You may have known Audrey Hepburn as a glamorous actress in films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but while she always seemed so carefree on the big screen, she was dealing with hardships behind closed doors. A new biography titled Dutch Girl has revealed untold stories of the difficult times she endured in the Netherlands during World War II.
“She had to grow up very fast, like everyone who was in the middle of a war did,” author Robert Matzen told Closer Weekly in an exclusive new interview. “And she helped out any way she could.”
Audrey — who died in 1993 at age 63 — even helped a doctor involved in the Dutch Resistance. “She tended to the wounded, ran messages, and was sent to the woods to help a flier who had been shot down,” Matzen added. “She was much closer to the action than anyone ever knew.”
Scarily enough, “Audrey was in a strafing attack, where a British spitfire was going after a column of German vehicles,” Matzen revealed to Closer. “Somebody shoved her under a tank, and that’s the only reason she survived.”
But even though Audrey went through those frightening times when she was younger, she always made sure her sons had a “normal upbringing,” as her eldest, Sean, 58, once told Closer.
She masked her fame from them as much as she could, but she also used it to her advantage — as a way to focus on her humanitarian work. “She realized that she could use her fame to grab people’s attention,” her younger son, Luca, 48, previously shared with Closer. Today, Luca runs the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, while Sean is the honorary chair of The Audrey Hepburn Society at the US Fund for UNICEF.
And they’re happy to live out her legacy. “I remember her smile,” Sean revealed. “I remember her sweetness and strength and innocence and wisdom — all that in one beautiful, perfect package.”
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