The Audrey Doctrine

Audrey Hepburn Children's Funds

While I'm a fan of Audrey, I have not put together a typical Audrey Hepburn fan page. I have no list of her films, and my picture collections are scant compared with most any other effort on Audrey's ring. Yet, Audrey surfaced in my Star Trek pages, and in my feelings for fan web pages on the web. Audrey also plays a passing role in Polyticks, my political philosophy pages.

Polyticks often touches on a theory of cyclical history. In short, the theory predicts that every four score and seven years there is a new birth of freedom. The English Civil War, American Revolution, U.S. Civil War and World War II were the last four turns of the cycle. Another crisis is due early in the next millennium. Already there is a spiral of increasing violence abroad. Ethnic, religious and political conflict have caused anarchy in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Muslim south Russia, and of late East Timor. The American pattern of response is also becoming clear.

Audrey spent the Second World War in Arnham, Holland. When Operation Market Garden of A Bridge too Far fame parachuted into Arnham, Audrey was starving and hiding in cellars. She thus learned young that while men start wars and fight wars, it is too often the women and children who suffer. On her 16th birthday, Holland was liberated. UN relief agencies soon arrived, and helped her country recover. Much later in life, UNICEF asked Audrey to be their spokesmen. She eventually found herself in Washington DC, talking about Somalia, trying to convince Congress and George Bush that something ought to be done. She cared more for the children than that she was asking for a major change in U.S. policy, or perhaps in human civilization.

Six years after Audrey's death, well after Somalia and Bosnia, shortly after Kosovo, President Clinton floated a trial balloon. In a radio talk he spoke of the 'Clinton Doctrine,' a policy of doing what we can to stop ethnic cleansing, famine, anarchy and genocide, wherever in the world it happens, whether US interests are directly involved or not. The Secretary General of the United Nations recently asked the Security Council to adopt a similar position. The Council tentatively concurred. When East Timor erupted, the idea of an international relief and peacekeeping effort was not new, was not radical. The people of the Pacific just knew what ought to be done.

With the Millennium coming, coffee table books listing the greatest stars and most influential people of the century are coming out. Audrey isn't generally high in the table of contents, but her face is generally featured on the cover. In the world of high fashion, in spite of gaudy attempts to be bold and different, the best efforts can even now be described as "so Audrey." This is good. This is as it should be. And yet, remembering Audrey's past seems not enough. Let us remember too her children, all the children of the world.


Polyticks: A Secular Humanist Manifesto

My political party is agnostic, marital status is independent, and religion is single. Polyticks gathers several barely related political essays and opinion pieces. I'm against bigots, fundamentalists, and neo-confederates. I am for the Bill of Rights, Rule of Law, Truth, and the 19th Century practice of capitalizing Virtues. I'm distinctly in favor of the Founding Fathers, and the Future. Confused yet? Welcome to Polyticks!



Web Rings

Want to find other web sites dealing with similar themes? How many themes have I covered already? Let's see... Three rings for the elven kings...

Web RIngs

An Android's Tale

Fan fiction stories of the Joy Class androids of Mudd, role playing characters active in AOL's simulation community. Asimov's Laws of Robotics, the Prime Directive, and the movie roles of Audrey Hepburn are programmed into Star Trek androids, and let loose on an unsuspecting 24th Century.

An Android's Tale

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Times Obituary

Gregory Peck

Of all the wonderful closings in movies, one in particular comes to mind now. A journalist has just given up, for love, the biggest story of his life. He has also surrendered the love of his life, all for the sake of a young woman. A most unlikely situation, a dramatic confectioner's creation. Reality has no place in this fantasy. Until the ending. And until now.

The journalist has just left the young woman to her job, which is being a princess. They will not see each other again. The camera stays with him as he walks through the sepulchral rooms of some vast Roman palazzo, and his face shows everything: the loss, the melancholy, the love, the sweetness of feelings found fleetingly, then lost irretrievably.

This scene, the end of William Wyler's Roman Holiday, is memorable for reasons that can never be taught in film school. Wyler had a fierce sense of emotional focus, and he had here a consummate movie star, Gregory Peck. But this great scene would have been nonsense if Peck did not have something wonderful and irreplaceable to miss. He had Audrey Hepburn.

It was her first major film role, the one that introduced her to the world and made her a star. It also defined her -- as starmaking parts will -- in film and in life. When she died last week of cancer, at 63, it was as if we had to surrender the marvelous princess of all our better dreams.

Born in Belgium in 1929, she spent her adolescence in World War II Holland. She lost family to the Nazis, often went desperately hungry, and occasionally carried messages for the Resistance in her shoes. The war was a horror, but it left no discernible scars. Perhaps that was a little part of her magic: after slaughter and in the midst of chilling political uncertainty, the world found a grace in her that it had yearned for. She seemed serene, but she was quick to laughter. She was ethereal -- she gave a credible performance as Rima, the bird creature in Green Mansions -- but she could be sensual and knowing, whether in the mock innocence of her Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, or, later, in the painful cunning of the beleaguered wife in Two for the Road. Surely she must have been thoroughly sick of hearing all about her gamin quality, her elfin smile, her graciousness and class, even though we have the strong impression that she was too gracious and too classy to say so.

She had, as an actress, a tremendous tensile strength that helped anchor the unforced ebullience of her personality. When a film required it, she could really dig in her heels. Billy Wilder's Sabrina, which quickly followed Roman Holiday, showed her torn between the smooth bachelor blandishments of William Holden and the tempered, literally businesslike attentions of Humphrey Bogart. Hepburn made the right choice -- the heart's choice -- as she would continue to do in all her best-remembered movies. Past the sorcery of her sensuality, with its inviolate innocence, and past her great beauty, Hepburn wooed and won her audience because she always played a character whose heart, if occasionally misplaced, could in the end be trusted and even envied.

She played the star as she had played the princess, as if by natural right. But that was another part of the game, and one she played with great generosity. She spoke often of her indebtedness to other actors, and the directors who brought out and shaped what was best and most vulnerable and most beguiling in her: Wyler, of course, who began everything; Wilder, with whom she made her most sportive romantic comedies; King Vidor, for whom she played an exquisite Natasha in War and Peace; John Huston, in whose The Unforgiven she portrayed a frontier girl of mixed blood and uncertain allegiances; Stanley Donen, who fine-tuned her sprightliness in Funny Face and enhanced her eldritch sophistication in Charade beside Cary Grant; George Cukor, for whom she played an effervescent Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady; and Richard Lester, who gave her the most memorable role of her later years opposite Sean Connery in Robin and Marian.

Although she had been, for a time in her early years, a dancer, it was still difficult to believe, watching Hepburn, that anyone could embody such grace. This was not just a matter of movement, although she was purest quicksilver. It was more a quality of spirit, a kind of emotional fluency and serenity. The press, responding to this, was always kind, and stayed pretty much out of her private life. She was married and divorced twice (her first husband was Mel Ferrer, who acted opposite her in War and Peace and directed her in Green Mansions). In recent years she lived in Switzerland and threw her energies into arduous and prolonged charity work for UNICEF; she travelled, most lately, to Somalia and appeared on television making early pleas for an end to the devastation.

Her last film appearance was in the Steven Spielberg romantic fantasy Always. She played an angel, and she was radiant, doing, as well as she ever had, what she always did: working with a great director, bringing to her part an unforced sovereignty of spirit, fulfilling, with no apparent effort whatsoever, our need to believe in the finest parts of what may only be a dream. It was Gregory Peck's dream in Roman Holiday, and now we all know his loss.


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This is a fan page intended to perpetuate the memory of Audrey, and as a side effect to increase the values of Audrey related copyrights. No challenge to these copyrights is intended, no profits are being taken, and any material will be removed upon request. Audrey Style, a book by Pamela Clarke Keogh, (ISBN 0060193298 published by Harper Collins) is recommended for many glimpses of Audrey the person, as well as for an unusual suite of less published photographs. It is not the usual list of movies and anecdotes about their filming. I'll also endorse Paramont Pictures and the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.