Audrey Hepburn was by no means an accidental star, as Meredith Etherington-Smith discovered while going through her personal collection — which includes a series of her highly important, minutely annotated film scripts
After she was told she would never succeed as a ballerina, Audrey Hepburn worked extremely hard at developing her acting skills. She danced in the back row of chorus lines in various London reviews as well as in after-hours cabarets to pay for voice coaching from Felix Aylmer, an English character actor who had played Polonius in Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film of Hamlet, and who would go on to become a dear friend.
The contract below, dated 19 November 1948 and offered in Audrey Hepburn: The Personal Collection on 27 September in London, sets out an agreement for the young actress to be paid £9 a week for two nightly shows of the Jule Styne musical, High Button Shoes.
Aylmer was a great friend of Alec Guinness, who helped Hepburn get a tiny part in the 1951 comedy, The Lavender Hill Mob. She plays Chiquita in a scene in an airport lounge, which sees Guinness call her over and hand her a wad of bills. ‘Oh how sweet of you,’ she coos, and deposits a kiss on his forehead…….