Author Edward Z. Epstein explores the turbulent romance between Audrey Hepburn and William Holden in his new book, 'Audrey and Bill.' In the excerpt below, the couple has just broken up after filming the 1954 hit 'Sabrina' when a new woman enters the picture: Grace Kelly, who was cast as Bill’s wife in 'The Bridges at Toko-Ri.'
Bill’s antidote to Audrey had been labeled an “icy beauty” by the press, but in reality Grace Kelly was red hot. If, as Bill hoped, Audrey suffered pangs of jealousy and resentment envisioning “her Bill” with the beautiful Grace, she had good cause.
Audrey and Bill in 1964's 'Paris When It Sizzles.' (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Grace was emerging as Audrey’s rival both as a respected actress and a worldwide icon of style and beauty. Both were leading adventurous private lives, mostly under the radar. Thanks to masterful career management and an aura of class, their ladylike images remained intact.
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Audrey and Grace were new kinds of sex symbols. Kelly’s face was the physically perfect one; Hepburn was not conventionally beautiful, but she was perfect in her imperfections. They appealed to exactly the same audience — and obviously to Bill Holden.
Audrey and Grace in March 1956. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Gossip regarding Grace and Bill didn’t take long to circulate, though when 'Toko-Ri' wrapped, Grace flew back to New York and Bill resumed his life with his wife Ardis. It was hard to salvage his heart, which had been broken by Audrey, but Grace had managed to stop the bleeding.
Starting a new film would keep Bill occupied. He was set to star with Jennifer Jones and Bing Crosby in 'The Country Girl,' based on Clifford Odets’ Broadway hit. When Jones revealed she was pregnant, it was crisis time.
To read the full story on Audrey and Bill, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly,' on newsstands now!
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