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Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn by…

Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn (2006)

by Donald Spoto

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Biography obviously pulled together from scraps of info out there in various public media. A Kitty Kelley without the vicious slant. So Three stars for the uninspired writing efforts.

But the subject matter truly is so very enchanting and much more -- an iron butterfly. The most unique "movie star" I think we will ever see. One is left with her UNICEF years, which are so hard to read about, never mind live through. If "Goddess" weren't such a shopworn term; she, amongst very few women (and probably no movie stars) would deserve the appellation.

Then my little whimsical wish: she has always been the one I most wanted to to look like, had I the choice. Darling, darling Audrey. ( )
  C-WHY | Apr 27, 2016 |
For fans, this is a great book. Good film analysis and comparisons between her life and the lives she portrayed. ( )
  michcall | Aug 30, 2008 |
I must admit I was skeptical about this book when I started it. I guess I just didn't know if there was anything new about the actress that I hadn't heard before. But Shazam! I think I have an even healthier respect for Ms. Hepburn. The book was enlightening in the following ways: the actress had a very healthy sexual life; she was from Dutch nobility; she originated the play Gigi and was discovered by Collette; the barren latter period of her acting career. I have read other books by Spoto and was pleasantly surprised with this very well written and engaging biography. ( )
  mgaulding | Mar 23, 2008 |
Biography,Hollywood Legend ( )
  KKovach | Oct 21, 2007 |
I’ve always been interested in classic movie stars, so when I saw this biography at Disney’s MGM Studios, I had to buy it. I am so glad I did . Mr. Spoto is a very detailed writer, and I read this book in about four days (three days only at night for half an hour and the third day for half a day). Because of this biography, I’ve watched countless classic movies, mostly with Audrey Hepburn, but also her costars’ movies (if I liked their acting). This book also rekindled my interest in wanting to create my own film or TV show and Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses now. ( )
  LilyEvans | Jun 26, 2007 |
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There had been bright sunshine when they left the English shore, but midway across the Channel, dark clouds swept overhead, and the wind had shifted from breezy to almost gale force.
"I liked the children and the teachers, but I never liked the process of learning in a classroom." (17)
"My real name was never Edda van Heemstra.  That was a name I assumed in school, because my mother thought it wiser during the German occupation, as mine sounded too English." (21)
"It's because I have no mother tongue that the critics accuse me of curious speech." (21)
Instead of high key lighting to glamorize her, there were only the lineaments of her own inner self: she created a compelling portrait of spiritual anguish and maturing integrity, and this she accomplished with only her eyes and the subtlest gradiations of expression; almost everything was internal. (179)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307237583, Hardcover)

Her name is synonymous with elegance, style and grace. Over the course of her extraordinary life and career, Audrey Hepburn captured hearts around the world and created a public image that stands as one of the most recognizable and beloved in recent memory. But despite her international fame and her tireless efforts on behalf of UNICEF, Audrey was also known for her intense privacy. With unprecedented access to studio archives, friends and colleagues who knew and loved Audrey, bestselling author Donald Spoto provides an intimate and moving account of this beautiful, elusive and talented woman.

Tracing her astonishing rise to stardom, from her harrowing childhood in Nazi-controlled Holland during World War II to her years as a struggling ballet dancer in London and her Tony Award–winning Broadway debut in Gigi, Spoto illuminates the origins of Audrey’s tenacious spirit and fiercely passionate nature.

She would go on to star in some of the most popular movies of the twentieth century, including Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, The Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady. A friend and inspiration to renowned designer Hubert de Givenchy, Audrey emerged as a fashion icon as well as a film legend, her influence on women’s fashion virtually unparalleled to this day.

But behind the glamorous public persona, Audrey Hepburn was both a different and a deeper person and a woman who craved love and affection. Donald Spoto offers remarkable insights into her professional and personal relationships with her two husbands, and with celebrities such as Gregory Peck, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Robert Anderson, Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Ben Gazzara. The turbulent romances of her youth, her profound sympathy for the plight of hungry children, and the thrills and terrors of motherhood prepared Audrey for the final chapter in her life, as she devoted herself entirely to the charity efforts of an organization that had once come to her rescue at the end of the war: UNICEF.

Donald Spoto has written a poignant, funny and deeply moving biography of an unforgettable woman. At last, Enchantment reveals the private Audrey Hepburn—and invites readers to fall in love with her all over again.

“She was as funny as she was beautiful. She was a magical combination of high chic and high spirits.” —Gregory Peck

“In spite of her fragile appearance, she’s like steel.” —Cary Grant

“Audrey was known for something which has disappeared, and that is elegance, grace and manners . . . God kissed her on the cheek, and there she was.” —Billy Wilder

“There is not a woman alive who does not dream of looking like Audrey Hepburn.” —Hubert de Givenchy

“Her magnetism was so extraordinary that everyone wanted to be close to her. It was as if she placed a glass barrier between herself and the world. You couldn’t get behind it easily. It made her remarkably attractive.” —Stanley Donen

“She has authentic charm. Most people simply have nice manners.” —Alfred Lunt

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A portrait of the acclaimed actress follows Audrey Hepburn from her youth in Nazi-occupied Europe, through her rise to stardom in some of the era's most popular films, to her dedication to UNICEF.

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