“Please don’t say I’m self-effacing. You have to face something to be self-effacing.”
AT THIRTY-NINE, HAVING MADE ALL (BUT ONE) OF HER GREAT films, Hepburn retreated into motherhood. Her friend Doris Brynner threw various soirees to cheer her up. But soon enough, after Sean went off to school, the loneliness of Tolochenaz got to her.
She was, after all, single and “available” again—on the strength of which, she now felt free to make a delicate entry into the European jet set. In December 1967, for example, she met Prince Alfonso de Bourbon-Dampierre, a pretender to the Spanish throne, and enjoyed New Year’s Eve with him in Madrid.
But most often, she flew to Rome, the site of her first great film triumph, Roman Holiday. There, she had a guaranteed welcome among friends established over the years—aristocrats who, like her, had time and money on their hands, such as Count Dino and Countess Camilla Pecci-Blunt, who often hosted Audrey in Tuscany in the summers. One of her most loyal Roman friends was Arabella Ungaro, a member of the “impoverished nobility” who these days worked for the Corriere della Sera and later sold a small house on her property to Audrey. Another close friend was Laura Alberti, whom Audrey called “my Roman Connie [Wald].”
They tended to be somewhat older, maternal women, and one of the most important of them to her at the time was Countess Lorean Franchetti Gaetani-Lovatelli, wife of Count Lofreddo (“Lollo”) Gaetani-Lovatelli. She and Audrey met through Lorean’s sister Afdera Franchetti, who was married to Henry Fonda at the time Hepburn and Fonda were filming War and Peace in Rome.
“I usually find cinema people boring,” she says today. “But with Audrey, something clicked, and we became fast friends.” A pillar of the Roman aristocracy, Lorean made her magnificent home available to Audrey regularly from then on—and now more than ever. Melancholy celebrity exiles were her specialty, as the irrepressible Countess Lovatelli recalls:
When her marriage finished, she called me and said, “May I come and stay with you?” I said, “Of course.” She was very unhappy. She believed in marriage. When her marriage didn’t work, she came here to hide. She needed a friend and she needed to be cheered up. She lived for eight months in my house during the divorce. I would give little dinner parties for her and there was always an extra man, but I won’t tell you any names....
She met all Rome through me. Everybody was enchanted by her. While she was staying with me waiting for the divorce, there was the revolution in Greece [December 13, 1967], and King Constantine and his wife had to leave in a hurry. They came to Rome with the mother, Queen Frederika, ran away during the night. They went to stay with Prince Henry of Hesse, their cousin, who has a beautiful villa in Rome. They were very depressed. It was rather gloomy, being kicked out of one’s own country, leaving everything behind.
Prince Henry is a great friend of mine—the nephew of King Umberto. He called me and said, “I have to do something to keep up their morale.” So I gave a little dinner for them to meet Audrey. They were so enchanted with her that they kept coming back! She had just done Wait Until Dark,and Constantino hadn’t seen it, so we screened it privately for them. They loved it. After the film, we went into the kitchen and had scrambled eggs with the king and queen.2
Audrey’s arrival had thrown the Lovatellis’ household staff into some confusion, as the Countess told interviewer John Barba:
“It was the time of the first Mary Quant very, very short skirts and frocks, which Audrey was one of the first to wear here. When she arrived, my maid took her to the guest room and then opened her valises to hang out her clothes. We were in the drawing room chatting, and my maid came and said, ‘Signora, she must have forgotten some valise.’ I said, ‘Why?’ The maid said, ‘Because she only has blouses. I hung up twenty blouses.’ I said, ‘Those are frocks!’ So short. We weren’t used to them yet.”3
The lady beneath the mod exterior was not a very happy one. The Countess has an astrological interpretation of her: “She was a real Taurus—a rather stuffy sign. I’m a Gemini—very flighty. That’s why we went together so well. She was a very loyal, honest, serious person. If she hadn’t been a film star, she would have been a stuffy matron, very normal and ladylike.”
Hepburn was extremely fond of Count Lollo, who was “very Italian,” his widow recalls. “He used to scold her because he wanted her to eat spaghetti and put on weight, she was so thin.” During the first months, she begged not to go out in the evening but gradually acquiesced. “My husband would protect her, and she would hide under his wing when we went out.”
What she much preferred was daytime walking. Lorean calls her “a maniac for fresh air,” always in the company of her little dog. The Countess, presumably, strolled with her?
“As little as possible,” she replies. “I hated walking. I used to follow her with the car. When she came to our house on the Isola del Giglio, every afternoon she would walk to the top of the mountain with my husband and children because I refused. I sat and watched.”
Pundits in New York used to call Greta Garbo “a hermit about town.” Something similar might have described Audrey Hepburn in Rome. But her semi-reclusion there was interrupted in April 1968 by the obligation to appear in Hollywood for the Academy Awards ceremony, at which she was both a nominee and a presenter.
The United States to which she returned was in chaos. Demonstrations against the Vietnam war were becoming more and more violent and, just four days before the Oscars, the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., turned many American cities into riot zones. The awards were postponed for two days, and on April 10, under somber conditions, Audrey handed out the Best Actor award to Rod Steiger for his performance in the racially charged In the Heat of the Night. Audrey, as noted, lost to Katharine Hepburn amid deep sentiment over the death of Spencer Tracy. For the younger Hepburn, it was more of a chore than a triumphant night.
So, too, really, was the evening of the Tony Awards a week later in New York, where she was one of a half dozen recipients of a special lifetime-achievement Tony.bd No one was quite sure why Audrey had been included. “Anyway you look at it,” wrote Rex Reed, “a Tony Award to Audrey Hepburn for deserting the theatre for more money in Hollywood is preposterous.”4
She couldn’t wait to return to the warm embrace of the Lovatellis in Rome, where a fateful encounter awaited her.
AMONG THE GUESTS at one of Lorean’s soirees that May was Princess Olimpia Torlonia and her industrialist husband Paul-Louis Weiller, heir to a French oil fortune. The Weillers fell in love with Audrey on the spot and, before the night was over, invited her to cruise the Greek islands with them the following month. Their yacht and their money offered a service much like that provided by Aristotle Onassis to Jacqueline Kennedy at the same time—and with nothing better to do, Audrey accepted.
Also aboard that yacht in June 1968 was a handsome young psychiatrist named Andrea Dotti, an assistant professor at the University of Rome and director of his own clinic specializing in women’s problems with depression. Dotti was an authority on psychopharmacology—drugs used to treat mental illnesses. Like the fictional Dr. Kildare, he was charismatic, gentle and a good listener. He was nine years younger than Audrey, despite—or because of—which, they took to each other immediately. They would soon be seeing a lot more of each other at the Lovatellis’ Isola del Giglio estate, off the coast of Tuscany, where the Countess was none too pleased about the developing romance:
“She met Andrea, unfortunately, on the cruise, when she ought to have been in my house on the island. She said, ‘I have eight days on Olimpia’s yacht and then I will come.’ So she met Andrea and then came to my house for the rest of the summer, and I had to invite Andrea too. I was very cross. I knew Andrea very well, and I knew he wasn’t the man for her.”5
Born in Naples on March 18, 1938, to Count and Countess Domenico Dotti, Andrea was a playboy as well as a psychiatrist. He claimed to have first met Audrey at age fourteen, during the filming of Roman Holiday, when he ran up to shake her twenty-three-year-old hand and then rushed home to tell his mother he was going to marry her. Allegedly, she was a recurring figure in his pubescent dreams after that. Nowadays, he was the attractive bachelor whom smart hostesses placed next to the likes of Christina Ford at Roman dinner parties. He said he and Audrey fell in love “somewhere between Ephesus and Athens. It was not [that she] came to cry on my shoulder about the breakup of her marriage or that I gave her comfort as a psychiatrist. We were playmates on a cruise ship with other friends, and slowly, day by day, our relationship grew into what it is.”6
If Mel Ferrer was a proud, severe Spanish type of Latin, Dotti was the sensual, laid-back Italian variety.7 “I will continue my career, and after a while all this interest in us will die down,” he said, by way of wishful thinking. “I’m not a public figure and won’t become one. I never think of Audrey as an actress but as a human being. Once anyone meets her, they forget she’s a star.”
His parents’ marriage had ended in a civil annulment some twenty-five years before, leaving Andrea and his three brothers (a banker, an electrical engineer and a sociologist) to a largely fatherless childhood with which Audrey could identify. These days, Andrea’s mother was Signora Paula Roberti, remarried to Vero Roberti, the London correspondent of the Corriere della Sera, and had a few words of her own on the subject of her son’s wedding plans:
“For years and years, he talked of getting married and having lots and lots of children, but he continued to study and think about a career. But when he came back from the cruise, you could see he was in love. He made a film of the voyage and included everybody but Audrey. Love made him too shy even to photograph her....
“Andrea has two distinct personalities.... He would shut himself off for hours to study; then, when his work was done, he would be very witty and social and dying to get out. I always encouraged my boys to have a good time when young.”8
Young and old, Andrea Dotti would take his mother’s advice to heart. He had the dignity of a professional but also an underlying sense of humor, which was highly appealing to Audrey in her unhappy state of mind at the time. “He made her laugh, he made her feel good about herself,” says Robert Wolders.
Wolders believes Audrey was attracted to Dotti “because he was a cerebral man who at the same time did not take life that seriously—not because he was a psychiatrist and could ‘assist’ her. Audrey didn’t have much difficulty understanding herself. She never voiced the feeling that there was any psychological manipulation on his part.” More relevant was Dotti’s large, colorful family—mother, brothers, in-laws—“people Audrey became very close to. This was true, too, with the Ferrers. Her sister-in-law Mary Ferrer stayed one of her closest friends for life. To become part of a family was extremely important to her. Her own family had lacked that kind of closeness.”
THE WORST THING for Audrey, as for most others dissolving a marriage, was the mind-numbing legal haggle over distribution of assets. When the Ferrers’ divorce decree was finally issued, on December 5, 1968, all settlement details were kept under wraps except for the two things that mattered most to her: She got custody of Sean and the house in Tolochenaz (which, in fact, had been purchased by her). Mel would have unlimited visitation rights but could only take Sean out of Switzerland with her permission, and for no more than four weeks a year.
Years later, Ferrer would say, “I still don’t know what the difficulties were. Audrey’s the one who asked for the divorce and started the affair with Andrea Dotti.”9 At the time, however, he was involved with twenty-nine-year-old heiress Tessa Kennedy. In 1971, he would enter his lasting marriage with fourth wife Elisabeth (“Lisa”) Soukhotine, thirty-four, a children’s book editor. They remain together today in Carpinteria, California.
Ferrer never uttered a negative word about Hepburn in public, and Audrey was too thrilled with her new freedom and new romance to harbor any grudge toward Mel.
“Do you know what it’s like when a brick falls on your head?” she said later. “That’s how my feelings for Andrea first hit me. It just happened out of the blue. He was such an enthusiastic, cheerful person [and] as I got to know him, I found he was also a thinking, very deep-feeling person.” The only potential problem was the one all the newspapers and magazines were harping on—age—which she addressed directly:
“I had lived longer than Andrea, but it did not mean I was more mature. Intellectually, he was older than I. His work had matured him beyond his years. Also, we were very close emotionally. So we met somewhere between [his] thirty-one and [my] forty!10 I was afraid of that age difference, that it might be a big handicap to a new relationship, let alone to a marriage.”11
But it was easier to believe that love would conquer all. They conducted themselves and their relationship with discretion, Audrey sometimes flying to Rome and Andrea sometimes flying to Switzerland for their weekend rendezvous. On Christmas, Andrea presented her with a ruby engagement ring and surprised her soon after with a large solitaire diamond ring from Bulgari’s. In the first week of January, their marriage banns were officially posted outside the little village post office in Tolochenaz.
Lorean Lovatelli tried to talk Audrey out of it, “but I didn’t manage it,” she says. “She wanted me to go to Switzerland to be her witness. I accepted. She gave me a beautiful necklace she had made for her witnesses, enamel with a little medal written ‘Andrea and Audrey.’ But at the last moment I called and said, ‘I can’t come. I don’t want to be a witness. Forgive me.’ Andrea was a friend of mine for years before, a very amusing fellow, but she was a sort of fairy princess and needed somebody who understood her. I don’t know the other Dottis. I found Andrea quite enough.”12
Audrey, on the other hand, knew and liked the other Dotti brothers, and they were likewise fond of her. Shortly before the wedding, one of them bluntly advised her: “Don’t marry him. Just live with him.” But it was a very Catholic country, and their plans—plus family pressure—called for children.
On January 18, 1969, six weeks after her divorce from Mel, Audrey Hepburn and Dr. Andrea Dotti were married in a private ceremony in the town hall of Morges, presided over by the town’s clerk of records, Denise Rattaz. Nine-year-old Sean watched his mother and new stepfather exchange vows. Audrey looked perfect, as ever, in a pink jersey ensemble designed by Givenchy, with a matching scarf to protect her from the drizzle outside.
Instead of Countess Lovatelli, Audrey’s maid of honor was Doris Brynner, who knew Dotti and approved of the marriage. The bride’s other witness was Germaine Lefebvre, better known as actress Capucine from the popular Pink Panther series. The groom’s men included the distinguished Italian painter Renato Guttoso—Andrea’s uncle—and loveboat captain Paul Weiller.
At the reception, Paola Dotti Roberti was expansive: “Audrey will be an ideal daughter-in-law. She is such a delicious person, a dream. The age difference doesn’t matter. She has become so much the perfect woman for Andrea that, for us, she doesn’t have any age.”13 Audrey was bubbly, as well. After the ceremony, she phoned Givenchy in Paris to say, “I’m in love and happy again! I never believed it would happen to me. I had almost given up.”14
There would be no formal honeymoon, just a quiet week at Tolochenaz before settling down in Rome. La Paisible would be kept as a weekend retreat and summer home, its staff to be supervised by Baroness van Heemstra, who now lived there year-round. Sean would attend the French Lycée Chateaubriand in Rome.
They were now looking for the perfect Roman home for three, and soon found it: a beautiful penthouse apartment by the Ponte Vittorio, overlooking the Tiber and Castel Sant’Angelo. It was said to have been the home of the mistress of a famous cardinal four centuries earlier, which increased its serendipitous cachet in the Dottis’ minds. There, Audrey settled in to something like domestic bliss—while it lasted. Her greatest joy throughout the marriage was that Sean did not resent or reject Andrea. On the contrary, “the boys” liked each other a lot, thanks to Dotti’s sensitivity and his wise decision to become the child’s friend more than stepfather. “Sean’s already got a father, and a very good father, whom he loves very much,” Dotti would say.
Audrey grew gayer and more extroverted. “Now Mia Farrow will get my parts,” she said cheerfully, “and she’s very welcome to most of them.... After all, I worked nonstop from when I was twelve until I was thirty-eight. I feel a need to relax, sleep in the morning. Why should I resume work and the life I rejected, when I married a man I love, whose life I want to live?”15
She had no interest in being called “Countess,” to which she was rightfully entitled. She was Signora Dotti, plain and simple, and their number was listed in the Rome directory. “I don’t have a secretary, I don’t have attack dogs, I don’t go to parties or official functions, and I answer my own phone,” she said.16 She also did her own shopping and now discovered an up-and-coming young hairdresser who would become a good friend.
Sergio Russo, for a decade, had worked in the famous Parisian hair salon of Alexandre, where Audrey had been a client in her “high” film days. In 1969, Alexandre recommended his former assistant to her, now in Rome, as Sergio recalls:
We had a little corner where we put up a dressing screen, behind which she would be seated for privacy. It was a little difficult because the shop was quite small. I was just beginning. After a few months she said, “Sergio, I am so ugly? You put me behind the thing. Why don’t you take me with other people ?” ...
She came to me not as a film star but as an Italian woman. We spoke in Italian and joked a lot together. She had a nice word for everybody. I worked with her all the years she lived here. She still had her Sabrina kind of short hair in 1969—70, and then she let it grow a bit and be kind of curly. Her hair never required a lot of daily care. Then she did the chignon, very simple. She used to say, “When I do the chignon myself, I use three hairpins. When you do it, Sergio, you use thirty or forty. Why?”17
She and Sergio chatted of everyday things—“the remodeling of the house, a lot about the garden, because we both loved gardens, and we both had a love for birds—she used to have a canary wherever she lived. She was not chatty about her personal feelings. She was British in that way—friendly, kind, but with that reserve of ‘Don’t get too close to me.’ I cannot say what her relations were with her husband. I had too much respect for her. You could see she had a problem, but it wasn’t discussed. I’m not that kind of hairdresser who trades confidences.”18
Their conversation was never intimate until the day when Audrey gently confronted him about the fact that he seemed depressed. “She said, ‘Sergio, I think you need my husband,’ and she made an appointment for me with him. She arranged it. He took care of me.”19
The “problem” between Audrey and Andrea, which Sergio was too discreet to probe, was a three-pronged one concerning sex. In the first place, her private eroticism consisted more of restrained tenderness than of the passionate abandon preferred by an Italian husband. Secondly, though she was nearing the end of her child-bearing years and had always had gynecological difficulties even when much younger, she was now—in May 1969, just four months after her wedding—pregnant again. Finally, on the heels of that exciting news and tending to spoil it, was the persistent rumor that Andrea was seeing other women.
“Rumor” was a euphemism. There was plenty of photographic evidence, thanks to the paparazzi, widely published for all who wished to see. Audrey was not among those who wished to see, but she could hardly avoid all the newspaper and magazine pictures of her husband in the company of some of the most striking and, in some cases, infamous Roman beauties.
Take the jet-set model Daniela Ripetti, for example, a favorite of photographers all over Europe for her guaranteed scandalous behavior on all occasions. She once interrupted a Beatles press conference in Milan to insist that the Fab Four listen to her sing and take her in as their Fab Fifth. Later, she became engaged to Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who died soon after of a drug overdose. She herself had spent nine months in prison on drug charges—and now, she was cavorting with Andrea in the hot nightspots of Rome.20
Dr. Dotti was snapped with many other female companions at the clubs. It was all the more galling to Audrey because she was in Switzerland expecting a baby at the time—a fact loudly trumpeted by the press. In the early months of her term, Audrey happily relaxed at the fashionable Gambrino Beach Club in Rome. But in the last six months, her confinement became exactly that, and on doctors’ orders she stayed in bed or on a couch at La Paisible. It was during that period, predictably enough, that Andrea’s nightlife skyrocketed.
Dotti’s friends offered the creative excuse that what looked like fun and games were really part of his “research” for a book he was writing in his area of expertise—the use of psychotropic drugs for depression in women. “Major tranquilizers, but not LSD,” he clarified. “We dispensed with [LSD] years ago. My approach to psychotherapy is closer to Freud’s than to that of Jung, more physical and emotional than religious.”21
Freudian or Jungian, it was the physical approach that had Audrey worried.
LUCA DOTTI was born on February 8, 1970, by caesarean section at the Cantonal Hospital in Lausanne and named for his father’s youngest brother. If Audrey and Dotti’s family had been annoyed with Andrea for his indiscretions, things were now smoothed over, temporarily, by the joy of Luca’s arrival. Once again, her most precious gift came from Sean: He not only failed to show any sibling rivalry toward the new baby but was actively fond of him and, from the start, developed a strong, avuncular relationship with his little brother that would last a lifetime.
The proud parents soon returned to Rome, where they showed off Luca to the adoring Dotti family and friends, and where Audrey now immersed herself fully in the dual role of mother and doctor’s wife. There was no trace of the star in the woman who pushed the pram in the park, tossed her own special herbal pasta salads, and blended in comfortably with the Dotti family.
Author Dominick Dunne vividly remembers seeing her at “a large and boisterous spaghetti dinner” in Andrea’s mother’s home. “I watched her sit in dutiful daughter-in-law docility, drawing no attention to herself,” Dunne recalled, “while her husband’s mother reigned as the undisputed star of the evening.”22
Journalist Anna Cataldi, who knew all three Dotti brothers and met Audrey through them, felt Audrey was deeply generous when faced with Andrea’s reluctance to give up his practice in Rome and move to Switzerland, where she felt more secure:
“She adored her house in Switzerland, but to a big extent she gave it up for the life she was building for herself and Andrea in Rome. She took the role of the doctor’s wife very seriously. She would help him when the lithium arrived and they had to measure out the doses. One time when Andrea was very sick after an operation—he developed an infection—the person who saved his life was Audrey. She was impeccable with him.
“It was a very strong, complicated relationship. When Audrey started to find out about his infidelity, she said, ‘I’m going away.’ He said, ‘I promise it won’t happen again,’ and she believed him. She later found out he couldn’t be believed, but I think he was genuine when he promised. I never met Mel Ferrer, but I think Andrea was more human. Certainly, he never wanted to promote himself through her.”
Audrey increased her own efforts to make things work. She met him for institutional dinners at the hospital when he had to work late and otherwise accommodated him in every way. She let him and everyone else know she was fascinated by his work:
“It is most interesting being married to a psychiatrist,” she said, and she wanted to hear all about his patients’ case histories—anonymously, of course. Her own two-penny psychiatric theory was that most people’s anguish stemmed from either the reality or the fear of loneliness.
Housewifery, to hear Audrey speak of it, was downright idyllic: “It’s sad if people think that’s a dull existence, [but] you can’t just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It’s the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don’t want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn’t it?”23
Part of the motivation was guilt. It had struck her during Wait Until Dark that she could no longer “take the stress of being away from Sean.”24 From his birth in 1960 to 1967, she regretted missing much of his childhood and, in her highly self-critical way, felt she had shunted him aside to make movies. When Luca was born, she resolved to stay home and dote on him—with the full support of Andrea, in contrast to Mel’s constant pressure to keep working. She would not repeat the “mistake” she felt she made with Sean, who was now almost out of her nest.be
Though Rome was home, a powerful kind of homesickness still lingered for La Paisible, and so she took Sean and baby Luca to Switzerland for the summer of 1970. Andrea visited on weekends and spent the whole month of August there, during which he and Audrey rebonded and rebounded from their rifts.
“If I could have had more than my two sons, if I could have had daughters as well—and dozens of them—then I certainly would,” she said.25 Andrea wanted a larger family, too, but Audrey’s doctor advised against it, telling her, “You shouldn’t tempt the devil.”26
That advice matched Audrey’s own instinct: She always felt profoundly grateful for what she had—but profoundly fearful of losing it. She expressed that in a Vogue interview, romantically titled, “The Loving World of Audrey Hepburn Dotti and Her Family in their Swiss Farmhouse,” reflecting on her wartime experiences and the things for which she was now most thankful:
That my child can eat three meals a day and be free and with no danger of somebody banging on the door. That I’m not afraid of somebody taking Andrea away or that he’s going to be picked up in the street. Or if he’s an hour late, maybe the Germans got him.... These things reassure me that I’m not going to be taken away, or my family taken away, as were millions of others who once lived around us....
Love does not terrify me. But the going away of it does. I have been made terribly aware of how everything can be wrenched away from you and your life torn apart. That’s why I guard against it so much. If I had known very secure nights all my life, if I had never seen or felt the fear of being tortured or deported or blown up into a million pieces, then I would not fear it....
Today there are so many [things], and the more there is, the less I want. The more man flies to the moon, the more I want to sit and look at a tree. The more I live in a city, the more I search for a blade of grass.27
HER LIFE was not entirely a Roman holiday, of course. The paparazzi dogged her and her toddler’s every move. “I could take him nowhere,” she complained, “not to a park, not down the street, not put him on a terrace without paparazzi. [It] really drove me mad ... to have photographers jump out from behind trees and he would be howling because he was so startled.“28 Luca echoed that later. ”I would get very angry,” he said. “I wanted to walk around like other people.”
To escape that nuisance, she and the children spent more and more time at her more isolated La Paisible. Which meant that Andrea, back in Rome, spent more and more time in the clubs and discos—photographic evidence usually appearing in the next morning’s papers. But for that matter, even when Audrey was in Rome, Dotti was often out and about late at night without her. Hepburn, says Rob Wolders, “was humiliated.”29
But she did her best not to show it, stuck doggedly to her home front, and continued to turn down one movie script after another—some of them plums. Offered the tsarina in Nicholas and Alexandra, she left it to Janet Suzman. William Wyler wanted her to play the divorcee in Forty Carats, but the studio would not agree to her request to film it in Rome. (Liv Ullmann finally took the role and Milton Katselas, not Wyler, directed.) It was reported in April 1971 that she would star in a film based on Anne Edwards’s novel, The Survivors, to be directed by Terence Young. But it didn’t happen. Neither did a Ross Hunter film planned for her, The Marble Arch, nor the movie version of Garson Kanin’s novel, A Thousand Summers. Jeanne Moreau wrote and directed a screenplay called Lumière, hand-tailoring a role for Audrey. But Hepburn declined and Moreau did the part herself.
When confronted, through the media, with the disappointment of her fans, she protested, “I’ve never believed in this ‘God-given talent.’ I adored my work and I did my best. But I don’t think I’m robbing anybody of anything.”30
Over and over, to the same question, she replied with variations on the theme: “Some people think that giving up my career was a great sacrifice made for my family, but it wasn’t that at all. It was what I most wanted to do.” Sometimes the replies got a bit testy—or even sarcastic: “Let me put it simply. I have absolutely no desire to work. And it’s not worth going to a psychotherapist to find out why.”31
One defense was to cut down even further on the press’s access to her. “I’m an introvert,” she told Rex Reed. “You’d think after all these years I’d be accustomed to all the fuss, but it never gets any easier.”32 From now on, she would insist on limiting interviews to a thirty-minute maximum. “After that,” she said, “the questions become personal.” She once even canceled a scheduled interview on the Today show because, after so many years in Rome, she didn’t know Barbara Walters and wouldn’t discuss her personal life with a “stranger.”33bf
Audrey now occupied a curious existential and cinematic position, as Warren Harris points out: At forty-two, she and her primary peers—Elizabeth Taylor (thirty-eight), Leslie Caron (thirty-nine), Jean Simmons (forty-one)-were past the ingenue age. The women stars of the moment were Jane Fonda (thirty-three), Vanessa Redgrave (thirty-three), Faye Dunaway (thirty), Julie Christie (twenty-nine), Barbra Streisand (twenty-eight), Catherine Deneuve (twenty-seven) and Mia Farrow (twenty-five). One couldn’t quite see Hepburn in any of the Oscar-nominated roles of 1970: Jane Alexander (thirty-one) for The Great White Hope; Glenda Jackson (thirty-four) for Women in Love, Ali MacGraw (thirty-two) for Love Story, Sarah Miles (twenty-nine) for Ryan’s Daughter or Carrie Snodgress (twenty-four) for Diary of a Mad Housewife.34
It was both her glory and her problem that “she remained a young girl, even in her forties,” said Leslie Caron, who around this time encountered Audrey and sons in Sardinia while Leslie was vacationing there with her own two children. But there was no movie talk. “We [just] compared and admired our respective offspring with motherly pride.”35
Motherhood was indeed her occupation these days, but in 1971 she made a delicate “return,” of sorts, to pictures in the TV documentary special, A World of Love, produced by UNICEF and hosted by Bill Cosby and Shirley MacLaine for broadcast at Christmas. The guest stars represented their state or country to illustrate UNICEF’s work there: Audrey spoke for her adopted Italy; Richard Burton and Julie Andrews for Britain; Barbra Streisand for California ; and Harry Belafonte for Florida. It was, in effect, Hepburn’s first volunteer work for UNICEF.
Three months later, she agreed to one other professional appearance for exactly the opposite reason: lucre, not charity. She made four one-minute TV commercials in Rome for the Tokyo wig manufacturer “Varie” and received the amazing sum of $100,000 for two days work, which she reportedly invested in annuities for Sean and Luca. Written into the contract was a stipulation that the commercials would never be shown outside Japan where—ever since Roman Holiday—she had been a national idol.
She had been absent from the big screen for four years. But she could never be absent from the world of fashion. Her physical image, even in semi-retirement and divorced from movies, retained enormous power and influence, even though the object of all the attention viewed it in a strictly personal way.
“I depend on Givenchy,” she said, “in the same way that American women depend on their psychiatrists.”36 That statement was made on the record, and she meant it. But privately to Lorean Lovatelli, she confided, “Givenchy is so terribly expensive—can’t you tell me of a good dressmaker in Rome?”
“Doesn’t Givenchy give you things?” replied the Countess in surprise.
“No,” said Audrey, “I insist on paying for everything. He pays when he goes to my movies, doesn’t he?”
Lorean recommended a young dressmaker who had made a name for himself in Italy—Valentino [Garavani]. “I took Audrey to him,” she says, “and she loved his designs. Now Valentino is so famous he doesn’t do beautiful things anymore. Now he designs only for rich old women and Japanese.”37
Audrey’s friend New York designer Jeffrey Banks assesses that development in more professional terms:
“When she was married to Dotti, she wore some Valentino. She wore a Valentino costume to the Rothschilds’ famous ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ masked ball, where everybody dressed as their favorite Proust character. I think she felt that since she lived in Rome, it was the right thing to do, and I don’t think Givenchy felt abandoned....
“Givenchy told me that he had not altered the mannequin he made for her in 1954 in four decades. She had the same figure close to forty years later—an amazing thing. It was not a question of conflict or rivalry. It was a question of practicality, especially later when she wasn’t making any money for the UNICEF work she was doing. Givenchy was more for special occasions, the tributes and salutes. Ralph Lauren’s clothes [which she also wore later] were far less expensive and more practical in terms of the things she had to do.bg I think she enjoyed wearing all three men’s clothes.”38
There were a few strands of grey in her hair now—she would never color it. But during the seventies, no less than in the two previous decades, what she wore and how she looked continued to fascinate millions of women, who clamored for her beauty secrets—which were few and not very secret: She washed her own hair every five days with a special shampoo from London trichologist Philip Kingsley. She used the skin-protective makeup products of Dr. Ernest Laszlo. That was about it. No magic formula.
“It’s all in their minds,” she said. “I use [the Laszlo] creams because I have dry skin, and I’m a nut on sleep. If I go without sleep, I feel like I have the flu.... In Italy, I get up early to get Andrea off to the clinic by seven-thirty, and he doesn’t come home until after nine p.m. So we don’t eat until ten and midnight is an early night, but it ain’t early for me. I have to make up for it by taking afternoon naps. I take care of my health, and this world takes care of my thoughts.” 39
“ROME is a cesspool now!” declares the ever-outspoken Countess Gaetani-Lovatelli today. “I’m sorry to sound snobbish, but it’s true. It used to be enchanting, when Audrey was married to Andrea and lived here. Everybody adored her. She was very, very popular.”40
Not everyone agrees. Anna Cataldi says many people in the Dottis’ Roman circle were not only “not nice to her, a lot of them were awful.” It was sad, Anna thought, because “Andrea’s friends fascinated her. Andrea’s group was very different from the movie people. It was European society people like Paul Weiller, who was really a very boring man. She desperately needed to have friends and warmth, but she was the famous actress—‘too much’ for most of them. She didn’t get much friendship. She was so nervous, she made them nervous.” 41
Cataldi remembers the summer of 1972, for example—still fairly early in Audrey’s new life—as a time when “everybody in Rome was having a lot of fun doing Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein,” directed by Paul Morrissey. Warhol, Morrissey and everyone else, it seemed, rented villas in town, Carlo Ponti, Franco Zefferelli and Roman Polanski among them. “It was la dolce vita at the time,” says Cataldi, “and sometimes Audrey was there, too, with Andrea, because he was very social.” But Morrissey was quick to notice she was different from the rest. “She never integrated because she was not a gossip,” he said. In those decadent circles, Audrey was the “straight” one—always up eighty-thirty a.m., perfectly dressed when the shops were barely open, shopping or sending her son off to school while the other Beautiful People in Rome’s exclusive Parioli section were still sound asleep.
In today’s parlance, she was “out of the loop.” Years earlier, she had met Marcello Mastroianni and they had talked most of a night. “I was thrilled,” said Audrey then, “because I’d been dying to meet him for years.”42 But much later, when asked why—despite all her years in Rome—she never worked with the great Italian actors, she replied, “I don’t know people like Mastroianni or Vittorio Gassman very well,” adding that even during War and Peace she and Gassman had virtually no contact.
Cataldi recalls shopping one day with Hepburn in Milan at La Rinascente, a Bloomingdale-type department store, “when a woman approached me and said, ‘Is that Audrey Hepburn?’ I was about to say yes, but Audrey became pale. ‘Don’t tell,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, people will gather around.’ ”
But chef extraordinaire Florida Broadway detected something more akin to approach-avoidance. In her opinion, “Miss Hepburn liked the limelight. She would have the dark glasses on, but she would enjoy it when we’d be out someplace and somebody recognized her. Sometimes I think she made sure that they did, although she was subtle about it.”43
That seemed true, in a way, of Dr. Dotti as well. Unlike Countess Lovatelli and many of Audrey’s other friends, Cataldi was fond of Andrea and much amused by him. In particular, she felt, Andrea was redeemed by his “enormous love for Luca,” who was the idol of both his parents’ eyes: “When we were in Tuscany, Luca broke his arm. It was in plaster, and he was so courageous. Another time in Gstaad in the winter, Luca was about four. All the paparazzi were around him, saying, ‘Ah, you are the son of Audrey Hepburn?’ And little Luca very proudly looked up at them from the snow and said, ‘No, I am the son of Signora Dotti!’ ”44
In the long run, Signora Dotti’s decision to give up all for Luca may or may not have been best for him or for the mother-son relationship. In later years, she would often call Sean “my best friend.” She had dragged him back and forth across the ocean, on and off her movie sets, and yet those experiences seemed to make him a more urbane, secure adult. Luca would have more difficulty finding himself, perhaps somewhat suffocated by her doting, compared to the upbringing of her “buddy” Sean.
In November 1973, Hepburn and Dotti made a rare trip together to New York, where Audrey saw actress Marian Seldes for the first time since they had performed together in Ondine. “What did we talk about? Our careers? No, our children,” said Seldes, who was thrilled when Audrey came to see her in Equus that week. 45 Speculation ran high that Hepburn’s return to the States signaled a new movie, but she insisted she was really only accompanying Dr. Dotti to a medical conference in Washington—which was true.
Around the same time, on a shorter trip, she had a pleasant encounter with another face from her past. “The last time I saw her,” says Lord James Hanson, “was with my wife at the opening of the Aga Khan’s Costa Smeralda Hotel in Sardinia. We didn’t know she and Dr. Dotti would be there. I’d been knighted by that time, and she’d heard of it. She just walked into the room and gave me a little smile and said, ‘Haven’t we done well!’ That’s how she was, always gracious and fun.”46
But she was always anxious to get back home.
“I’m a Roman housewife, just what I want to be,” she said. “Despite what you sometimes read, my marriage is working out beautifully, and watching my sons grow is a marvel. I’m also fully Italian now.... I never was part of Hollywood or anywhere else, and I’ve finally found a place that I can call home.”47
Among many who were curious about the inside of that home was director Billy Wilder. During a visit to Rome, his wife Audrey paid a call on his other Audrey, and when she returned, Billy asked her what the place was like.
“I don’t care who you were—compared to Audrey Hepburn, everybody felt too fat,” says Audrey Wilder. “Most apartments in Rome are so heavy, with those heavy drapes and heavy, ornate paintings and gold. But Audrey’s was totally different—bright and airy, lovely yellow and white. Her draperies were the kind of material that would lie on the floor. They actually draped. All those other apartments looked like lasagna by comparison.”
She gave Billy a detailed report—the colors, the big windows, and so forth—and then finally came up with the precise one-word description she was looking for:
“It’s ‘non-fattening,’ I said—just like Audrey.”48
By JUNE 1975, Sean was a six-foot-three fifteen-year-old and Luca, at five, no longer a toddler. “The happiest I’ve ever been has been in the seventies,” Hepburn said then. “I’m much less restless now, and no longer searching for the wrong values.... I’ve had so much more than I ever dreamed possible out of life—[no] great disappointments or hopes that didn’t work out: I didn’t expect anything much and because of that I’m the least bitter woman I know.... I’ve accomplished far more than I ever hoped to, and most of the time it happened without my seeking it.... I’m glad to have missed what’s been happening in the movies these last eight years. It’s all been sex and violence, and I’m far too scrawny to strip and I hate guns, so I’m better off out of it.”49
She had stayed out of it since 1967—but was about to make her first commercial film in eight years. The screenplay that lured her back was written by James Goldman, who had won an Oscar in 1968 for The Lion in Winter. This one, Robin and Marian, gave similarly ironic but lyrical treatment to the final adventure of a once-swashbuckling couple who could still summon enough energy, and command enough allegiance, for one last stand.
Goldman’s interest in Robin Hood actually predated The Lion in Winter, when he was researching twelfth-century ballads. Audrey had been his first choice for Marian, but it took four years to put the deal together and half a dozen tentative directors, including Arthur Penn and John Frankenheimer. The ultimate choice was Richard Lester, director of A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, The Knack ... and How to Get It, The Three Musketeers and other brilliantly offbeat films that did not particularly appeal to Audrey Hepburn. Film historian Kevin Brownlow sums him up best: “Lester can make a Beatles film, he can make an intimate film like Petulia, and he can do swashbuckling epics. He’s an extraordinary filmmaker, whom one day people will recognize, but too late, of course.”
This project would require less swash and more buckle. Lester recalls its genesis:
[Columbia production chief] Peter Guber came to my office, sat down with a series of three-by-five cards, and said, “Columbia wants to make a picture with you,” which doesn’t happen very often. He started reading off scripts that were in turnaround and other ideas, one of which was “Robin Hood as an old man meets Maid Marian.” I said, “I’ll do it.” He said, “Don’t you want to see a script?” I said, “No, I think I know how to do that.” I instantly thought it was the kind of thing I would like to do and would know how to do.50
Considering that the first film version of the Robin Hood legend was in 1909, it was high time the Merry Men came to grips with middle age.bh How did they finish off their days? Did Marian remain a Maid? Robin and Marian was designed, wryly and perversely, to bring the tale to an end once and for all.
But as Audrey had not worked for years, “It was important that I fit what she had to do into a period that was convenient for her and her children’s school,” says Lester, “and that wouldn’t interfere with their lives.” That was Mission Nearly Impossible—but Lester accomplished it.
“Such a poetic idea, to find out what happened to Robin and Marian,” Audrey enthused. “Everything I had been offered before then was too kinky, too violent or too young.” She liked the idea of playing a woman her own age. Most of all, she liked the reaction she got from Sean and Luca: “They begged me to do the film. They were so thrilled at the idea of meeting James Bond.”
Lester’s initial casting idea was Sean Connery for Little John and Albert Finney for Robin Hood, but the latter was not available. The former, in the end, would be the ideal masculine rogue to complement Hepburn’s ideal femininity.51
Both Robin and Marian were equally pleased with their costars, and Audrey packed her bags for Spain.
“I took Luca with me,” she said, “and he saw the Spanish countryside, played with horses and had a grand time.”52 She arranged for him to take archery and riding lessons from experts on the set and, all in all, pronounced it “a grand experience for a little boy.... He kept saying, ‘Why isn’t Daddy playing Robin Hood?’ I told him that was impossible, and he said, ‘I know why—because Daddy doesn’t have the right suit.”’
Audrey, however, had her problems, starting with the fact that the script handed to her in Spain was very different from the one that had originally sold her on the project. She was especially annoyed by the way she was first informed of it: Upon arrival at the Madrid airport, she caught sight of producer Ray Stark going up an escalator as she was going down. “Hi, Audrey!” he yelled. “Wait ‘til you see the new script!”53
She was also annoyed by the way Richard Lester first greeted her—offhandedly, through the fence of a tennis court, without interrupting his game. “Audrey could get along with Hitler,” said a Columbia executive, “but Lester is not in her scrapbook of unforgettable characters.”54 Due to Lester’s frenetic pace, she could not be accorded her customary star-status arrangements. He shot the picture in a lightning-like thirty-six shooting days.
“I’m prone to be impatient,” he says. “Hard Day’s Night was just under seven weeks. juggernaut was six. Musketeers was seventeen weeks for the two parts, about eight and a half apiece. On Robin, I set out to shoot eight or nine pages a day. There were about fifty pages under a bloody tree, so why not?
“We had a location which suited the temperaments of the cast and, more important, their tax arrangements. There were five members of this distinguished English cast who couldn’t set foot in England for tax reasons. In Nottinghamshire, where Sherwood Forest really is, there are very few trees left that aren’t held up by hope and heavy bits of steel. So we shot in Spain.”
Pamplona, some two hundred miles north of Madrid, “looks like everyone’s idea of what England looked like in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,” says Lester. It had castles and forts much like those of Robin’s time, plus “wonderful old oak trees, rocks, moss, waterfalls, wildlife and wildflowers.”55
Liz Smith, who came on the set to interview Audrey, wasn’t so impressed with the place:
“Pamplona is a man’s town with macho in the air and leftover bull dung in the streets. It is sadly worn-out.... Nowhere evident is the enchantment that Ernest Hemingway wrote about in The Sun Also Rises. This is the last place one expects to find romance—legendary or real.”
The interview took place on a path beside a brook. There, wrote Smith, when Audrey looked about “for a rock most suitable to her bony bottom,” a press agent offered her his Louis Vuitton briefcase as a cushion. She let out a squeal of delight at the appearance of that unlikely item—and talked bravely.
“Robin and Marian was really worth waiting for,” she told Smith, later adding, “There’s a great need in films today for mature women to be seen playing mature women.” Things had changed a lot since she made her last movie, Wait Until Dark, she said. The technical advances were amazing, “and Dick Lester is so fast and unencumbered by ego or dramatics. He is a whiz-bang with his many cameras and single takes.”56
But behind the scenes, she and Lester were said to be having script quarrels. Time reported that Lester kept cutting down on the love story between Robin and Marian, and that Hepburn was fighting to retain some of her best romantic lines. “With all those men,” she was quoted, “I was the one who had to defend the romance in the picture. Somebody had to take care of Marian.”57
Lester denies it: “There was very little dialogue cut. We never had arguments or disagreements about cuts. It’s true that I’m not sentimental in any way, either in life or in my films, and I don’t think Jim [Goldman] was either. The picture is unsentimental, but I think it remains romantic and poignant.”58
What he does not deny is that Audrey was “unaccustomed to working at that speed, and with a multiple camera technique. She had to adapt to that, and we had to try to adapt to suit her.” Her greatest anxiety lay in not knowing how she now looked on the screen after such a long absence, because Lester did not run the daily rushes. “I never look at rushes,” he says. “I stopped in about 1965, and it was important to me that nobody else looked, either. But this was unusual for her. Normally, she did.”59
Adding to her insecurity was the fact that she had not been consulted about the choice of cinematographer—Lester’s friend David Watkin, who preferred unfiltered close-ups that she feared would be unflattering.
“The first thing she said was, ‘When are you doing camera tests?’” Lester recalls, “and David said, ‘You’ll have to take your chances like everyone else, won’t you, dear?’ And she did. It was difficult for her, because she had come from a studio system and she’d been dressed by Givenchy and photographed by the old masters. Here, we had two cameras working so her close-ups were being done at the same time as the long shots, and the scenes were being played theatrically.
“But to her credit, once she knew that this was the way I worked, and that all the other actors were happy with it, she tried to adapt to it, and I think did very well. What we did in exchange was to shoot the angles favoring away from her first. The other actors, like Sean, who liked to work quickly, would go first, giving her a chance, with her back to the camera, to perfect what she wanted to do.”60
Audrey’s initial reaction to Lester’s techniques was the equivalent of a primal scream. “I was literally petrified the first day on the set,” she said. “Even after a few days, I was still shivering and shaking before each take. My hands were clammy. Making movies isn’t like riding a bicycle. It doesn’t all come back to you at once.”61 She would later reflect that “even in the best artistic surroundings, in the end you are still alone.”62 And she didn’t consider these the best surroundings.
But she wasn’t alone on screen. Lester had done her the service of assembling one of the most distinguished casts of British actors ever: In addition to Connery, Robert Shaw (straight from Jaws) was the Sheriff of Nottingham, Nicol Williamson was Little John, Denholm Elliott was Will Scarlett, Ian Holm was King John, and Richard Harris played Richard the Lionheart. She got along famously with them all—best of all Connery, with whom she remained friends for life. Her major offscreen outing, says Lester, was the Sunday that Sean Connery took her to the running of the bulls:
“Someone arranged for an apartment with a balcony overlooking the street, and Sean and Audrey went. I stayed at home curled up in the fetal position, worrying about what I was going to do the next week.” One would think she would have hated anything to do with bullfighting. “But it was just the running. The bulls have a pretty good track record—they kill more than get killed. They charge down the street and people hop about like idiots, blind drunk. It turns out they’re mostly New Zealanders and they get gored so they can go home with a story.”
Pamplona was experiencing a terrible heat wave that summer, and Audrey was among many in the cast who suffered both from the heat and from diarrhea. At one point, she offered fellow-sufferer Denholm Elliott some pills, with the observation, “They may not be the real answer, but they’re a damn good cork. I’ve been using them all week.”63 Lester says “Denholm wouldn’t stay in the hotel with the rest of us and found a monastery that made a rather serviceable red wine. He got into a monk’s cell and decided to stay there because the wine was cheap.”
It was reported that Audrey’s doctors had instructed her to drink beer to keep her weight up. If so, says Lester, “the doctors must have told that to the entire crew, as well.” In general, he doesn’t remember her being in fragile health. On the contrary, the director had evidence that she was quite robust:
“We had a sequence where the wagon turned over in the water, which wasn’t planned. The carriage, as it went across the muddy river, slowly fell on its side. Instead of redoing it, I decided to keep it in and shoot around it. We had Sean fish her out and put her on the bank in the next scene. She was in the water quite a while and managed it very well.”
That scene got a good, cheap laugh in the theaters thanks to the line devised for Robin as he surveys Marian’s toppled wagon in the water: “She never could drive.”
Audrey’s recollection was much less sanguine than Lester’s. “It was actually very frightening even though the water wasn’t very deep,” she said.64 “We very nearly drowned. I was scared to death, stuck under the canvas with that big horse bucking his legs out in front of me, and those nun’s habits got terribly waterlogged and heavy and dragged us down even more.”65bi
Accidents aside, her mood throughout the shooting was upbeat, says Lester, as was his own. But when production was over, he would have—and lose—a major battle with the studio over the picture’s title and the publicity department’s slogan, “Love is the greatest adventure of all.”
“I felt it was wrong to advertise the film as Columbia did,” Lester says. “People expected another Three Musketeers, and when it ends up with the leading characters dead on a bed, they were confused. I always felt the one thing you have to do is to advertise a film accurately, so the audience knows what it’s going to see. When they don‘t, there is a built-in resentment. Jim’s original title was The Death of Robin. Everybody said, ‘You can’t have a film with “Death” in the title—it’s depressing.’ But that’s what people were going to see. ‘Love is the greatest adventure of all’ was not what it was about.”66
In March 1976, Audrey came to the United States for a promotion blitz to kick off Robin and Marian’s premiere in New York. There, the press went crazy over her emergence from retirement, showering her with questions about her “comeback” until her annoyance and defensiveness finally broke through.
“I never ‘retired,’” she said. “I’m not Garbo. I always hoped to make another film. The time was right for me and the part was right, too.... I’m not one of those people who retire and then come back year after year. I’m not making a ‘comeback’ because I never consciously went away. And now that I’ve come back in Robin and Marian, I may not stay back.”67
But, in fact, she had gone away “consciously”—for the very reason she went on to explain to that same reporter: Acting was simply “not that important to me,” she declared, “not all that real. The home is the last stand—the last thing we’ve got.”68 At that New York press breakfast, “her hands shook noticeably and she smoked without letup,” Jim Watters reported.69 But Audrey endured, and pitched the picture in yeoman fashion.
“People associate me with a time when women wore pretty dresses in films and you heard beautiful music,” she said. “Now people are frightened by the movies. Robin and Marian is really about how much two people love each other. It’s an intimate story, and that’s why I wanted to do it.”
Despite her cooperation, Columbia had a serious problem. A private survey had revealed, to the producers’ dismay, that young people—who comprisedmost of the potential audience—weren’t quite certain who Audrey was. Most of them were in the cradle at the time she made Roman Holiday and Funny Face. But everybody knew James Bond—and thus Sean Connery, of the two costars, was the more important draw. His role in Robin and Marian was a major departure from Bond; among other things, he revealed his baldness for the first time. He was now pressed into service for the promotion and came through eloquently.
“I like films that dispel time,” Connery told Liz Smith, “and this appealed to me because not only it’s an interesting legend, but also an examination of the legend. It’s tremendously concerned with dying.70 [Robin] at this point in his life is in his twilight. A ripe old age in his day was anything over forty, and in our film he’s something like fifty But he’s an exceptional man. Remember, Joe Louis only came back for a couple of rounds, but for those two rounds he was as good as ever!”71
A Columbia official put it even more—well, baldly:
“Let’s face it, this is primarily a woman’s film, and women are the ones in our society who usually decide what movies the family sees, right? On Robin and Marian we’re leaning heavy on the romance angle, placing a lot of thirty-second ad spots using the kissing scenes on daytime TV. All the women watching soap operas are going to see themselves in Sean Connery’s arms.”72
The night before the premiere, Columbia threw a lavish, medieval supper-dance at which Audrey nibbled caviar until midnight. The next day, Robin and Marian headlined the big Easter show at Radio City Music Hall, where the Rockettes in white bunny suits frolicked to the tune of “Cocktails for Two” with a dancing chorus of Day-Glo Easter eggs. Audrey drew a standing ovation from the full house of 6,200, and long, rowdy shouts of, “We love you!” From the stage, she told the crowd, “I keep hearing that I am making a comeback. I don’t think of it as that. It is a homecoming.”
Never having seen any rushes, it was literally her first glimpse of the film and her performance as Marian. Asked later what she thought of herself, she replied carefully, “I shall have to see it again before I decide.”73
Nearly everyone else decided that Hepburn and Connery were well matched—“silk and chain mail,” said one critic—and superb together.
At the film’s outset, a disillusioned Robin returns from the Crusades, scarred and exhausted, to find things in very bad shape: Good King Richard Lionheart is off his rocker, and the Sheriff of Nottingham is more entrenched than ever. Marian, the love of his life, has gotten herself to the Kirkely Abbey nunnery for the last eighteen years, and is now its abbess.
Lester and Goldman tantalize us—delaying her entrance for nearly thirty minutes. When it finally comes, Audrey as Marian looks haunting and perfect, and so is Goldman’s dialogue. In her first encounter with Robin, she tells him her confessions were “the envy of the convent.” He says, “I never meant to hurt you, and yet that’s all I ever do.” A pause. “You never wrote,” she complains sadly. “I don’t know how,” he replies.
Their later love scenes are as fascinating as the sometimes bizarre lines. “Hurt me, make me cry!” says Marian before one big clinch. “I’d be twenty for you if I could.... I’d do everything for you but mourn.”
One of the film’s most beautiful scenes belonged to Hepburn and Nicol Williamson:
“You’ve never liked me, have you?” Marian asks Little John.
“You’re Rob’s lady,” he answers with sullen fidelity, and then a quiet afterthought, “If you’d been mine, I would never have left you.”
That scene with Williamson was “one of my favorites,” says Lester. “When we shot it, we had a problem with the film stock, and in theory we should have gone back and shot it again. But I liked the original so much, I just said, ‘I don’t care what it looks like.’ It played right the first time, and often, when you do it again, it doesn’t come up to that original frisson. So I said, ‘To hell with it, we’ll just have it as it is.”’
Marian, as ever, is a pawn in the men’s political games. More than once, Robin goes to her rescue, albeit more creakily than in the olde days. He is the world’s first guerilla warrior, and the peasants still rally to his call. The final duel between him and the Sheriff is the last, sad, slow-motion battle of two aging titans. After a shocking murder-suicide denouement, the film ends on a grimly perfect shot of rotting apples.
Audrey later complained to Rex Reed about that final image, offended by the suspicion that it was designed to symbolize herself and Sean Connery. But there was no denying its impact, or the impact of the film overall.
“Robin and Marian is really a story about loss,” wrote Caroline Latham, in which “Hepburn at last plays the part of a fully mature woman responsible for her own destiny.”
“Am I old and ugly?” Marian asks Robin poignantly at one point. The answer is of course no, but that’s not enough. In the end, rather than see him die in battle or crippled in bed, she commits the ultimate crime. Pauline Kael, for one, was appalled: “When Robin—who has survived body-smashing combat with the Sheriff—is poisoned by Marian, who has also poisoned herself, I was disgusted and angry.”
Frank Thompson, in American Film, was less judgmental on the moral issue: “Robin and Marian is a sad and satisfying hymn to heroism, myth and lost youth.... Hepburn’s Marian is the heart of the film; for once, neither fragile nor innocent. Her performance has steel in it, and a touch of madness.”74
Audrey’s portrayal was the triumph of her late career. Something about Marian inspired her—some identification with a woman who “gives it all up” for the cloisters but, finally, can’t bear the isolation and must return to the world. Marian was spiritually close to Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story.
Richard Lester’s bottom-line characterization of Hepburn was as “a very hard, methodical, almost mechanical performer who worked at it very much the way dancers would, in that everything was blocked. Audrey was not the kind of person to whom, in the middle of a scene, you would suddenly throw a prop from off-camera and expect her to catch it with her left hand, carry on, and do a number with it.”75
Robin and Marian was a jaundiced view of the heroism business among the formula-ridden action genres of the seventies. “It turned out to be much more of a success than we all realized at the time,” said Audrey. “It had marvelous notices, but it was never ‘commercial.’ ”76 Yet it holds up remarkably to the test of time now—and of Time then:
“Audrey Hepburn has not made a movie in seven years. The moment she appears on screen is startling, not for her thorough, gentle command, not even for her beauty, which seems heightened, renewed. It is rather that we are reminded of how long it has been since an actress has so beguiled us and captured our imagination. Hepburn is unique and now, almost alone.”77
After the New York premiere of Robin and Marian, Audrey flew to Hollywood for the Academy Awards ceremony, at which she was to present the Best Picture Oscar. Again as so often “out of the loop,” she had to ask a reporter which movies had been nominated and, when informed, said, “Oh, yes—I have seen Nashville and Jaws.”78 (The other nominees were Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)
Her appearance March 29, 1976, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, in a dazzling pink Givenchy gown, drew a standing ovation. She was genuinely excited to announce Cuckoo’s Nest as the winner, having known Michael Douglas, its producer, from his boyhood. Douglas later said that getting the award from Audrey was more important than the award itself. Jack Nicholson—named Best Actor for the same film—felt similarly. He considered Hepburn one of the few “un-phony” actresses of the times.
She was escorted that night by Dr. Dotti. Later, after the ceremony, they decided to skip the Governor’s Ball in favor of Swifty Lazar’s legendary Oscar bash in Beverly Hills. Swifty told her he’d seen Robin and Marian and that she would be the guaranteed winner of next year’s Oscar race.
But when the time rolled around, she never even got a nomination.
As ALWAYS, she was glad to get back home—for all its drawbacks. “It’s difficult to live in Rome nowadays,” she said, “but my roots are here now.”79
She had agreed to be interviewed again by Jim Watters for People in the living room of her friend Arabella Ungaro’s Monti Parioli home. Suddenly, the hostess rushed off to get them a glass of mineral water, apologizing that “there’s not one drop of tap water in my house today.” It was a typical aggravation of life in even the best parts of Rome. “From June to November I had no hot water,” Audrey chimed in. “I had to bathe at my husband’s office. You might say I went to Spain last summer to make Robin and Marian just so I could take a bath!”80
A much worse vexation was in vogue: kidnapping for ransom, to which the rich and famous in Rome were prey. Most notorious was the abduction—and grisly ear-slicing—of J. Paul Getty III. The danger was constantly, almost obsessively on her mind.
“It’s a very anguishing period in Rome,” she told Rex Reed. “They’re even kidnapping tourists for $50 apiece, ransacking apartments and breaking into cars.... Some do it for political reasons, some for money, and [some just] for kicks. Two years ago, the joy of Rome was to walk around in the streets at night.... Not anymore. The whole world has changed.”81
She was alarmed by a warning, evidently from the police, that Sean and Luca were being followed in the streets of Rome. Next came a serious of intimidating phone calls—for Audrey, the last straw. At dawn one morning, a car drew up at their home and took her and the boys at high speed to Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Two hours later, Sean and Luca were safely ensconced at La Paisible, where Audrey decided they should stay indefinitely, enrolling them in an exclusive academy at Le Rosey.82
She now had the stress of commuting even more frequently between her boys in Switzerland and her husband in Rome, since Andrea reiterated his refusal to give up his clinic and teaching in Rome. Audrey’s fears for him increased—for good reason.
In broad daylight, as Dotti was leaving his clinic on the Via Ettore Ximenes, four men in ski masks jumped from a Mercedes and tried to drag him into the car. He struggled and got clobbered on the head with a gun butt but made enough noise to draw the attention of two guards outside the nearby Egyptian Embassy. The assailants fled. Dotti was taken to a hospital for seven stitches in his head.
Audrey was in Switzerland when it happened, and Dotti’s close call confirmed and fueled her worst fears about Rome. From then on, she lived in a state of increased terror for him, for herself, and for the boys. Her insecurity—and a certain tension—came to the surface in a bantering but revealing way during the only joint interview she and Andrea ever did, in 1976, for McCall’s. Asked if he thought Audrey’s childho .d under Nazi terror in Holland accounted for her fear of loss, psychiatrist Dotti replied with his belief that the search for security and the search for love go hand in hand.
“It’s difficult to have both,” said Andrea, “especially for women, since security is based on a fixed social and economic situation, a status quo with prearranged agreements or contracts, while love is wild, unfixed, unpredictable.... No doubt Audrey’s childhood experiences intensified these drives.
“She’s a perfectionist, with a strong need for security. She must have matters under control and she’s afraid of surprises. For example, if she has to go to Geneva next month, she buys the ticket now. I do it the day before, and maybe then I’ll change my mind and go to Sardinia.”
Audrey interrupted him: “No, love, you wouldn’t fly off anywhere, because for Sardinia there’s always a waiting list.”
Dotti responded brightly: “She’s right—absolutely! So you see, we’re good for each other. We compensate. I’m a curious Pisces and she’s Taurus with both feet on the ground. That’s very good for a marriage.” He paused, with a twinkle in his eyes. “But for a love affair, Cancer is best.”
Audrey: (coolly) “How exciting. Do tell us more.”
Andrea: “She’s composed of categories, like boxes. It’s either good or bad. It can be done or it can’t. In between, we don’t discuss. That’s good, too, since it makes for great mental economy.”83
During the six weeks of Robin and Marian shooting, she had returned as often as possible to Rome on the weekends to be with Andrea. That still left him many free weeknight evenings to kill in the nightclubs, but she was tolerant to a fault:
“He’s done it all his life. It’s not as if all of a sudden he’s breaking out at the age of thirty-seven to go to nightclubs. It’s his way of relaxing, and I think it’s important for him to feel free. I don’t expect him to sit in front of TV when I’m not there. It’s much more dangerous for a man to be bored.”84
But the photographic reports of his infidelities hurt almost as much as the final miscarriage she now suffered, at age forty-five.
By way of consolation, her sons were making excellent progress at school. For distraction, she had only to go to her mailbox and ponder the endless stream of scripts submitted to her. Now and then one would cause her to linger wistfully. One such was the offer of female “lead” in Richard Attenborough’s all-male war epic, A Bridge Too Far (1977), with Dirk Bogarde, Michael Caine, James Caan, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Ryan O’Neal and a battalion of others. Attenborough wanted her to play Kate ter Horst, a Dutch national heroine and mother of five who turned her home outside Arnhem into a secret hospital for the Allies. But Audrey could not bear the thought of re-creating the horror and violence of her girlhood.bj
Most of the time Audrey could look back at the final result of such rejected projects as Bridge Too Far and feel she had been correct to decline. But “the one that got away” was Herbert Ross’s The Turning Point (1977). She was deeply intrigued by the part of the aging ballerina star and ideally suited to it because of her dance background. She would have been teamed with Shirley MacLaine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne. But Anne Bancroft had evidently been cast in the part by the time Audrey learned of it. By another account, Hepburn was offered her choice of roles in the film but refused. In any event, she didn’t appear in the picture—and always regretted it.
Also lamented was a project dear to the heart of her friend Anna Cataldi, who had spent a great deal of time in Africa, fallen in love with the continent, and wanted to do a movie about Karen Blixen (“Isak Dinesen”), the author of Out of Africa.
“The first person I contacted was Audrey,” Cataldi recalls. “I went to Switzerland in 1977 and spent a few days with her, and she told me she wanted to do it. She knew everything about Isak Diniesen. But there were several dif ferent proposals for this movie. She said, ‘If you want to do it, the person I would like you to see is Fred Zinnemann,’ who had done Nun’s Story with her and knew Africa. I went to London and had several meetings with him and discussed Out of Africa. Then Audrey said, ‘Now go to Los Angeles and meet Kurt Frings.’ And that was awful. He said, ‘You want to put my client in a stupid adventure movie? Forget it. Audrey will never do another movie.’ ”85
DIRECTOR TERENCE YOUNG described the elaborate danse macabre of approaching Audrey Hepburn with a movie project, in general, and with his current project, in particular:
“First of all you spend a year or so convincing her to accept even the principle that she might make another movie in her life. Then you have to persuade her to read a script. Then you have to make her understand that it is a good script. Then you have to persuade her that she will not be totally destroying her son’s life by spending six or eight weeks on a film set. After that, if you are reallylucky, she might start talking about the costumes. More probably she’ll just say she has to get back to her family and cooking the pasta for dinner, but thank you for thinking of her.“86
Anna Cataldi was just as persistent as Young, if ultimately not as persuasive. Refusing to give up on Audrey’s participation in Out of Africa, she shook off Kurt Frings’s first rebuff and, the next day, made a second stab and called Frings again.
“I’m rushing to Paris,” he told her. “Audrey is doing a fantastic movie!”
Cataldi was aghast. “Yesterday you said she would never work again,” she protested.
“But this is an extraordinary movie,” Frings replied, “with a fantastic cast. Givenchy is doing the clothes!”87
When Out of Africa was eventually made in 1985 by director Sidney Pollack, Cataldi got credit as an associate producer and the film won many Oscars, including Best Picture. But it would be Meryl Streep and not Audrey Hepburn in the lead role.
The picture she made instead, and the one Frings was so enthused about, was Sidney Sheldon’s Bloodline (1979). The self-promotional title of that trashy bestseller pretty much told the whole story: She had chosen a blatantly commercial mish-mash over a host of worthier offers under the pressure of Terence Young and the enticement of a cool $1 million (plus percentage) for just six or seven weeks’ work. Bloodline was a multinational coproduction designed, in large part, to provide its American and European investors with a tax shelter. Much of its $12-million-dollar budget would end up in the pockets of agents and travel bureaus. But that wasn’t Audrey’s concern.
At the time, it seemed like a great deal. In retrospect, it wasn’t nearly enough. A certain cynicism about the whole project prevailed, as Nicholas Freeling detected when he interviewed her at that time in Rome, in a story called “Audrey Hepburn at 50”:
The professionals of the movie industry do not want acting from Audrey Hepburn. Leave that to Liv, dear. We have $4 million here [on Bloodline] in pre-production costs and not a camera has yet turned.
Halfway through the interview comes a knock at the door. An Italian photographer with a bunch of stills. “These pictures have to go off today... Come and look at them with me.” [She] switches on a strong light above her head and examines them through a glass with a lamp built in. She is in profile to me.... On the curves of her jaw and cheekbones is a fine down. Her throat muscles are strongly corded and the whole of the celebrated neck has the intensely plastic, exaggeratedly anatomical modelling, full of movement of a Michelangelo drawing....
It is obvious that the illusion of youth, around the eyes, demands a skilled make-up artist.
[But] why on earth did she take this film?88
The answer was complex: First of all, money. Andrea’s earnings were respectable but insufficient to support the family in the style to which they were accustomed. Second, her longtime friendship and confidence in director Terence Young, who felt he had a certain “right” to her in view of the huge success of their Wait Until Dark. When he gave her Sheldon’s book, she failed to read it; she only knew that her role was fairly small and that she would not have to “carry” the film herself. Third, the shooting locations would be close to home—mostly at Rome’s Cinecittà, with runouts to Munich, Copenhagen and Sardinia.
The final factor was perhaps the most significant: a last-ditch effort to make Andrea mend his ways. It was the worst period of her marriage to Dotti, and her friends were unanimously encouraging her to get out of the house. In the past, she had threatened to go back to work if he did not stop seeing other women, but Andrea did not believe her.
This time, however, the press was rough on her. The London Sunday Times, for example, filed an acerbic report from Munich where, in November 1978, she flew for four weeks of shooting:
For the last three years Audrey Hepburn has done nothing more strenuous than strain spaghetti for her family: “I lead such a full life at home. I’m just like most women, caught up in household duties that keep me very busy....”
When she needs a match for a cigarette, the look on her face is like a deer on a rifle range. Clearly, if Hepburn hadn’t brought along a friend from Rome [Arabella Ungaro], she’d feel completely lost on this set.... In conversation I had no trouble believing her claims to ordinariness.... For her, an interview seems as much of an ordeal as trying to convince a camera that she’s 35.89
“I never gave a thought to the question of my age when I was asked to do this film,” she maintained—but the producers did. Her role had been rejected by Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton, among others, but Young “flattered her into believing she could pass for fifteen years younger” and assured her that the script “only needs ten pages changing” to conform to her age.90 Such was the novel’s depth! Sheldon dutifully rewrote it to make her thirty-five instead of the original twenty-three.
Bloodline was Sheldon’s second novel to be filmed. Producers David Picker and Sidney Beckerman bought the screen rights for $1.5 million and hired Laird Koenig (author of the fine Jodie Foster film, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane) to write the potboiler screenplay about industrial intrigue and murder. It had an international all-star cast to ensure a profit on the Continent. The one superstar was Audrey. There was James Mason for the British. Gert Frobe and Romy Schneider would make the Germans happy. Omar Sharif was an ersatz Italian. Irene Papas would please the Greeks. Ben Gazzara, Beatrice Straight and Michelle Phillips might draw in the Americans.
Heroine of the turgid tale was Audrey, a paleontologist who is first seen in Bloodline in the act of cleaning a dinosaur—symbolic of her task in the film. She is the object of a grand conspiracy, but her romantic involvement with Gazzara and most other elements of the plot end up submerged in random violence and a series of pornographic “snuff-film” murders.
When Hepburn finally realized, in mid-production, just how sleazy the film was really going to be, she complained—too late—to Frings, who told her sex and violence were necessary these days for a hit film and she should adjust to the times.
Audrey’s periodic brushes with death are heralded by Ennio Morricone’s corny “suspense” music, while an even cornier soprano chorus accompanies her romantic moments with Gazzara. Audiences didn’t know which to dread more, the brushes with death or the bad dialogue of the love scenes: “Isn’t it instantly plain to the naked eye I’m in love with you?” she tells Ben.
The ending is a combined rip-off of Wait Until Dark and Charade-cut phone lines, flames engulfing her house, Audrey forced to decide whether the real culprit is Mason or Gazzara.
The final credits clear up the most compelling question:
“Miss Hepburn’s jewels by Bulgari.”
DURING BLOODLINE shooting, Audrey told a British journalist that Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, with Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann, had moved her to tears. She identified powerfully with the introspective Ullmann character, “inwardly turned and tortured, psychologically crippled.” Audrey knelt on the sofa, arms outstretched, miming the girl’s anguish, then added a soft non sequitur: “I am a very interior person.” There was an unspoken sense that her own career had run into a dead end.91
On Bloodline location in Sicily, Audrey had several bodyguards, said a cast member, “until she realized that even kidnap by the Mafia would be preferable to having to finish this script.”92 The critics were correspondingly merciless.
Variety: “It’s a shock to see Hepburn playing a role that even Raquel Welch would have the good sense to turn down.”93
New York Daily News: “Bloodline offers the chance to see Hepburn on the screen again but under what rotten circumstances. As a team, she and Ben Gazzara evoke no spark, no charisma.”94
Denver Post: “Hepburn is showing the passage of time.”95
Devastated by the reviews, Audrey wondered if she’d lost her touch for picking winners. What remained of her confidence was deeply shaken. It occurred to her that Mel’s input, overbearing as it often was, was something she rather missed.bk
The only thing more disastrous than Bloodline was her marriage, whose instability hadn’t been helped by reports during filming that she and Gazzara were becoming involved. Ben (né “Biago”) Gazzara was a year younger than Audrey, a product of Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio and, for a while, thought to be a potential new Brando. He’d starred on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Hatful of Rain and had a hit TV show, Run for Your Life (1965-68). He was separated from Janice Rule at the time he and Audrey met, and their relationship became the object of great press speculation during Bloodline.
But an “affair”? Her friends, and possibly Audrey herself, relished the rumor for giving Andrea a taste of his own medicine. But if her brief infatuation with Gazzara was anything serious or profound, Hepburn never mentioned it—then or later—to her confidantes Connie Wald or Doris Brynner or anyone else.
Andrea was, in fact, disturbed by the Hepburn-Gazzara gossip, but not enough to renounce his ways. His extracurricular socializing continued unabated, and so did the Roman public’s fascination with him. His favorite haunts were Bella Blue, Rome’s most chic private nightclub, and Jackie 0, just 150 meters away. The man who knew and followed his movements most closely—and whom Dr. Dotti loathed above all others—was a genial working stiff named Tony Menicucci.
“I am not a paparazzi!” Menicucci declares in Rome. “I am a photojournalist. Paparazzi shoot people when they are shopping or with friends—unimportant times.” Menicucci shoots them when they’re somewhere, or with someone, important. That is his legal right, he declares, going on to defend it at length. It’s a sensitive issue—and his occupational hazard. But as one of Europe’s greatest celebrity catchers, he is proud of his work, in general, and of his extensive knowledge of Dr. Dotti’s nocturnal habits, in particular. Typically, he says:
Dr. Dotti went to the movies at eight p.m., then to eat about ten-thirty, then the nightclub. He very much liked the nightlife—to stay up after work, go to the clubs and meet a girl. At one-thiry or two, he’d leave. I took my pictures a lot at two to three a.m., when people were coming out of the clubs. He went mostly with other women, not with Audrey. I remember only one time Audrey went to “Jackie O” with him. She didn’t like to go out. With Audrey, he went only to restaurants, where they stayed two-three hours, to eat slowly. To the clubs, he went with married and single women both.96
What was it about Dr. Dotti that so many women loved?
“I don’t know,” the photographer replies. But, it seems to have been his mind more than his body, and Dotti, in turn, seems to have been more interested in their company than in sex. Says Menicucci, with the investigative certainty of a Woodward-Bernstein: “I know he didn’t take them to his house.”
Even if Audrey knew that, it was small consolation to her in view of the immense publicity, for even a partial list of Dotti’s outings and the women who appeared on his arm in those days is staggering. On an elegant Roman coffee table, Menicucci lays out an immense stack of photographs of Dr. Dotti taken during his marriage to Hepburn: Some are with Luca and Sean and Audrey. A few are with such celebrities as Ringo Starr and Olivia de Havilland. But most are with the beautiful young women “who were important in his life then,” Menicucci says, of whom the following are but a Whitman’s Sampler:
Actress Daniela Trebbi (1979, et al.); Lupua Yerni and actress Karin Shubert (1979); Countess Coppotelli Latini at Bella Blue (1979); actress Christiana Borghi, one of Dotti’s favorites, in Bologna and Rome (1980, et al.); Beatrice Corri of Italian TV and French actress Carol Andre (1975); Manuela Croce (1976); actresses Dalila Di Lazzaro and Marinella Giordana (1978); Countess Iliana Coritelli Lovatelli (Lorean’s daughter) at Bella Blue (1980); actress Marilù Tolo (1982).
The pictures go on and on.... They appeared in Novella, Ava Express, Stop, Oggi, Gente, Gioia, Annabella and Paris-Match, to mention only a few.
Menicucci’s most dramatic encounter with Dotti produced “a sentiment that was not friendly,” says the photographer, with a classic Italian shrug. “Son of a bitch!” Dotti yelled at him. “Don’t you ever go to sleep? I don’t want pictures!” With actress Dalila Di Lazzaro, especially, he became as “wild as a hyena” and would run to his car in an effort to hide her.97
Anna Cataldi felt it was “as if Andrea somehow wanted to provoke Audrey. It was a neurotic relationship. Audrey was a strong person. She set limits and was rather inflexible, and Andrea suffered for that. But Andrea had a rather schizophrenic personality. One side was looking for glamour. The other was a serious person who was a good doctor, a good father, a brilliant man. I think his relationship with Audrey had the same schizophrenia. One part of him was very impressed with the ‘Audrey Hepburn’ glamour but also battling against it. The other part had a real relationship with a real human being.
“Andrea had enormous respect for her. ‘Audrey is a very straight person, very honest,’ he would say. But Andrea destroyed Audrey’s dream to have a little family and house when Luca was born. He disappointed her enormously and had some kind of rebellion against her.”98
Some of the Dottis’ mutual friends were struck by Andrea’s attentiveness to Audrey in many ways. Others, such as actor David Niven, were struck by the opposite:
“When Audrey married Dotti and was swept off to Rome, she was, I think, determined to be a very good wife to this very socially minded Roman, [but] the longer it went on, many people felt she was much too good for him and that he took incredible advantage of her and that she gamely played the wife of the social Roman and really let her career just stand still, on purpose, to help him.”99
Billy and Audrey Wilder’s opinions are always of interest.
“He didn’t make any impression on me,” says Mr. Wilder.
“They didn’t go together,” says Mrs. Wilder. “You look at two people and you say, yes or no, and this was no.”100
Hepburn’s friend Camilla Pecci-Blunt thought the same, even though, like Anna Cataldi, she knew and liked Andrea very much. “It seemed to me they didn’t belong together at all,” says the Countess. “They just led very different lives. He was a very good father, and he has grown up a great deal since then. But he was rather childlike in those times.”101
Eli Wallach has the last word: “She seemed to have a tendency to get involved with men who didn’t take good care of her. I don’t know exactly what happened, but when she married that Italian psychiatrist, she went dotty.”102