Sunday, May 4, 2008

Audrey Hepburn

1929 - 1993

Today would have been Audrey Hepburn's 79th birthday. I've always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the history of film -- equal parts sexy and classy to a degree no one else has managed to attain. Both Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman bear a strong resemblance to her, but neither is as, umm, well, the word "hot" comes to mind.

Anyway, Hepburn led an amazing life, the details of which many people know: lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, fashion model, international film star, humanitarian aid worker. She probably did more than 99 percent of us ever will to make the world a better place. And yet, she came from that sordid den of iniquity and antithesis of everything good and right in American life, Hollywood. A similar statement could be made about George Clooney, or Kirk Douglas -- in fact, many actor-producers who decided to do more than pull in easy paychecks -- or any of the many producers who, behind the scenes, got socially important films covering vital topics in front of the masses, sometimes at great financial cost to themselves. Clooney didn't need to make Good Night and Good Luck; Douglas didn't need to make Spartacus, or at least, didn't need to make it the way he did; nobody needed to make Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? or In The Heat Of The Night, but people in crazy Hollywood put themselves on the line and got those films made.

Yet Hollywood is derided and marginalized as the land of the liberal, lunatic fringe while upstanding, civic-minded people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Michael Savage and Ann Coulter are paid millions to shout out angry, hateful noise. It isn't done to criticize such people as Coulter, no matter how hateful her rhetoric, and when she is mentioned by a non-fan, it's usually to excuse and/or defend her. There's a baneful, lunatic fringe in America, and it can be found in a lot of places besides Hollywood. But nobody's lookin'.

As an aside, one of the great mysteries of life to me is that Hepburn was divorced. Twice. Who in the world could walk away from that? Maybe them Hollywood people are crazy, after all.