Watch Audrey Hepburn Make Her Film Debut in a 1948 Travel Documentary

Watch Audrey Hepburn Make Her Film Debut in a 1948 Travel Documentary

May 07, 2013

Not many Hollywood actors make their film debut in a documentary, but there have been a few over time. Ten-year-old Steve Martin was unintentionally in Disneyland Dream, Rod Taylor performed in reenactments for the commemorative short Inland with Sturt and, while not his first movie appearance, Arnold Schwarzenegger sort of broke out with Pumping Iron. Orson Welles got his first film credit as narrator of Joris Ivens's The Spanish Earth, though his voice was actually replaced with that of Ernest Hemingway. 

Audrey Hepburn similarly was initially captured on celluloid for a nonfiction work: 1948's Dutch in Seven Lessons. This postwar travelogue from eventual Oscar winner Charles van der Linden and Heinz Josephson had its premiere on this day 65 years ago (although some sources say the film opened earlier, in March of the same year). Hepburn, then possibly still going by Audrey Hepburn-Roston, was 18 at the time and studying ballet in Amsterdam when she got the gig as a KLM stewardess for the brief featured role. Reportedly she earned 50 guilders (about $29).

It wasn't her ambition to be in movies yet, as she was about to leave for London to further her dancing career, but when that profession didn't pan out she was encouraged to pursue acting. Within three years she began finding parts in the British film industry, including her first major supporting role as a ballerina in the 1952 drama Secret People.

Celebrate the 65th anniversary of Audrey Hepburn's movie career by watching her true film debut in a nonsubtitled clip below.




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