Andrew Sachs, the
actor who rose to fame in Fawlty Towers has died at the age of 86
after a four year battle with dementia.
The actor, best
known for playing hapless Spanish waiter Manuel in John Cleese's
sitcom, passed away in a care home last week, his wife has revealed.
Melody Sachs, who
cared for him in his final years, disclosed he had suffered vascular
dementia, losing his capacity to speak and write in later life.
She said: "He
had the best life, and the best death you could ever have."
Sachs won a place in
the nation's hearts for his role in Fawlty Towers, where he played a
clueless Spanish waiter who became the butt of John Cleese's jokes.
His catchphrase, "I
know nothing", and Basil Fawlty's dismissive "He's from
Barcelona" have gone down in British comedy history, with the
1970s sitcom regularly voted among the best-loved BBC programmes ever
Despite his stellar
career, Sachs is remembered in recent years for being the innocent
victim of a BBC furore in which presenters prank called him.
In 2008, Jonathan
Ross and Russell Brand made an obscene calls to him in which they
joked about Brand sleeping with his granddaughter Georgina Baillie.
More than 500 people
protested to the BBC, which was forced to apologise to Sachs for
these "unacceptable and offensive" remarks.
In 2014, Sachs said
he remained "disgusted" by the incident, with his wife
telling the Daily Mail the episode had been "absolutely
The newspaper last
night reported the actor had been battling dementia for the past four
years and died in a care home last week.
"My heart has
been broken every day for a long time," she said, adding that
the actor had remained positive to the end.
"I never once
heard him grumble. It wasn’t all doom and gloom; he still worked
for two years.
"We were happy,
we were always laughing, we never had a dull moment. He had dementia
for four years and we didn’t really notice it at first until the
memory started going.
get really bad until quite near the end. I nursed Andrew, I was there
for every moment of it."
Mrs Sachs said her
husband had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012. The
disease, the second most common form of Alzheimer's, in characterised
by the often sudden loss of language, speech and memory, along with
Mrs Sachs said the
actor only lost his capacity to speak in the last few weeks, after
suffering three bouts of pneumonia. He spent eight months in a care
home, in which his family would read to him and enjoy summer in the
sorry for me because I had the best life with him," Mrs Sachs
said last night. "I had the best husband and we really loved
about Andrew is that I never once heard him grumble, I never found
him once without a smile on his face.
as daft as brushes, we were married for 57 years. We loved each other
very deeply and it was a pleasure looking after him. I miss him
His co-star Cleese
paid tribute to him on Thursday night, saying: "Just heard about
Andy Sachs. Very sad.... I knew he was having problems with his
memory as his wife Melody told me a couple of years ago and I heard
very recently that he had been admitted to Denham Hall, but I had no
idea that his life was in danger.
"A very sweet
gentle and kind man and a truly great farceur. I first saw him in
Habeas Corpus on stage in 1973. I could not have found a better
"If you meet
Andrew you would call him almost retiring, very quiet, almost
academic, studiously polite," he said. "Then suddenly he
clips on his moustache and something else in his personality just
Cleese, 77, the
co-creator of the 1970s sitcom, told Radio 4's Today programme on
Friday he was in "a little bit of shock" by the news.
He said acting with
Sachs was "like playing tennis with someone who is exactly as
good as you are".
wins and sometimes you win but somehow there's a rapport and it comes
from the very deepest part of ourselves. You can work on it, but in
our case we never had to work on it, it all happened so easily."
Cleese added that
Sachs "turned into a completely different human being" when
wearing his familiar Manuel moustache.
Asked of his
favourite scene with Sachs in Fawlty Towers, Cleese told Today it had
been The Kipper and the Corpse - episode four of the second series of
the hit comedy.
"I think that
was some of our very best physical comedy and working out all that
stuff like getting the body into the basket and getting it out again
I think that was so much fun.
you come across someone who loves physical comedy and although he was
such a quiet demeanour, Andy absolutely loved it. "He was
Cleese said he last
saw Sachs "eight or nine months ago" when they were being
He said he realised
then he "wasn't totally present" but added the news of his
death was "a little bit of a shock".
knew his memory was not so good, despite that he was very special."
Born in 1930
Germany, Sachs fled the Nazis with his family in 1938 and eventually
settled in North London.
He married Melody,
who starred in one episode of Fawlty Towers herself, in 1960, going
on to have three children.
Beginning his acting
career on BBC radio, he went on to appear in The Saint, Randall and
Hopkirk and The History of Miss Polly, with guest appearance in
Casualty and Doctor Who.
He worked into his
80s, when he appeared in a live tour of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
The actor died on
November 23, the Daily Mail reported, with family and close friends
commemorating him in North London yesterday.
Blackadder actor and
comedian Sir Tony Robinson paid tribute to his "true friend".
He wrote on Twitter:
"So sad that Andrew Sachs has died. A true friend and a kindred
spirit. I still have the wonderful baby pictures he took of my
Samuel West, whose
mother Prunella Scales starred alongside Sachs in Fawlty Towers,
added: "Creator of one of our most beloved EU migrants. Such
warmth and wit; impossible to think of him without smiling."
Comedy writer Edgar
Wright said Sachs "spun comic gold as Manuel in Fawlty Towers".
Enid is a 2009 British
biographical television film first broadcast on 16 November on BBC
Four. Directed by James Hawes it is based on the life of children's
writer Enid Blyton, portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter. The film
introduced the two main lovers of Blyton's life. Her first husband
Hugh Pollock, who was also her publisher, was played by Matthew
Macfadyen. Kenneth Darrell Waters, a London surgeon who became
Blyton's second husband, was portrayed by Denis Lawson. The film
explored how the orderly, reassuringly clear worlds Blyton created
within her stories contrasted with the complexity of her own personal
Bonham Carter on being Enid Blyton
and appalling." Helena Bonham Carter talks about how she was
drawn in by the writer’s creative fire – and her dark deeds.
There is a scene in Enid, the
BBC’s new biopic of Enid Blyton, where the children’s author,
played by Helena Bonham Carter, is asked by a radio journalist how
she maintains the balance between work and motherhood.
children need their mothers,” she replies, before the camera cuts
away to show her two neglected daughters at home, listening to the
broadcast in a state of sombre bemusement. “Mothers are the heart
of any household. I try to spend as much time with my children as I
possibly can while also fulfilling my professional duties. It is
tricky, but I think I manage it.”
chuckles as she quotes these lines in our own interview in a London
members’ club. She has something of an affinity for Blyton and
thinks these words will do as her personal response to the same
question. Although, she concedes, her six-year-old son Billy may beg
to differ: “Bill threw my script to the opposite end of the room
just before I started filming, saying, ‘I like you but I don’t
like what you do ’cos it takes such a very long time.’”
It’s a coup, of
course, that the BBC has persuaded a film star of Bonham Carter’s
standing to appear in a low-budget biopic. “I did it for the
money,” she says with a grin, in a jest that is almost cruel. The
frenetic 15-day shoot suggests otherwise. The 43-year-old actress, a
one-time Oscar nominee for The Wings of a Dove, is more used these
days to working in the lavish Hollywood productions of her partner,
director Tim Burton. She has recently finished work on his Alice in
Wonderland adaptation, due for release in the spring, in which she
will play the Red Queen.
Bonham Carter is
perhaps the biggest name so far to join the honourable list of actors
who have starred in these TV one-offs. Ken Stott, David Walliams and
Anne Reid are among those that went before her. And coming after
Enid, completing a trio of films on idolised British women, will be
Jane Horrocks playing Gracie Fields and Anne-Marie Duff as Margot
Fonteyn. The salient feature of all these pieces – and the real
draw for such quality casts – has been the writing. “It’s sort
of ironic,” says Bonham Carter, “but I always find the better the
script the less money you have to do it and the less time.”
Blyton’s is a
corker of a story, and this is the first time it’s been turned into
a straight drama, after a drama documentary in the early 1990s. The
film’s director, James Hawes, is adamant that his feature is,
“Neither a hagiography nor a hatchet job”, although the woman
that scriptwriter Lindsay Shapero has created here would strike most
as first and foremost a vindictive egotist.
Early and sudden
fame in the 1920s (“She was the JK Rowling of her day – and then
some,” says Hawes) went quickly to Blyton’s head and she soon
lost interest in her downtrodden publisher husband, Hugh Pollock
(played here by Matthew Macfadyen). She struggled to bond with her
younger daughter, Imogen, whomshe left to scream in her cot. “She
put the baby in a cupboard and carried on writing and it all fell
apart,” as Bonham Carter neatly summarises.
parties were adulterous Blyton persuaded Pollock to take the rap when
they divorced, on the promise he would have unlimited access to the
children – then refused to let him see them again, telling everyone
her second husband, surgeon Kenneth Waters, was their father. She
then contacted the major London publishers and used her literary
clout to get Pollock blacklisted, so destroying his career. She also
pretended her mother was dead because she hated her so much. There’s
more, but too much will spoil the story.
The film was made in
consultation with Blyton’s main biographer Barbara Stoney and
Imogen, the surviving daughter, and the essential facts are easy to
corroborate. It doesn’t even venture into the terrain of her
possible lesbian affair, which received press attention a few years
ago when Pollock’s second wife Ida went public with her own version
of why Blyton’s first marriage collapsed.
But just as over the
decades public opinion of the literary skills of the creator of
Noddy, the Famous Five and around 750 further titles has yo-yoed, so
Blyton can’t be painted only as unpleasant. The biopic encourages
our sympathy through its depiction of Blyton’s difficult childhood:
her father, a cutlery salesman, abandoned the family when she was 13.
Her uterus stopped growing at the same age and, at the time, it was
thought that this could prevent her having children. The parental
trauma is a key reason why Bonham Carter herself finds the author
“appealing as well as appalling”.
“Her writing was
possibly a response to her father leaving her,” she explains. “That
sort of painful encounter with reality meant that she wrote a world
that was much more comfortable. My father fell really chronically ill
when I was 13 and that’s when I phoned up an agent and started to
act. So I had a very similar response and have always had great
comfort from living imaginatively.”
But surely all
Blyton’s deceits regarding her own family – she once pretended
her dog was still alive when it wasn’t; she eulogised her
womanising father – they’re not living imaginatively, they’re
pathological fantasy? “Yes, her fantasy was so divorced from
reality she was virtually insane,” says Bonham Carter. “It is
very hard to have that creative force married to a totally sane
couldn’t be more different from Blyton in real life. Demonstrating
her customary disregard for fashion, the flouncy, lacy, multilayered
get-up she wears for the interview includes bloomers, while her hair
is a bird’s nest of a quality that any member of the Famous Five
would be proud to discover. She looks about 25 and engages with
candour with nearly every subject thrown at her. She says she only
read a little Blyton growing up “but I’m reading Noddy to Billy
now whether he likes it or not,” she laughs (she has another child,
Nell, but she’s too young even for Blyton).
“And he does like
it,” she adds. “All the things people criticise her for, such as
repetitive language, he loves it, it makes it really easy to read.”
She points out that all the racism that so bothered detractors during
Blyton’s critical nadir in the Seventies has been taken out these
days, and the sexism doesn’t seem too bad.
“When you write
for very young children what they want is something familiar and safe
and stereotyped. They want to know where they are… Lots of subtle
and very intelligent friends of mine say, ‘Thank God for Blyton,
she brought me up.’”
Blyton, whose books
still sell around 8 million a year, is having a resurgence generally
at the moment. Last year a survey found her Britain’s most popular
author. The ex-Children’s Laureate Anne Fine recently made a Radio
4 programme in her defence. So she’s not the hate figure she once
was. Enid comes out at an apposite time then, although, despite
Bonham Carter’s defence of her, the film is unlikely to further
endear the author to the nation.
TV drama reveals Enid Blyton as a barking-mad adulterous bully …
On paper, the world
of Enid Blyton was one populated by happy, carefree children whose
idea of bliss at the end of an adventure-filled day was a slice of
plum cake washed down by lashings of ginger beer.
The setting was an
idyllic Britain, one of thatched cottages and lych gates, a fairytale
time, in an age of innocence.
But the creator of
Noddy, the Famous Five, the Secret Seven and Malory Towers was in
truth a cold-hearted mother and a vindictive adultress who set out to
destroy her former husband.
Barking mad: Enid
Blyton will be played by Helena Bonham Carter (right) in a new
revelations, which will dissolve the image of Blyton conveyed by her
753 much-loved books, are part of a brilliant new television biopic,
starring Helena Bonham Carter as the author.
At first glance,
Blyton's life seems unlikely material for gripping drama, as much of
it consisted of her sitting at a desk, knocking off 10,000 words a
day. Her books sold 600million copies around the world and made her
extremely rich and famous. Her works still sell eight million copies
But Blyton's home
life at her cottage, Old Thatch, near the Thames at Bourne End, then
at Green Hedges, a mock-Tudor house in Beaconsfield, was nothing like
as idyllic as the picture she tried to create.
In spite of the
children's nursery, crumpets for tea, Bimbo the cat and Topsy the
dog, all foisted on the public in convenient photocalls to project
the Blyton brand, the truth was more conflicted.
Enid Blyton pays a
visit to Victoria Palace in 1958 to meet some of the young artists
who will portray her characters in Noddy In Toyland
Fairytale time: The
author pays a visit to Victoria Palace in 1958 to meet some of the
young artists who will portray her characters in Noddy In Toyland
favourite: Blyton's Famous Five books are still delighting young
readers across the world
self-awareness was brilliant and she was incredibly controlling,
too,' explains Bonham Carter. 'I was attracted to the role because
she was bonkers. She was an emotional mess and quite barking mad.
'What I found
extraordinary, bordering on insane, was the way that Enid reinvented
her own life. She was allergic to reality - if there was something
she didn't like then she either ignored it or re-wrote her life.
'She didn't like her
mother, so let her colleagues assume she was dead. When her mother
died, she refused to attend the funeral. Then the first husband
didn't work out, so she scrubbed him out.
'There's also a
scene in the film where her dog dies, but she carries on pretending
he's still alive because she can't bear the truth.'
remained a little girl, stuck in a world of picnics, secret-society
codes and midnight feasts. It acted as a huge comfort blanket.
Many of Blyton's
obsessions can be traced to her father, who left her mother when Enid
was 12. She then seized up emotionally and physically.
'It was my job to
understand how she became like this in the first place, not to judge
her,' explains Bonham Carter.
'When Enid consulted
a gynaecologist about her failure to conceive, she was diagnosed as
having an immature uterus and had to have surgery and hormone
treatment before she could have children.'
Blyton with her daughters Gillian and Imogen
The irony was that
when she finally did have two daughters, Gillian and Imogen, with her
first husband, Hugh Pollock, she was unable to relate to them as a
She loved signing
thousands of letters to her 'friends' the fans, encouraging them to
collect milk bottle tops for Great Ormond Street Hospital to help the
war effort, and even ran a competition to name her house, Green
But her neighbours
said Blyton used to complain about the fearful racket made by
She was distant and
unkind to her younger daughter Imogen and there was clear favouritism
in the way she privileged her elder daughter Gillian, who died two
years ago aged 75.
74, says: 'My mother was arrogant, insecure and without a trace of
maternal instinct. Her approach to life was childlike, and she could
be spiteful, like a teenager.'
prefers to remain private, she did visit the set to advise Bonham
Carter. 'We had email correspondence before Imogen visited the set.
We agreed that I wasn't going to try to impersonate her mother
because this is a drama,' says Helena.
sensitive, but was very supportive and gave me a few tips, such as
how her mother did everything at immense speed because she was ruled
by the watch. Enid's domestic life was seen as an interruption to her
writing, which was her escapism.'
There is a poignant
scene in the film where Blyton holds a tea party at home for her
fans, or 'friends' as she preferred to call them. But her daughters
are banished to the nursery.
'Enid is one of the
kids at the Famous Five tea parties - the jelly and ice-cream are as
much for her as they are for her fans,' explains Helena.
significant that when her daughters go to school, a large mannequin
of Noddy - her new child - arrives in the hall to take the place of
husband, Hugh, called her 'Little Bunny' and adored her. He helped
launch her career after they met when he was her editor at Newnes,
Blyton's first book,
Child Whispers, a collection of poems, was published in 1922. She
wrote in her diary soon after meeting him: 'I want him for mine.'
They were married
for 19 years, but as Enid's career took off in the Thirties, Hugh
grew depressed and took to nightly drinking sessions in the cellar
while Enid managed to fit affairs in between writing.
deteriorated and Hugh moved out. She mocked him in later adventure
stories, such as The Mystery Of The Burnt Cottage, as the clueless
cop, PC Theophilus Goon.
After a bitter
divorce, she married surgeon Kenneth Darrell Waters, with whom she
had a fulfilling sex life.
Although the drama
shows Blyton's flirtatiousness - she entertained servicemen to dinner
at the house while her husband was away at war and found them and
their attention attractive - directors chose to omit some aspects of
Blyton's apparently sensual side, such as visitors arriving to find
her playing tennis naked and suggestions of a lesbian affair with her
children's nanny, Dorothy Richards.
But the drama, which
has been given the thumbs-up by the Enid Blyton Society, does
highlight the author's cruel streak. When Hugh remarried, as she had
done, Blyton was so furious that she banned her daughters from seeing
According to Ida
Crowe, who later married Hugh, Blyton's revenge was to stop him from
seeing Gillian and Imogen, and to prevent him from finding work in
publishing. He went bankrupt and sank into depression and drinking.
Ms Crowe, 101, is
using her memoir, Starlight, published this month, to break her
silence on her feelings towards Blyton, whom she portrays as cold,
distant and malevolent. Ms Crowe confirms that during her first
marriage, Blyton embarked on a string of affairs, including a
suspected relationship with nanny Richards.
Yet Blyton could
never forgive Hugh for finding happiness of his own when their
66, daughter of Ida and Hugh, says: 'My father. was an honourable man
- not the flawed, inconsequential one which was the deliberate
misconception perpetuated by Enid.'
Ida and Hugh met
when she was 21 and he was 50. In her memoirs, she describes him as
'shatteringly handsome' - tall and slim with golden hair and blue
After Ida narrowly
escaped death in an air raid, she says, Hugh asked for a divorce and
Enid agreed. The memoirs claim, however, that Hugh agreed to be
identified as the 'guilty' party in the divorce in return for an
amicable separation and access to their daughters.
But Rosemary says:
'This agreement was a sham because Enid had no intention of allowing
him any kind of contact with either of the girls. She even told
Benenden, the girls' boarding school, that on no account was their
father, who was paying the bills, to be allowed near them.'
Ida and Hugh married
within days of the divorce being granted in October 1943. Gillian and
Imogen were 12 and eight. Rosemary got in touch with her half-sisters
after Enid's death in 1968, at the age of 71.
'Gillian said the last time she saw her father was when they were
walking to Beaconsfield station and she had this awful feeling she
was not going to see him again.
'She said that on
her wedding day, she looked around the church and hoped her father
would turn up. My father said he was devastated not to have been
invited to Gillian's wedding.'
Rosemary has also
accused Enid of wrecking Hugh's literary career. 'Enid was capable of
many vindictive things and she didn't want her former husband
occupying a prominent position in London publishing, a world she
'My father had to
file for bankruptcy in 1950 because he couldn't find work. She also
put out a story that he was a drunk and an adulterer, and that he had
made her life a misery.
even wrote to my mother three years after they had both remarried,
saying: "I hope he doesn't ruin your life as he did mine."
'My father did
drink, but it was in order to numb the pain. I never heard him
criticise Enid. He would praise her remarkable talents.'
Certainly, Blyton is
enjoying a renaissance. Disney UK is planning a new, animated feature
called Famous 5: On The Case, in which the children of the original
Five, and a dog, enjoy some new adventures.
She was also named
Britain's best-loved author in a poll last month.
her mother's success to the fact she 'wrote as a child with an
adult's writing skills'.
Despite her private
life, no amount of detraction will diminish Blyton as one of
Britain's great writers who shaped millions of childhood
imaginations. Although it may be harder for the adults they grew into
to imagine what the creator of Noddy got up to in real life.
On 28 August 1924
Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock, DSO (1888–1971) at
Bromley Register Office, without inviting her family. Pollock was
editor of the book department in the publishing firm of George
Newnes, which became her regular publisher. It was he who requested
that Blyton write a book about animals, The Zoo Book, which was
completed in the month before they married. They initially lived
in a flat in Chelsea before moving to Elfin Cottage in Beckenham in
1926, and then to Old Thatch in Bourne End (called Peterswood in her
books) in 1929.
daughter Gillian, was born on 15 July 1931, and after a miscarriage
in 1934, she gave birth to a second daughter, Imogen, on 27
October 1935. In 1938 Blyton and her family moved to a house in
Beaconsfield, which was named Green Hedges by Blyton's readers
following a competition in her magazine. By the mid-1930s, Pollock –
possibly due to the trauma he had suffered during the First World War
being revived through his meetings as a publisher with Winston
Churchill – withdrew increasingly from public life and became a
secret alcoholic. With the outbreak of the Second World War, he
became involved in the Home Guard. Pollock entered into a
relationship with a budding young writer, Ida Crowe, and arranged for
her to join him at his posting to a Home Guard training centre at
Denbies, a Gothic mansion in Surrey belonging to Lord Ashcombe, and
work there as his secretary. Blyton's marriage to Pollock became
troubled, and according to Crowe's memoir, Blyton began a series of
affairs, including a lesbian relationship with one of the children's
nannies. In 1941 Blyton met Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters, a London
surgeon with whom she began an affair. Pollock discovered the
liaison, and threatened to initiate divorce proceedings against
Blyton. Fearing that exposure of her adultery would ruin her public
image, it was ultimately agreed that Blyton would instead file for
divorce against Pollock. According to Crowe's memoir, Blyton promised
that if he admitted to infidelity she would allow him parental access
to their daughters; but after the divorce he was forbidden to contact
them, and Blyton ensured he was subsequently unable to find work in
publishing. Pollock, having married Crowe on 26 October 1943,
eventually resumed his heavy drinking and was forced to petition for
bankruptcy in 1950.
Blyton and Darrell
Waters married at the City of Westminster Register Office on 20
October 1943. She changed the surname of her daughters to Darrell
Waters and publicly embraced her new role as a happily married and
devoted doctor's wife. After discovering she was pregnant in the
spring of 1945, Blyton miscarried five months later, following a fall
from a ladder. The baby would have been Darrell Waters's first child
and it would also have been the son for which both of them longed.
Her love of tennis
included playing naked, with nude tennis "a common practice in
those days among the more louche members of the middle classes".
began to deteriorate in 1957, when during a round of golf she started
to complain of feeling faint and breathless, and by 1960 she was
displaying signs of dementia. Her agent George Greenfield
recalled that it was "unthinkable" for the "most
famous and successful of children's authors with her enormous energy
and computer-like memory" to be losing her mind and suffering
from what is now known as Alzheimer's disease in her
mid-sixties. Blyton's situation was worsened by her husband's
declining health throughout the 1960s; he suffered from severe
arthritis in his neck and hips, deafness, and became increasingly
ill-tempered and erratic until his death on 15 September 1967.
The story of
Blyton's life was dramatised in a BBC film entitled Enid, which aired
in the United Kingdom on BBC Four on 16 November 2009. Helena Bonham
Carter, who played the title role, described Blyton as "a
complete workaholic, an achievement junkie and an extremely canny
businesswoman" who "knew how to brand herself, right down
to the famous signature".
de Givenchy - To Audrey with Love / exhibition
Haag – 26 November 2016 / 26 March 2017
Some of Hubert de
Givenchy's most beautiful creations were born from his wonderful
friendship with Audrey Hepburn. On and off the big screen, Audrey
Hepburn brought to these clothes her exceptional charm: Sabrina
(1954), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), How to
Steal a Million (1966). Hubert de Givenchy's drawings dance on the
pages, inviting us to embark upon an exclusive retrospective of his
most beautiful designs, accompanied by his annotations, from the
famous Bettina blouse of 1952 to the wedding dress of his last
collection in 1995. We also find his creations for the Empress of
Iran, HRH Princess Grace of Monaco, the princess Caroline of Monaco,
the Duchess of Windsor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor,
Marlene Dietrich and many other iconic personalities. This book
promises to be a formidable source of inspiration for all the fashion
addicts and the lovers of the incomparable Givenchy style, that
incarnates French elegance and taste at their summit.
Audrey: The 50s
by David Wills
About the Book
photographic compilation showcasing Audrey Hepburn’s iconic career
in the 1950s—the decade that solidified her place as one of the
world’s greatest stars in film and fashion.
Devoted to her most
influential decade, Audrey: The 50s brings together in one volume the
allure and elegance that made Audrey Hepburn the most iconic figure
in modern fashion history. Photographed during the early days of her
career, both on the sets of Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, and
other classic films, and in fashion photo shoots by top photographers
who adored and immortalized her, these beautiful black-and-white and
color images radiate with Audrey’s waifish charm, ethereal beauty,
and effortless style.
curator and photographic preservationist David Wills has carefully
selected this collection of two hundred museum-quality photos that
capture Audrey in her prime as never before. Audrey: The 50s displays
this star at her brightest, and brings her legacy into perfect focus.
Rare and classic
images digitally restored from vintage photographic prints, original
studio negatives and transparencies.
publicity photos, scene stills and work shots from the sets of Roman
Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, and The Nun’s
unpublished "posed candids" of Audrey at home.
advertisements, fan magazine layouts, international film posters and
photographers, directors, and costars, including William Holden,
Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Billy Wilder, King Vidor, William Wyler,
Edith Head, Hubert de Givenchy, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, and
Inspired by the
Porsche 356 which was created by Ferry Porsche, and some spyder
prototypes built and raced by Walter Glöckler starting in 1951, the
factory decided to build a car designed for use in auto racing.
The model Porsche 550 Spyder was introduced at the 1953 Paris Auto
Show. The 550 was very low to the ground, in order to be efficient
for racing. In fact, former German Formula One racer Hans Herrmann
drove it under closed railroad crossing gates during the 1954 Mille
The first three hand
built prototypes came in a coupé with a removable hardtop. The first
(550-03) raced as a roadster at the Nurburgring Eifel Race in May
1953 winning its first race. Over the next couple of years, the Werks
Porsche team evolved and raced the 550 with outstanding success and
was recognized wherever it appeared. The Werks cars were provided
with differently painted tail fins to aid recognition from the pits.
Hans Herrmann’s particularly famous ‘red-tail’ car No 41 went
from victory to victory. Porsche was the first car manufacturer to
get race sponsorship which was through Fletcher Aviation, who Porsche
was working with to design a light aircraft engine and then later
adding Telefunken and Castrol.
For such a limited
number of 90 prototype and customer builds, the 550 Spyder was always
in a winning position, usually finishing in the top three results in
its class. The beauty of the 550 was that it could be driven to the
track, raced and then driven home, which showed the flexibility of
being both a road and track car. Each Spyder was individually
designed and customised to be raced and although from the pits it was
difficult to identify the sometimes six 550s in the race, the aid of
colouring tail spears along the rear wheel fenders, enabled the teams
to see their cars. The racing Spyders were predominantly silver in
colour, similar to the factory colour of the Mercedes, but there were
other splashes of blue, red, yellow and green in the tail spears
making up the Porsche palette on the circuit.
Each Spyder was
assigned a number for the race and had gumballs positioned on doors,
front and rear, to be seen from any angle. On some 550s owned by
privateers, a crude hand written number scrawled in house paint
usually served the purpose. Cars with high numbers assigned such as
351, raced in the 1000 mile Mille Miglia, where the number
represented the start time of 3.51am. On most occasions, numbers on
each Spyder would change for each race entered, which today helps
identify each 550 by chassis number and driver in period black and
The later 1956
evolution version of the model, the 550A, which had a lighter and
more rigid spaceframe chassis, gave Porsche its first overall win in
a major sports car racing event, the 1956 Targa Florio.
Its successor from
1957 onwards, the Porsche 718, commonly known as the RSK was even
more successful. The Spyder variations continued through the early
1960s, the RS 60 and RS 61. A descendant of the Porsche 550 is
generally considered to be the Porsche Boxster S 550 Spyder; the
Spyder name was effectively resurrected with the RS Spyder Le Mans
James Dean's "Little
Perhaps the most
famous of the first 90 Porsche 550's built was James Dean's "Little
Bastard", numbered 130 (VIN 550-0055), which Dean fatally
crashed into Donald Turnupseed's 1950 Ford Custom at the CA Rte.
46/41 Cholame Junction on September 30, 1955.
As Dean was
finishing up Giant’s filming in September, 1955, he suddenly traded
in his 356 Porsche Super Speedster at Competition Motors, for a new
1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21st, and immediately entered
the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1 and 2.
According to Lee
Raskin, Porsche historian and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean
asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint
"Little Bastard" on the car:
who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which
consisted of: painting '130' in black non-permanent paint on the
front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted 'Little Bastard'
in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and
red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the
Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for long
distance endurance racing identification."
Dean had been nicknamed "Little Bastard" by Bill Hickman, a
Warner Bros. stunt driver who became friendly with him. (Previous
references to Hickman say he was Dean's dialogue coach on Giant,
though Bob Hinkle, a Texan, was actually Dean's Giant dialogue
coach.) Hickman was part of Dean's group driving to the Salinas Road
Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean, "Little
Bastard", and Dean called Hickman, "Big Bastard."
Another origin story
of the "Little Bastard" monicker has been corroborated by
two of Dean's close friends, Lew Bracker and photographer Phil Stern.
They believe Jack L. Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean
as a "little bastard" after Dean refused to vacate his
temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio's lot, and Dean wanted
to get "even" with Warner by naming his race car "Little
Bastard" and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing
ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the "Little
Bastard" in between making movies for Warner Bros.