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Actress, humanitarian. Born Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston in Brussels, Belgium, on May 4, 1929. Her father, Joseph Anthony Hepburn-Ruston, was an English banker, and her mother, Ella Hepburn-Ruston, was a Dutch baroness. Hepburn grew up in England, but moved to the Netherlands after her parents separated. In 1948, she appeared in her first film, Nederland in Lessen (Dutch at the Double), billed as Edda Hepburn. Following the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, Hepburn was consequently unable to leave the country until 1948, when she returned to London to study ballet on a scholarship at Arnhem Conservatory, at which time she began using the professional name of Audrey Hepburn. In 1949, she made her London stage debut in the chorus of High Button Shoes. With her gamine-like features and graceful beauty, she was hand-picked by Colette herself to star in the 1951 Broadway production of Gigi, which garnered enormous critical acclaim. From 1951-52, she made a string of unremarkable films, while slowly gaining recognition with her solid character portrayals despite such a seemingly delicate demeanor.