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"Audrey the Icon" on ABC-TV

"Audrey the Icon"


I'm not at all convinced that messing around with icons of our own era on TV is a good idea.

ABC-TV will be doing that next Monday night for three hours straight (8-11 p.m.). And the network has picked a revered icon, and a tough one, to mess around with: Audrey Hepburn.

The difficulty stems from the fact that Hepburn was one of the brightest stars of our age because she was unique: her grace, her poise, that swanlike neck, that elegant air of sublime sophistication. A generation the world round wanted either to mother her ("My Fair Lady") or to marry her ("Roman Holiday") — or at least to live in sin with her ("Breakfast at Tiffany's").

The only person who could possibly persuade us that she's Audrey Hepburn on the screen is, well, Audrey Hepburn. So who has ABC picked to play her on TV? Well ... um ... Jennifer Love Hewitt. (So what's next? Madonna as Eleanor Roosevelt?)

Hepburn's life story is surely worth telling. She was born in Brussels in 1929 with the name Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston; her father was a British banker; and her mother a Dutch baroness. She was educated in the Netherlands, and suffered through oppression and malnutrition there during the Nazi occupation of 1944-45. Later, she took a job as a model, then began making films in 1951.

During a glittering career in Hollywood, she never forgot what it was like to starve, as she had during the war. In 1988, she became a special ambassador for the United Nations and spent the last years of her life, until 1993, working with needy children.

Her story is not merely worth telling — it's inspirational. But Jennifer Love Hewitt? Here's hoping she surprises

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