Born in Brussels in 1929, Audrey Hepburn was the daughter of a British father and a Dutch Baroness. But when she was five, her father deserted the family. With the outbreak of war in 1939, her mother thought they would be safer in Holland than Holland Park, but although they survived the German Occupation, the experience left its physical and emotional scars.
Back in England again, Audrey studied ballet with Marie Rambert. After a few West End musicals and minor film parts, she was spotted by the author, Colette, to star in a stage version of her novel, Gigi. And then Audrey's career took off. Her debut screen role was the Princess in the enchanting Roman Holiday. It won her an Oscar.
She went on to bring her unique grace and high spirits to a number of highly acclaimed films - from Funny Face and The Nun's Story to My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Robin and Marian.
For a while it looked as though her personal life would follow the Hollywood dream. But her marriage to Mel Ferrer was not to last. She married and divorced a second time, and there were other passionate but short-lived affairs, some revealed for the first time in this book, but her relationships were never entirely successful.
With all the insight, background knowledge and innate sympathy for his subject, qualities that have made his biographies of Hitchcock, Dietrich, Monroe and Bergman such international successes, Donald Spoto truly captures the spirit of an elusive, beautiful, talented and vulnerable woman.
"Spoto has a Hollywood knack of spinning a good yarn ... What he delivers, with great vim and verbal rhythm, is a portrait of a cherished actress who led a seemingly blameless life" The Times
Donald Spoto was born near New York City in 1941 and received his PhD degree from Fordham University in 1970. He is the author of 27 books, including internationally bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. He is married to the Danish school administrator and artist Ole Flemming Larsen. They live in a quiet village an hour's drive from Copenhagen.