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TV REVIEW : KCET's 'Audrey Hepburn': Memories of an Exquisite Star

August 11, 1993|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

"Audrey Hepburn Remembered" airs at 7:35 tonight on KCET-TV Channel 28, and the title seems gratuitous. How could we forget her?

For generations of movie-goers, she was the dream princess of all our lives, a near-magical possessor of a loveliness, elegance, idealism and wit that at first seemed unattainable and then, as we watched, turned infectiously warm and approachable.

She was royalty with a twinkle, Cinderella come alive, beauty with a child's delighted smile. In her classic early roles--Princess Anne in "Roman Holiday," Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"--she suggested a mix of ethereal perfection and girlishly earthy enthusiasm that was unique, even shattering.

And she had probably the most dazzling, heartbreaking smile the movies ever captured: a smile that began with childlike tenderness, widened gently and eventually blazed forth with a radiance that could outshine diamonds by firelight.

How could anyone see that smile even once--in the twilit gardens of "Sabrina," the ballroom of "My Fair Lady" or during that orange-grappling dance with Cary Grant in "Charade"--and come near forgetting it? Or her?

Certainly, the interviewees here can't. Billy Wilder, Stanley Donen, Blake Edwards, Gregory Peck, George Peppard and Henry Mancini, Hubert De Givenchy, Elizabeth Taylor, Connie Wald and Mel Ferrer and son Sean Ferrer are among those whose comments indicate that a light has gone out of their lives.

Several of them, Ferrer and Donen in particular, seem just this side of tears as they talk.

*

There's also high emotion in the symmetrical theme that producers Gene Feldman and Suzette Winter bring out:

As the aristocratic daughter of a broken home in World War II-torn Belgium, little Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston underwent such severe hardships that, at the end of her life, she felt compelled to repay the organization that saved her, as UNICEF's worldwide ambassador for impoverished children.

For the rest, "Audrey Hepburn Remembered," narrated by Roger Moore, gathers together the friends and movie moments in which her elfin form, immaculate chic and wondrous smile live on.

And it demonstrates amply the adjective that sums up all her spectacular charms and graces: exquisite.

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