Brussels bronze for Hollywood’s Hepburn

In her breakout movie “Roman Holiday,” Audrey Hepburn’s ingenue princess flirts with Gregory Peck at La Bocca della Verita, placing the ominous Italian statue firmly on the tourist trail.

Now fans of the late star will have another – more elegant – landmark to visit in her native Brussels, in a park opened in her honor on Wednesday, near the house where she was born in the Belgian capital.

The petite Oscar-winner and 1960s icon was born Audrey Ruston on May 4, 1929, at 48 Rue Keyenveld, now a quiet pedestrianized backstreet tucked behind Brussels’ main shopping artery.

The daughter of a Dutch aristocrat and a British banker, she stayed in Brussels until she was six and her father suddenly left the family home.

Inaugurating the statue, Hepburn’s son Sean Hepburn Ferrer told of how she moved in with her maternal relatives in the Netherlands, where she remained during the harrowing years of the World War II German occupation.

“Now there are two busts of her in the two cities where she spent her childhood,” he told AFP, referring to a previous version of the same work by Dutch sculptor Kees Berkade, in Arnhem.

After the war Hepburn trained as a ballerina and moved to London, where she became an actress in the West End theatre scene before eventually landing film roles.

In 1955, romantic comedy Roman Holiday made the then 23-year-old a star and in 1961 her role as it girl Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” confirmed her as a Hollywood icon.

Hepburn died in Switzerland in 1993, aged 63.

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