, George Morfogen SCR Peter Bogdanovich, Blaine Novak CAM Robby Müller ED Scott Vickrey, William C. Carruth CAST Audrey Hepburn (Angela Niotes), Ben Gazzara, John Ritter, Dorothy Stratten, Patti Hansen, Blaine Novak, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Glenn Scarpelli, Antonia Bogdanovich, Alexandra Bogdanovich, Elizabeth Peña, Peter Bogdanovich

ALWAYS (1989) DIR Steven Spielberg PROD Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy SCR Dalton Trumbo, Jerry Belson, Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (story ‘A Guy Named Joe’ by Chandler Sprague, David Boehm) CAM Mikael Salomon ED Michael Kahn MUS John Williams CAST Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson, Audrey Hepburn (Hap), Roberts Blossom, Keith David, Marg Helgenberger


SAUCE TARTARE (1949) DIR Audrey Cameron PROD Walton Anderson SCR Matt Brooks MUS Allan Gray CAST Jessie Matthews, Claude Hulbert, Renee Houston, Muriel Smith, Jack Melford, Joan Heal, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Bayless

MAYERLING (1957) DIR Anatole Litvak PROD Fred Coe CAST Audrey Hepburn (Maria Vetsera), Mel Ferrer, Raymond Massey, Diana Wynyard

LOVE AMONG THIEVES (1987) DIR Roger Young PROD Robert A. Papzian SCR Stephen Black, Henry Stern CAM Gayne Rescher ED James Mitchell MUS Arthur B. Rubinstein CAST Audrey Hepburn (Baroness Caroline DuLac), Robert Wagner, Patrick Bauchau, Jerry Orbach, Brion James, Samantha Eggar, Christopher Neame


BBC NIGHT THEATRE (1951) DIR William Templeton CAST (episode ‘The Silent Village’) Becket Bould, Peter Bull, Andrew Cruickshank, Audrey Hepburn (Celia), Anthony Ireland, Glyn Lawson, Joyce Redman, Jack Watling



A WORLD OF LOVE (1971, UNICEF documantary special) PROD Alexander Cohen HOSTS Bill Cosby, Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Harry Belafonte

GARDENS OF THE WORLD, PARTS I-VI (1993) DIR Bruce Fanchini PROD Janis Blacksleger HOST Audrey Hepburn; Michael York (narration)



INCHON (1981) DIR Terence Young ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Sidney Beckerman, Mitsuhari Ishii PROD ASSIST Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR Robin Moore, Laird Koenig (story by Robin Moore, Paul Savage) CAM Bruce Surtees ED John W. Holmes, Peter Taylor, Dallas Sunday Puett, Michael J. Sheridan MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Bisset, Ben Gazzara, Toshirô Mifune, Richard Roundtree, David Janssen, Kung-won Nam, Gabriele Ferzetti, Rex Reed, Omar Sharif

THEY ALL LAUGHED (1981) DIR Peter Bogdanovich ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Blaine Novak, George Morfogen SCR Peter Bogdanovich, Blaine Novak CAM Robby Müller ED Scott Vickrey, William C. Carruth CAST Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara, John Ritter, Dorothy Stratten, Patti Hansen, Blaine Novak, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (Jose), Glenn Scarpelli, Antonia Bogdanovich, Alexandra Bogdanovich, Elizabeth Peña, Peter Bogdanovich

STRANGERS KISS (1983) DIR Matthew Chapman ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Douglas Dilge ASSOC PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR Matthew Chapman, Blaine Novak (original idea by Blaine Novak) CAM Misha Suslov MUS Gato Barbieri CAST Peter Coyote, Victoria Tennant, Blaine Novak, Dan Shor, Richard Romanus, Linda Kerridge

GROWING PAINS, a.k.a. BAD MANNERS (1984) DIR Robert Houston ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Kim Jorgenson SCR Robert Houston, Joseph Kwong CAM Jan de Bont  MUS Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Michael J. Lewis CAST Martin Mull, Karen Black, Anne De Salvo, Murphy Dunne, Pamela Adlon, Georg Olden, Michael Hentz, Edy Williams

GOOD TO GO (1986) DIR – SCR Blaine Novak PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Douglas Dilge CAM Peter Sinclair ED Kimberly Logan, Gib Jaffe, D.C. Stringer MUS Billy Goldenberg CAST Art Garfunkel, Robert DoQui, Harris Yulin, Reginald Daughtry, Richard Brooks, Paula Davis, Anjelica Huston

TREASURE OF THE MOON GODDESS (1987) DIR José Luis García Agraz ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Eric Weston, Gerald Green SCR Eric Weston, Asher Brauner (story by J.P. Dutilleux) CAM Tim Ross ED Anthony J. Ciccolini III, Gabrielle Gilbert Reeves MUS Victor O. Hall, Stephen Metz CAST Asher Brauner, Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Joann Ayers, Danny Addis, Eric Weston

IRONWEED (1987) DIR Hector Babenco PROD Marcia Nasatir, Keith Barish ASSOC PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR William Kennedy (also novel) CAM Lauro Escorel ED Anne Goursaud MUS John Morris CAST Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Caroll Baker, Michael O’Keefe, Diane Venora, Fred Gwynne, Tom Waits

OLD GRINGO (1989) DIR Luis Puenzo SUPERVISION 2ND UNIT Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Lois Bonfiglio SCR Luis Puenzo, Aida Bortnik (novel by Carlos Fuentes) CAM Félix Monti ED Glenn Farr, William M. Anderson, Juan Carlos Macías MUS Lee Holdridge CAST Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Smits, Patricio Contreras, Jenny Gago, Gabriela Roel, Sergio Calderón

EYE OF THE WINDOW (1991) DIR Andrew V. McLaglen ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Daniel Carillo EXEC PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR Joshua Sauli (book by Gérard de Villiers) CAM Arthur Wooster ED Luce Grunenwaldt MUS Yvan Jullien, Hubert Rostaing CAST Mike Marshall, Benjamin Feitelson, Richard Young, Paul L. Smith, Elvira Neustaedl, Erwin Strahl, Nabila Khashoggi, Mel Ferrer, F. Murray Abraham, Patrick Macnee

PRETTY HATTIE’S BABY (1991) DIR Ivan Passer PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR Rod McCall (story by Fauna Hodel) CAM Tony Imi ED Christopher Cibelli CAST Alfre Woodard, Charles S. Dutton, Jill Clayburgh, Bobby Hosea, Tess Harper, Alison Elliott

BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT (1993) DIR Taylor Hackford ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Taylor Hackford, Jerry Gershwin SCR Floyd Mutrux, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jeremy Iacone (story by Ross Thomas) CAM Gabriel Beristain ED Fredric Steinkamp, Karl F. Steinkamp MUS Bill Conti CAST Damian Chapa, Jesse Borrego, Banjamin Bratt, Enrique Castillo, Victor Rivers, Delroy Lindo, Tom Towles, Carlos Carrasco, Billy Bob Thornton, Rio Hackford

RACEHOSS (2001) DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer SCR Albert Race Sample


ONE SHOE MAKES IT MURDER (1982) DIR William Hale ASSIST DIR Sean Hepburn Ferrer PROD Mel Ferrer TELEPLAY Felix Culver (novel by Eric Bercovici) CAM Terry K. Meade ED Jerry Young MUS Bruce Broughton CAST Robert Mitchum, Angie Dickinson, Mel Ferrer, José Térez, John Harkins, Howard Hesseman


CLOUDSTREET (2011) DIR Matthew Saville PROD Greg Hadrick, Brenda Pam SCR Tim Winton, Ellen Fontana CAM Mark Wareham ED Geoff Hitchins MUS Byrony Marks CAST Kerry Fox, Geoff Morrell, Stephen Curry, Essie Davis, Helen Doig, David Bowers, Kelton Pell


BIOGRAPHY (1987) SPECIAL THANKS Sean Hepburn Ferrer





AUDREY HEPBURN REMEMBERED (1993) DIR – PROD – SCR Gene Feldman, Suzette Winter CAM Phil Gries ED Richard Harkness CAST (as themselves) Richard Attenborough, Sean Connery, Stanley Donen, Blake Edwards, Mel Ferrer, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Hubert de Givenchy, Henry Mancini, Roger Moore, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Elizabeth Taylor, Connie Wald, Billy Wilder, Robert Wolders

HOLLYWOOD LEGENDEN (2004) DIR Eckhart Schmidt CAST (as themselves) Peter Bogdanovich, Ray Bradbury, Jeff Bridges, Tony Curtis, Angie Dickinson, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Richard Fleischer, Tippi Hedren, Rock Hudson, Danny Huston, Samuel L. Jackson, Jerry Lewis, Lora Luft, Juanita Moore, Don Murray, Kim Novak, Sidney Poitier, Mickey Rooney, Eva Marie Saint, Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger, Gloria Stuart, Esther Williams

AUDREY HEPBURN: EIN STAR AUF DER SUCHE NACH SICH SELBST (2004) DIR Gebo von Boehm CAST (as themselves) Mel Ferrer, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Hubert de Givenchy, Gregory Peck, Robert Wolders

ONE DAY SINCE YESTERDAY: PETER BOGDANOVICH & THE LOST AMERICAN FILM (2014) DIR Bill Teck PROD Victor Barraso, Brett Ratner CAM Bill Teck ED Mario de Varona CAST (as themselves) Wes Anderson, Antonia Bogdanovich, Sashy Bogdanovich, Jeff Bridges, Colleen Camp, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Ben Gazarra, Frank Marshall, Todd McCarthy, Cybill Shepherd, Louise Stratten, Quentin Tarantino


LIVING THE BLUES (2010) DIR Larry Banks, Tim Buffy EXEC PROD Sean Hepburn Ferrer


BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S: THE MAKING OF A CLASSIC (2006) PROD Selina Lin ED Derek Degenhardt CAST Emily Dougherty, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Pamela Keogh, Cynthia Rowley, Richard Shepherd, Robert Wolders

SO IT’S AUDREY! A STYLE ICON (2006) PROD Selina Lin. ED Derek Degenhardt CAST Emily Dougherty, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Pamela Keogh, Cynthia Rowley, Richard Shepherd, Robert Wolders