TIL Audrey Hepburn was a ballet prodigy as a child, but after five years of malnutrition due to German occupation during WWII, she was permanently too weak to dance, so she turned to acting.

TIL Audrey Hepburn was a ballet prodigy as a child, but after five years of malnutrition due to G...

She also danced at secret productions to raise money for the Resistance and carried messages for them. Hepburn really doesn't get enough credit for all her acts of goodwill.

Look up her UNICEF ambassador work. She really shined towards the end of her career. I love this woman.

Edit - Food Distribution, Education, Clean Water, Mother & Child Care, Administered Vaccines,Orphanages, Homeless.

Her love for children and their well-being was a godsend for most 3rd world southern American, and African countries. Most centers she built are still being used today and have continued too grow.

Lots of people up voting this so I'll also add

Edit2- She opened up a handful of Children Hospitals, Sexual and Physical Abuse Centers, and Learning centers in the U.S and Europe.

This woman is my idle and an epitome of inspiration.

Favorite quote

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

TIL Audrey Hepburn wasn't American

She lived through what we call the hunger winter here in the NL.

British/Dutch. She spoke the most beautiful aristocratic Dutch I've ever heard.


For the curious: Audrey Hepburn speaking Dutch

Edit: she also spoke Spanish, French, and Italian fluently.

Actually that's a myth. There is no evidence that she ever participated in the Dutch resistance. I mean she would have been like 12 at the time and had already had an uncle killed by the Germans and a half-brother sent to a work camp. It's kind of surprising that this myth even became a thing since you should automatically assume bullshit when someone tells you that a resistance group would entrust a little girl to carry messages for them.

The Airborne Museum wanted to know what is true of the twenty stories doing the rounds about Hepburn resistance work. "Although we have searched the archives from Australia to Brussels and talked to numerous sources, there has been found no trace of evidence," says director Sarah Thurlings.

Designated dieter

Additionally that is why she was always so thin. Her "Hollywood body" was a result of a shit childhood.

What does the AL call it?

In adolescence in particular, it can lead to a permanent weakening of the heart and related anatomy. I would imagine she had a lot of shortness of breath.

She did it all for the nookie.

Sometimes I forget how insanely gorgeous she was.


Weird, since there is a video where she claims otherwise (unless it's from a movie of hers I haven't seen which is possible).

Edited to add that the lack of written records saying that a 14 year old ballet student named Edda was performing for the Dutch resistance isn't surprising.

Are there a lot of underground resistance organizations that keep detailed records?

I don't think she did it for the credit.

I wonder if she thought about that when people complimented her figure.


Apparently Audrey could’ve done it, but she wanted to be prima ballerina. That’s a high place. So she turned to acting instead. Also explains her infamous “perfect posture and elegance”.

just out of curiosity, as a dancer myself i'm wondering how one could ever be "permanently too weak". she would have to work hard to retrain her muscles but i wouldn't think you could be too weak forever unless you were terminally ill. could somebody who knows more about this explain why this was the case for her?

EDIT: i learned a lot about malnutrition's effect on development. thanks guys!!!

Considering that she said that she had, and is quoted regarding it, I would be surprised to learn she never did anything and instead lied about it throughout her life.

Did she single-handedly raise a bunch of money for the Dutch resistance? Of course not, she was too young. She most likely was one of many performers who did so.

We're so glad she turn to acting ....a great performer, very elegant lady and humanitariam!


Here she is dancing in Secret People.

Kids were often used during the war since they were less suspicious.

arguably the most beautiful woman who's ever lived.

There's something so beautiful about the way her eye brows move as she speaks. Her whole face just conveys what she's saying, not just her words. I've never seen her movies, but I might have to now. I've never even seen her in action, but she's mesmerizing.

the German occupiers allowed coordinated air drops of food over German-occupied Dutch territory by the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force from 29 April to 7 May, and by the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1 to 8 May

That's horribly misleading. in 1945, May 8th being the date of surrender there wasn't a damn thing the Germans could do to stop the food drops. If they opened fire on the planes they'd have been taken out by fighter bombers and they they feared for their own lives, that they'd never be able to walk out of the occupied territories without being killed by the populace.

It is wrong to see it as an act of Nazi troops behaving humanely.

Start with Charade! That's my favorite of her movies.

Shortly after these shipments, the German occupiers allowed coordinated air drops of food over German-occupied Dutch territory by the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force from 29 April to 7 May, and by the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1 to 8 May. This was Operation Manna (RAF/RCAF) and Operation Chowhound (USAAF). The Germans agreed to not shoot at the planes flying the mercy missions, and the Allies agreed not to bomb German positions.

Must have been a terrifying period, but its nice to see even in these kinda dark times there's still humanity

Come on

It's so weird to me that shined and shone are both acceptable. In fairly sure "shewn" is not, at least. Dammit English!

Born in Brussels to a British father with Austrian descent and a Dutch mother, made a career in Hollywood, spent her later life in Switzerland, spoke five languages.

I still give that title to Grace Kelly. She's just breath taking. Audrey is a very close second though  http://i.imgur.com/dOKIfG0.jpg

I still give that title to Grace Kelly. She's just breath taking. Audrey is a very close second though

I've always thought it sounded like English played backwards.

And stick it in your milk.

ISIS uses kids strapped with bombs to blow up people. You think a group of people under nazi occupation wouldn't use kids as messengers? The same kids who would work in mines, or textiles factories? Those kids?

You're view of kids is very anachronistic, it's a very recent thing for kids to have "childhoods", well if they are poor that is.

Bones - muscles and organs can be permanently affected by malnutrition.




Omg Wesley, stop trying to make shewn happen

Once gone, they don't come back, they only grow or shrink in size when you train them.

.... holy what the actual having no idea what you're talking about...

The nookie

It's been said that Dutch is the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Very close languages.

I prefer stroopwafels over German sweets anyway!

I believe that's also a big time when your bones are developing. If she wasn't getting the nutrients she needed they might have been too weak and fragile, as well.

I thought I remember reading that she also struggled with disordered eating... no?

She was very pointed in saying that she only did what everyone else did by quietly helping out the resistance whenever they could.

Actually it can. Depends on the person and length of starvation. Some folks bounce back and some never do.

malnutrition and food insecurity /starvation as a child doesnt permanently make you thin or make it so hard to gain too much weight

When I went to the Netherlands my brain was so tired trying to make Dutch into English. It felt like straining to make out someone talking in the next room with the door shut

oh, that makes a lot of sense!

This is likely to have been the case. Sophia Loren recounts the story of having a very dainty lunch with Audrey:

Loren and Ponti were invited to lunch at Audrey Hepburn's beautiful chalet while they were visiting Burgenstock, Switzerland, over Christmas in 1957. Hepburn served "a leaf of lettuce, a curl of fresh cheese topped by a smidgen of raspberry compote. In the plate next to it, a crisp roll, bite size.” Loren assumed that this was the appetizer. However, the plates were cleared from the table and Hepburn got up and said, “I ate too much.” Loren was starving and writes: “I was dying of hunger and as soon as we go home I made myself a sandwich.”

How To Steal A Million is probably my fave Hepburn film. Her chemistry with Peter O'Toole was off the charts. Not as critically acclaimed as some of her others but this one IMHO is tops in watchability.

I hate to be that guy, but *idol.

So you can take that cookie

It's a two second google search but we can break it down. You already established they grow, so the body has the capacity to make more muscles. Your biceps and quads don't just disintegrate to nothing. How would you move your body if you had no muscles?

Inarguably means it can't be proven.

No, it means it can't be argued or questioned. It has nothing to do with provability.

I think it depends on the severity. I remember reading that if you're starved long enough the feeling or pain that tells you that you need to eat turns off. Some people simply forget they need to eat because they have that reminder anymore.

unless the goal is to further demonize german teenagers 70 years ago.

The fuck...? Seek therapy. Immediately.

At the very least, I really suggest you read the wikipedia article this reddit post actually links to. Because, truthfully, you seem to lack the visceral, emotional response to these facts that should be expected/demanded of all humans.

Here's some excerpts from this very wikipedia article:

"We saw young men put against the wall and shot, and they'd close the street and then open it and you could pass by again...Don't discount anything awful you hear or read about the Nazis. It's worse than you could ever imagine."

In addition to other traumatic events, she witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, later stating that "more than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child."

Her family was profoundly affected by the occupation, with Hepburn later stating that "had we known that we were going to be occupied for five years, we might have all shot ourselves. We thought it might be over next week ... six months ... next year ... that's how we got through". In 1942, her uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum (husband of her mother's older sister, Miesje), was executed in retaliation for an act of sabotage by the resistance movement; while he had not been involved in the act, he was targeted due to his family's prominence in Dutch society. Hepburn's half-brother Ian was deported to Berlin to work in a German labour camp, and her other half-brother Alex went into hiding to avoid the same fate.

Thanks Nazis!

and you're the cliche Nazi apologist

When the war broke out, she was going to school in England, but her Dutch mother relocated her to the Netherlands, thinking that it'll remain neutral, like in World War I.



Its not that fact that a starving body consumes its own muscle people are doubting but the fact that muscle cells are irreplaceable .

Let's make it acceptable. Let's make shewn happen.

You’re welcome.

– Nazi Germany

No one is saying that your body doesn't use muscle tissue as an energy source if you're starving. You're saying that your body can't create muscle tissue which is ridiculous. When someone builds muscle they're not just enlarging the fibers they're building new fibers too.

They really are great right? Without WWII we wouldn't have "Hogan's Heroes" as well!

But but...she could have danced all night.

Not every single Nazi was a bloodthirsty racist out to take over the world and kill every non Aryan person they found in the worst way possible. A lot of them were ordinary people in difficult situations doing the best they could with limited information. The first concentration camps were for political dissidents only. Anyone who spoke up against the Nazi party or refused to join the army was dragged away at gunpoint and never seen again. After watching your neighbors get kidnapped and murdered by the politicians in charge for a few years, you agree to do whatever they say, just to save your own family.

Also look at Oskar Schindler and Schindlers List. He wasn't the only one out there who pretended to be a Nazi to survive, but secretly did everything he could to help the jews/allies.

Hell, even today only 49% of the people who voted (which was 51% of America) voted for the current president. Less then 25% of people agree with him enough to stand in line for two hours.

Hitler did not have 100% approval rating either. Its silly to think he did.

Is it just my misperception or does Dutch sound more like English than, say, German?

What a shame. She could have made something of herself.

I'd want to see a source on this since before I believe it. I've looked it up and can't find anything. Undernourishment during adolescence can lead to growth problems and Wikipedia mentions her height being a problem for her ballerina aspirations as well.

You don't believe it's possible for someone to be permanently disabled?

Yea, I'm sure the Nazis wouldn't have given a shit if they found out.

You're right, not a big deal, who does Aubrey Hepburn think she is?

But to a native german person dutch is way easier to understand than english - it sounds a little bit like someone is having a stroke: every now and then there is a part that I can clearly understand but then thre is gibberish again :'(

Frisian is supposed to be the language most closely related to English. The speakers live around the border between Germany and the Netherlands.

Loling over here at the mental image

Check out funny face it's the best

OP just has a clickbait title overall.

1) Hepburn started ballet when she was 16 in 1945--not the typical age one associates with prodigy.

2) She did have a weak constitution after the war, but her height was the main determinant in her decision to focus on acting--her height was considered too short to be a prima ballerina, which she wanted to become. (Different ballet companies have different standards, but Rambert Dance Company, a prominent troupe in which she was studying w/ a scholarship, insisted on dancers > 173 cm)

I will! I actually didn't know where to start so this is perfect. :)

I've met some people who are permanently dead now.