Audrey Hepburn was honored as a bewitching actress who enchanted fans as a princess in "Roman Holiday" and a Cockney flower girl in "My Fair Lady."
"Suddenly there was that dazzling creature, looking like a wide-eyed doe prancing through the forest," recalled Billy Wilder, who directed Hepburn in "Sabrina" in 1954. "It took exactly five minutes for everybody on that set to fall in love with her."Wilder was one of a dozen actors and directors who spoke Monday at the Lincoln Center Film Society tribute to the 62-year-old actress.
Hepburn's big break came in 1951 at age 22 when she appeared on Broadway in "Gigi."
Her first major role in a movie, "Roman Holiday," (1953) followed. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a princess who goes out on the town incognito and falls in love with an American reporter.
"It was my good luck during that summer in Rome to be the first of her cinema swains, to hold out my hand and help her keep her balance as she did her spins and pirouettes and made practically everybody in the world fall in love with her," said Gregory Peck, who played the reporter.
She thanked those who "gave so much to a skinny broad and turned her into a marketable commodity."
Hepburn was born in Belgium to a Dutch baroness and a British banker who divorced when she was a child. She suffered from malnutrition growing up during World War II in Nazi-occupied Holland, a childhood she said prepared her for her work as UNICEF's goodwill ambassador.