Audrey Hepburn – Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award 1992

Gregory Peck presenting Audrey Hepburn with Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993 for 1992.
In 1954 Jean Hersholt presented Audrey Hepburn with her first Oscar for her performance in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. On March 29, 1993 Audrey Hepburn received posthumously the award that was created after Jean Hersholt’s death in 1956. Audrey passed away on January 20th 1993 eight days after it was announced she would be receiving this award. Her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer accepted the award on her behalf.

Audrey Hepburn Best Actress 1953

Gary Cooper Best Actor 1952 reading nominations for Best Actress 1953.

Sometimes the academy gets it right. We fell in love with Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Audrey’s competition (oops fellow nominees) were two other fairly new actresses, Leslie Caron in Lili and Maggie McNamara for The Moon is Blue and two veteran actresses Ava Gardner for Magambo and Deborah Kerr in: From Here to Eternity. Back in the day the Oscars were televised on dual coasts. Donald O’Connor was the Master of Ceremonies for the west coast; Fredric March was MC on the East Coast.
No wonder Audrey looks a little flummoxed in this clip. She was appearing in the Broadway play Ondine at the time and had just arrived with a police escort from her performance after the final curtain, shortly before her name is read.
Jean Hersholt from whom the Jean Hersholt Humanatarian Award is named after presents Audrey with her Oscar.

Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco

November 12, 1929 ~ September 14, 1982           Grace Kelly                  To Catch a Thief, High Society

“The princess of Monaco is the latest cover star of Tatler, with one of her most iconic photos peering back at readers of the December 2013 issue.” Much like Audrey Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti’s recent tribute and contribution to his mother in the book Audrey in Rome, Grace’s daughter in law Princess Charlene of Monaco recently honored Grace Kelly at the Princess Grace Awards Gala. With the new exhibit, From Philadelphia to Monaco opening in P.A. Grace is enjoying a resurgence in popularity- not that she was ever without it. The Iconic Hitchcock Blond, when wooed by the Prince of Monaco knew her fame and fortune as a Hollywood Star was on the chopping block, and while she struggled with the idea of leaving her fans, who could blame the temptation of royalty? What was your favorite Grace Kelly film?

Billy Wilder …Genius

Billy Wilder


June 22, 1906 ~ March 27, 2002

Billy Wilder

….on Audrey Hepburn

“She was so gracious and graceful that everybody  fell in love with her after five minutes. Everybody was in love with this girl, I included. My problem was that I am a guy who speaks in his sleep. I toss around and talk and talk…but fortunately, my wife’s first name is Audrey  as well. ”

…..on Marilyn Monroe, who he had a terribly difficult time directing,

“Whatever she threw away, we printed it, and it was very good.  It was very, very good.  She had a kind of elegant vulgarity about her.  That, I think, was very important.  And she automatically knew where the joke was.  She did not discuss it.  She came for the first rehearsal, and she was absolutely perfect.  She had a feeling for and a fear of the camera.  Fright.  She also loved the camera.  Whatever she did, wherever she stood, there was always that thing that comes through.  She was not even aware of it.”

…..on Jack Lemmon

“I’m terribly fond of Jack. We understand each other very well and it’s a pleasure to work with him. He is a thinking actor, but not an argumentative one. By that way I mean if we start shooting at nine o’clock, he would be there at 8:15 and would come to my office and say, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Look, why don’t we do this? Blah, blah, blah, blah.” And I just look at him, and he says, “I don’t like it either.” And he walks out.”

……on Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

“Sure, that was a highly intelligent actress, Miss Stanwyck. I questioned the wig, but it was proper, because it was a phony wig. It was an obviously phony wig. And the anklet — the equipment of a woman, you know, that is married to this kind of man. They scream for murder.

Yeah, naturally we rehearsed this thing. But I rehearsed it with her once or twice, that’s the maximum, and it was not that much different from the way she would have done it. She was just an extraordinary woman. She took the script, loved it, right from the word go, didn’t have the agent come and say, “Look, she’s to play a murderess, she must get more money, because she’s never going to work again.”

With Stanwyck, I had absolutely no difficulties at all. And she knew the script, everybody‘s lines. You could wake her up in the middle of the night and she’d know the scene. Never a fault, never a mistake — just a wonderful brain she had”




Audrey in Rome

In the midst of a full-on Audrey phase ( as may be a constant for some of us), I was thrilled to see the cover of Vanity Fair honoring her sons new book about her.  Luca Dotti is Audrey’s son from her second marriage to Italian Psychiatrist, Andrea Dotti. Living the Hollywood Life caused in Audrey, as it does for many in the profession, the need to get away.

Audrey was more diligent than most.

Her first marriage to Mel Ferrar was highly publicized, as was the divorce, and all the speculation in between. To get away Audrey would often visit Rome. Fewer people recognized her there, and she was often able to go on walks throughout the city with Mr. Famous, and her family, without much ado. Her sons, Luca and Sean have slowly begun to reveal those little pieces of Audrey we never knew, and Audrey in Rome gives us tidy little glimpses of that. Click on the book pics or our GoodReads scroll to get your Audrey fix.




















Note: We’ve watched A LOT of classic Hollywood films. This is my list so far- and no they’re not necessarily based on anything even close to “merit.” I know annstj will have her own list, so look out for  a LIST TWO. This was prompted by my younger brother asking what “other” old films he should watch( other than Thin Man) to complete his Classic Hollywood Education. Add your own Mandatories in the comments.


American in Paris…MGM -1951

Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer…RKO-1947

Ball of Fire…Samuel Goldwyn Co. -1941

Big Sleep…Warner Brothers – 1946

Breakfast at Tiffany’s…Paramount-1961

Bringing up Baby…RKO-1938

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…20th Century Fox-1969

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…MGM-1958

Christmas in Connecticut…Warner Brothers-1945

Darby O’Gill and the Little People…Walt Disney-1959

Double Indemnity…Paramount-1944

Gay Divorcee, The…RKO-1934


Girl Happy…MGM-1965

Glass Bottomed Boat…MGM-1966

Good Fairy, The…Universal-1935

High Society…MGM-1956

His Girl Friday…Columbia-1940

How to Marry a Millionaire…20th Century Fox-1953

How to Steal a Million…20th Century Fox-1966

Lady Eve, The…Paramount-1941

Libeled Lady…MGM-1936

Major and the Minor…Paramount-1942

Mark of Zorro…20th Century Fox-1940

Mary Poppins…Disney-1964

More the Merrier, The…Columbia-1943

Move over Darling…20th Century Fox-1963

Mr. and Mrs. Smith…RKO-1941

Music Man…Warner Brothers-1962

My Fair Lady…Warner Brothers-1964

My Man Godfrey…Universal-1936

My Sister Eileen…Columbia-1942

Pillow Talk…Universal-1959

Singing in the Rain…MGM-1952

Some Like It Hot…United Artists-1959

Something in the Wind…Universal International-1947

Sullivan’s Travel…Paramount-1942

Take Me Out to the Ballgame…MGM-1949

Thin Man…MGM-1934

Thoroughly Modern Millie…Universal International- 1967

Three Smart Girls…Universal-1936

Tom Jones…Woodfall Film Productions-1963

Two Sisters From Boston…MGM-1946

Women, The…MGM-1934

breakfast at Tiffany’s or breakfast in bed?

So here I am knee deep in 5th Avenue, 5 AM, and the Dawn of the Modern Women by Sam Wasson , when low and behold the same issue- women in the 50’s and 60’s- starts glaring at me from the tv screen in the form of The Tender Trap (1955). Frank Sinatra plays the more-than-one-woman- bachelor, while Debbie Reynolds plays the I-know-what-I-want girl, fluffing up the image of marriage as the end all be all of a women’s life. Poor Celeste Holm plays Sylvia, a woman of a certain age, still feeling unfulfilled as a famous violinst, because heck, nothing beats the husband and babies she could have been having long before now.
Sylvia says, “Joe, do you have any idea what’s available to a woman of 33? Married men. Drunks. Pretty boys looking for someone to support them. Lunatics looking for their fifth divorce! It’s quite a list, isn’t it?”

Giving us all a clearer picture, that all you single ladies better find a man before you’re 33. or it gets worse.Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew women had issues with all that “what is and isn’t right in society” stuff back then, but I really had no idea. I watched all those forbidden hollywood films, just like the rest of you, and even those didn’t seem so bad. After reading the memoir Summer at Tiffany’s a couple years ago, I must say I merely appreciated that women were allowed grace the floor as emplyees at the worlds best jewelry store, but after reading Wasson’s rendition of women, and the influence film was and wasn’t allowed to give on the topic, I was floored.
We all saw the limitations put on film production by the Hays code, but that almost seems tame compared to what was expected of women in actual society, from the 1930’s onward.
Many a secretary was sent home because her skirt was not brushing her knees. Little Mary Smith in Easy Living (1937) was fired from her job at the Boys Constant Companion magazine due to ethical reasons, though one would hardly think walking into work with a fur coat sacrilege, it apparently was.
George Axelrod, the screenplay writer of The Seven Year Itch and Breakfast at Tiffany’s had been pigeonholed into a formula script from the start of this career by the big wigs in the censorship office. The Production Code alone was responsible for films full of innuendo and no action. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the film, bared little resemblance to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the book, because basically it was a story about a hooker. Axelrod’s The Seven Year Itch was supposed to be about a series of actual affairs and infidelity, but instead all we got was a movie outlining how we should feel bad about lust, temptation and the image of Marilyn Monroe with her big toe stuck in the bathtub faucet. And while Axelrod would eventually become respected, but not nearly enough, one wonders what else had to be fully rewritten in the name of The Code.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the form that we finally see on film is all Axelrod. The conjuring of Paul Varjak as a gigilo, instead of the gay friend Capote intended, is quickly loved and adored as the man who who save our little Holly Golighty for a life of promiscuity, and is what won him the right to write this picture. And the happy ending, which is always essential for The Code, where the guy gets the girl and not another guy, or vice versa is always preferable to staying true to the book and having Holly run off with the brazilian, Jose, as intended. Love’s not so bad in a cage if you’re in there together.
The Production Code finally died in 1968 giving way to the current rating system that we now embrace, leaving only a trail of happy films all portraying the fake society that American culture has come to idolize, but one, that if we looked deep down had a lot to say if only we would let it.