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Audrey Hepburn Timeline 1980 - 1993

Audrey found companionship with Dutch actor Robert Wolders, and found her most important role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.


Audrey decides on a small role in Peter Bogdanovich's comedy, They All Laughed, filmed in Manhattan. Sean Ferrer doubles as production assistant and has a small acting role.

September, and Dotti's stepfather announces the long-anticipated news that the marriage between Audrey and Dr. Dotti is officially ended. Audrey has already met Robert Wolders with whom she finds much common-ground, from mutual interests to similar European backgrounds.

News of her father's serious illness brings Audrey and Wolders closer together as he accompanies her on the emotionally difficult trip to Dublin to visit him for the last time. He dies three days after their arrival.

Wolders would eventually move in with Audrey at La Paisible. By now Audrey is looking after her elderly mother, now a frail invalid.


The Dotti divorce is finalized, although Audrey doesn't make any attempt to legalize her relationship with Wolders.

Wolders accompanies Audrey to Los Angeles for the American Film Institute Tribute to Fred Astaire, as well as to other parts of the world on other missions.


On August 26, Baroness Ella van Heemstra dies at La Paisible at the age of eighty-four. It leaves Audrey bereft: "I was lost without my mother. She had been my sounding board, my conscience. She was not the most affectionate person—in fact there were times when I thought she was cold—but she loved me in her heart, and I knew that all a long. I never got that feeling from my father, unfortunately."


Sean Ferrer is married, making Audrey a mother-in-law, although the relationship only lasts until 1989. Audrey attends the ceremony with Wolders, while Mel is also present in the company of Lisa, his wife of fourteen years. As parents of the groom, Audrey and Mel dance together for the first time in seventeen years.


Audrey is among notables interviewed for Directed by William Wyler, a well-received documentary tribute produced by Wyler's daughter.


Audrey makes the television movie, Love Among Thieves, opposite Richard Wagner. It attracts mostly negative reviews and is Audrey's last starring role.

Audrey is officially appointed Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, an organization she'd previously helped with fundraising events. With both sons now living away from home (Luca is now living with his father in Rome), the role reflects her ability to now devote herself more fully to this work.

In her new UNICEF role, accompanied by Wolders, Audrey visits Macao and then Japan, after which requests pour in from UNICEF committees all over the world requesting her appearances. Before the end of the year she also visits Ireland.


Audrey spends much of the year on field-trip assignments for UNICEF—visiting some of the worst-affected places in the world. Much of this work is very hard, especially in third-world countries, where situations are frequently dangerous as well as rugged. In March, Audrey's first field-trip assignment is in Ethiopia, where the world's attention is desperately needed to help prevent millions from starving. In August, Audrey's visits Turkey, which is followed by another trip in October to South America.

Starting this year, and running each year until 1992, Audrey hosts with Roger Moore the Danny Kaye International Children's Special in Holland, which is broadcast worldwide and draws enormous donations.


In February, Audrey travels to Central America, pleading the case for children in a series of meetings with chief executives from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

In April, Audrey, representing UNICEF, testifies in Washington, D.C. before the House Select Subcommittee on Hunger. Just days after this, Audrey is in Sudan overseeing UNICEF's work there.

Of her work for UNICEF, Audrey once said: "I have been given the privilege of speaking for children who cannot speak for themselves, and my task is an easy one because children have no political enemies. To save a child is a blessing: to save a million is a God-given opportunity."

In October, for her next UNICEF work, Audrey travels first to Bangkok before going on to Bangladesh.

At the end of the year, Audrey agrees to a cameo role in Steven Spielberg's Always, playing an angel. It will be her last screen performance.


Audrey hosts the PBS Special The Fred Astaire Songbook. Gardens of the World also airs and Audrey makes an appearance at a Manhattan store to sign copies of the book which accompanies the series.

In June Audrey makes her second congressional appearance, to urge a boost in aid for Africa.


At the Academy Awards ceremony Audrey presents an honorary Oscar to Indian director Satyajit Ray.

September, and Audrey travels to war-torn Somalia. Audrey would later say, "I walked into a nightmare": the country is in anarchy, and most of the population starving.

After Somalia, Audrey and Rob return to Switzerland. Before her next few engagements, and a planned Mediterranean holiday, Audrey wishes to see Sean and so they fly to California, first staying with friend Connie Wald. Audrey's abdominal pains—which had begun perhaps as early as before their leaving for Somalia—had become intense, but her doctors had only suspected an amoebic infection. At the insistence of friends and family, Audrey undergoes testing at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Three days later, on November 2, Audrey is operated on for colon cancer.

Audrey's sons join her as she recovers from the surgery, however she wishes to spend Christmas back at La Paisible in Tolochenaz, and a private jet is arranged to take her back. Audrey will spend the last months of her illness at La Paisible, occasionally strong enough for short walks in her beloved garden.

Before leaving Los Angeles, Audrey receives news from the Screen Actors Guild that she is to be the January recipient of the SAG Achievement Award—later accepted on her behalf at the ceremony by Julia Roberts. When back in Switzerland, she receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom for 1992 for her UNICEF work, delivered in person by the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland.


Around New Year's, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that Audrey will be given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the ceremony in April. It would be accepted on her behalf by Sean Ferrer.

On January 20, four months before her sixty-fourth birthday, Audrey Hepburn dies at home in her sleep.

She is buried in the cemetery at Tolochenaz-sur-Morges on January 24. In attendance at the funeral, as well as her two sons and Rob Wolders, are her brother Ian Quarles von Ufford, Dr. Andrea Dotti, Hubert de Givenchy, executives of UNICEF, actor friends Alain Delon and Roger Moore, and Mel Ferrer. Maurice Eindiguer, the pastor who had married Hepburn and Ferrer thirty-nine years earlier, presides over the funeral.

Next Page: Audrey Hepburn UNICEF Overview

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