Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto - review by Valerie Grove

Valerie Grove

Not Just A Pretty Face

Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn


Hutchinson 249pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Most showbiz biographies make me apprehensive: Donald Spoto’s prolific output (Hitchcock, James Dean, Marilyn, Ingrid Bergman, Jackie O) seemed to indicate only the most superficial and commercial interest in his celeb subjects. But this is a scrupulous and exemplary work of its kind. The enchantment of the title is the effect Audrey Hepburn had on everyone: in one rare creature, peerless beauty was matched by grace of character. She genuinely preferred motherhood to the trappings of stardom. Spoto treats her with kid-gloved admiration: the enchantment survives, unalloyed.

Hepburn was the daughter of ‘the Baroness Ella Van Heemstra’ – one of those mysterious European titles – who married an Englishman named Ruston. Both worked for Mosley’s Blackshirts, and Ruston walked out when his daughter was six. (Audrey sought him out later, and – typically – sent him monthly

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