A Tribute to Audrey Hepburn

"Audrey makes my soul fly. She opens me up to beautiful feelings" - Director Stanley Donen
Audrey Hepburn
Memorial Tribute to Audrey Hepburn
By UNICEF - April 27, 1993

Concert artists, stage and screen entertainers, family, friends and colleagues from around the world gather at the United Nations this Friday to pay homage to the life and work of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn.

The memorial tribute to Ms. Hepburn, who died of cancer 20 January, will open at 6:30 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber with "Gloria" by the American BoyChoir and Atlantic Brass Ensemble.

Opera stars Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos and Terry Cook, violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, cellists Yo Yo Ma and Myung-Wha Chung are among the celebrities who will pay tribute to Ms. Hepburn.

A 15-minute film highlighting Ms. Hepburn's activities in behalf of children worldwide will be the centrepiece of the tribute. Personalities who will make statements, read Ms. Hepburn's favourite poetry selections or perform during the 90-minute invitation-only ceremony, also include Cicely Tyson, Barbara Walters, Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte, Hugh Downs, the Tokyo String Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Daisy Egan, Michael Tilson Thomas and Henry Mancini. The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros-Boutros Ghali, will deliver a special statement.

The UNICEF Executive Director, Mr. James P. Grant, will use the occasion to announce the establishment of the Audrey Hepburn Memorial Fund. The Fund was created to keep alive her dream of basic education for the war-traumatized and emergency-stricken children of Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Tax-deductible donations can be made through the New York Metropolitan Committee for UNICEF.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Grant praised the contribution Ms. Hepburn made to the achievement of universal child immunisation and in raising the level of concern for children on the world's agenda. Recounting the "instantaneous bond" she would establish with children on her visits around the world,he said: "She modestly denied giving much; on the contrary, she told us, again and again, that she was the one on the receiving end, and how the courage and dignity of the children and the mothers strengthened and uplifted her."

The Academy Award winning actress was named Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 1989. In that capacity, Ms. Hepburn made more than 50 trips, most recently to Somalia, often under difficult and dangerous circumstances.

"Hers was a message of hope and global concern for the children of war and the children of poverty, that other war against the body and spirit," Mr. Grant said.

Much suffering was relieved and much hope proffered through the countless media interviews, public speaking engagements, personal phone calls and visits to people and institutions of influence and power Ms. Hepburn undertook, Mr. Grant noted.

"If people are still interested in me, if my name makes them listen to what I want to say, then that is wonderful," she often said. "I am not interested in promoting Audrey Hepburn these days. I am interested in telling the world about how they can help."

Ms. Hepburn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush last year. She also received the Humanitarian Award from the Congress on Racial Equality, the Screen Actor's Guild Award and was presented posthumously with the Academy Award for Humanitarian Service at the Oscar ceremony earlier this month.

A whole day of tribute to Ms. Hepburn is planned for Tuesday, May 4, when she would have been 64 years old. The event will begin with a memorial service at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. This service will be open to the public.

Details of a United Nations televised tribute, broadcast on April 27, 1993.

Thanks to the curator of Aardvark, Armadillo & Fruitbat (no longer online) for this information.

A Tribute to Audrey Hepburn