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Robert Wolders on Audrey and UNICEF

Dutch actor and businessman, Robert Wolders, was Audrey's companion on all her UNICEF missions. Here he talks about Audrey and her work for UNICEF.

All of us who loved Audrey feel she left us much too young. The fact is that any age would have been too young. Our only consolation is that her life was full and complete, distinguished by its humanity and serenity.

In the six years since she is gone I have become ever more aware of how many lives Audrey touched. I am moved to find that to many she is a reflection of what we hold most dear; kindness, generosity, charity and humility. People loved her for the right reasons, and she was deserving of that love. I consider myself blessed to have been allowed to discover how deep her soul was in its total commitment to life.

Audrey sensed very early in her life and career that self-worth based on fame or beauty is very short lived and so she remained forever herself-realistic, aware and caring. When she observed injustice she used her presence and energies to draw attention to those issues she felt deeply about. Especially to what ultimately became her greatest concern, the welfare of children.


Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wolders meet President Regan

She worked for UNICEF because she was touched by the role they had played in her own life, but it wasn't just benevolence on her part. There was a passion to it.

When she chose to go where the conflict was the greatest she didn't go as 'Audrey Hepburn, film star', but as a woman, as a mother, as someone who cared profoundly about her fellow-man. There is no doubt that Audrey's heart felt pleasure on behalf of children helped raising the world's consciousness but, as she would remind us, we need to do much more.Her message was clear - heartbreakingly clear - the neglect and humiliation of a child by adults is a killer of trust, of hope and of possibility.

Audrey said she didn't believe in collective guilt but she did believe in collective responsibility. By taking on her part of that responsibility she proved that compassion is not an empty word and that kindness is not an illusion.Audrey never strove or hoped to leave a lasting legacy with her films, she was too modest for that. But what I think she would have wanted, had she been given more time, would have been to continue her work on behalf of children because she knew what is a task with much to be accomplished. The knowledge of having inspired those close to her to continue that task would have been greatest reward.

Next Page: Short Biography of Audrey Hepburn

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