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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio • Page 95
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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio • Page 95

Dayton Daily Newsi
Dayton, Ohio
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Audrey Hepburn: forever beautiful A rarity among stars -unpretentious, unspoiled, realistic and wise i i 1 i I i I' rxf) I By REX REED NEW YORK She came and went, breezing softly through New York like the petal from a cabbage rose, carried aloft on a moon ray. And for a short time, in her presence, the city went mad. touched by her magic. Audrey Hepburn is still the kind of star marquees light up for. She flew in a snowstorm from her country house in Switzerland, first to Hollywood to pay tribute to William Wyler, the director who made her a household name in her first big picture, Roman' Holiday, then to New York to open Robin and Marian, her latest picture after an eight-year absence from the screen. "It's not a comeback," she blushed shyly. "I had no idea I would be away so long. It's just that I re-married, had a baby and fouid a new life. Those things take time, and you Just have to decide what's important in life." AT THE PREMIERE, the photographers blinded her. Somebody stuck a fountain pen in her eye. And eager autograph hounds spilledi ink all over her clothes. "It's not so funny when the clothes are by Givenchy," she grinned. But Audrey Hepburn is that rarity among stars unpretentious, unspoiled, realistic and wise, with her priorities in the right place. She's rare as a blue giraffe. On the morning after the premiere, she met the press for breakfast, answered a thousand boring questions between muffins, and when it was over, she met me in a private suite at the St. Regis, breathless and exhausted, but still smiling in Technicolor. She is more beautiful at 47 than any other star imaginable, and warm as a kitten's tongue. In a long-sleeved silk blouse under a Renaissance jumper, her lithe body is fresh and slender as a new spring tendril popping through the ground for a look at the sun. It's the shape that made her the envy of a million women on a million diets, and there's nothing she can do about it. She eats plates or Msta every day and can't gain weight. And tiie unerased face gives no indication that there's ever been a day or an hour of unhappiness. It might be an illusion, but the illusion works. TO BE TRUTHFUL, she is going through an anxiety attack even as she kicks off her shoes and curls up on the sofa for a chat. Her husband. Dr. Andrea Dotti, was assaulted by kidnapers in broad daylight a few weeks ago in Rome. They forgot their chloroform, so he screamed until they ran away, but he was badly Injured, requiring seven stitches in his head. "I tell you, it's very anguishing period In Rome. They're even kidnaping tourists for $50 apiece, ransacking apartments and breaking into cars. There are so many different' groups some do it for political reasons, some for money, and others are just delin-quents who do it for kicks. If you're a famous person It's especially worrying, but I can't let fear dominate my life. I get up in the morning, do everything like everyone else, and It's second nature, really." Sean, her son by Mel Ferrer, is 15 6-foot-3, and away in college. Lucca, the baby, is six and In a very safe village school in Switzerland near the country house. "I worry less now. But two years ago, the joy of Rome was to walk around In the streets at night, enjoy-in the charm. Not anymore. The whole world has changed. Now I shuttle back and forth between my husband and his work in Rome and the children in Switzerland. It's not an ideal way to live, but it seems the best thing to do for the moment." I ALL OF WHICH has kept her away from the screen and the fans who love her. "It's all geography," she sighs. "I only work if I can combine my family's holiday with the shooting schedule. Acti Is something I love to do and will do agaiti, but I'm not having a career. Movies will always be an occasional thing now. anything. I haven't done any Interviews in the past eight years. Of course, I can't do anything about the photographers who follow me around in the street and wait outside my I don't ha' a secretary. I don't have attack dogs. My dog is a gorgeous mutt my father-in-law picked up in the street, and she's madly sentimental and gushes all over everybody. I don't go to parties or official functions, and I answer my own telephone. I cope." It seems impossible, for few stars ever achieved the kind of supersonic international stardom Audrey Hepburn has. Yet she honestly does not view herself as anything special. (She must have removed all the mirrors from her house.) "Truly, I've never been concerned with any public image. It would drive me around the bend it I worried about the pedestal others have put me on." WOMEN EVERYWHERE THINK she possesses some magic formula for staying young, beautiful and perfect. "It's all in their minds. I use creams because I have dry skin and I'm a nut on sleep. If I go without sleep, I feel like I have the flu. But I have no pattern or routine. In Italy, I get up early to get Andrea off to the clinic by 7:30, and he doesn't come home until after 9 p.m. So we don't eat until 10 and midnight is an early night, but it ain't early for me. I have to make up for it by taking afternoon naps. I take care of my health, and the world takes care of my thoughts. "I never read articles about me because it makes me nervous to know what others think of me. I used to suffer so from gossip columns. There's never been a helluva lot to say about me, but they make it up anyway. Only last week a San Francisco columnist printed that I was in America because my marriage wa over. I don't but there's always some obliging soul to sends these things to my mother. I'm afraid I'm very dull copy. I haven't anything unpleasant to tell, and I csa never remember anecdotes." THAT DOESN'T MEAN she is headed. Looking back on her career, she doesn't regard all of her films with pride. "I'm not ao sure I would've done any better with a second chance, but some of my fil ns were bloody awful. Green Mansions did i't come off at all." The Oscar from Roman Holiday is in a bookcase in her playroom next to the other prizes. "The children don't seem too impressed. They just, want to know if it's real gold. It isn't." As for the future, she says, "You're going to think I'm so corny, but my wish is not to be lonely. And to have my garden. I grow everything flowers, herbs, I'm not a city person. That's the basic and only disagreement between Andrea and me. He's gregarious, and he loves the noise and hubbub of a city. I love the country, dogs, flowers and nature, and I'm very bored by cement and skyscrapers. "Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed the klieg lights, the soundstages, the camera and the hard work making films. But If you ask me what I want from life, it's not glamour or money. I don't know what I would've done in the movies during the past eight years, anyway. It's all sex and violence. I don't like guns, and I can't -strip because I don't' have the body for it. I'm too scrawny. "So I don't know what the future holds. We'll have to wait and see what happens to Rome. Will there be a new election or will there be a revolution? Will we move to Switzerland or to Timbucktoo? We're playing it by ear. But whatever happens, the most important thing is growing old gracefully. And you can't do that on the cover of fan magazine." Audrey Hepburn's radiance and spirit are contagious fevers for which there are no known or desirable cures. If they ever discover an antidote, God help us and the movies. Audrey Hepburn ami co-elur Seim Conner' eiv lurk opening of 'Hot tin and Marian. "It's hard to say this, but I am sincere when I tell you I really haven't wanted to work. For many years, ever since I was a child, and all through my first marriage to Mel, I was always traveling around making films. So I wanted and needed a rest. I hated the idea of leaving the chilren once they started shcool, and my husband must be near his clinic. I had to rearrange my life. "I'm not a movie star to my family. Far from it. Not that I've hidden it from them. The children know what I do for a living. Lucca was with me in Spain during Robin and Marfan, and it was a grand experience for a little boy, watching Robin Hood come to life. He kept saying 'Why isn't Daddy playing Robin I told him that was impossible and he said, 'I know why because Daddy doesn't have the right "SEAN'S FRIENDS KNOW more about my career than I do, and they're always coming around for a photograph or something, but I think it amuses him. They don't think of it In terms of having a famous mother because I don't think of it that way. They're very natural children. I think I worry more about their future than they do. They'll take their period the way we took ours. All you can do is give them affection and what you hope is a background with the right values." If there's any negative reaction to her appearance in the lushly romantic Robin and Marian, it's seeing Audrey Hepburn playing her age. "Welt, I AM 47, and I think It's silly to play younger parts. People have been-youth worshippers too long. This is by far the happiest period of my life, even with all the tragic changes in the world. I'm less restless, and I no longer look for the wrong values. "I decided ages ago to like life unconditionally. I've never expected life to do anything special for me, yet I've accomplished more than I ever hoped for, and most of the time it just happened without my even seeking It. I was asked to act when I couldn't act, I was asked to sing In Funny Face when I couldn't Sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn't dance, and do all kinds- of things I was not expecting and was not prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it. "NOW I MAKE a real division when I'm at home, I'm realty at home, and I don't do Daytoa Leisure April 1976 5

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