Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Audrey & Bill: A Romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn and William Holden

Author:  Edward Z. Epstein
Genre:  Biography/Film/Actors

Hardcover; Ebook
ISBN #:  9780762455973
Running Press Publishing
272 Pages
$15.59; $11.99 Amazon
April 14, 2015
Three Stars

Here for the first time is the complete, captivating story of an on-set romance that turned into a lifelong love story between silver screen legends Audrey Hepburn and William Holden.  In 1954, Hepburn and Holden were America's sweethearts.  Both won Oscars that year and together they filmed Sabrina, a now-iconic film that continues to inspire the worlds of film and fashion.

Audrey & Bill tells the stories of both stars, from before they met to their electrifying first encounter when they began making Sabrina.  The love affair that sparked on-set was relatively short-lived, but was a turning point in the lives of both stars.  Audrey & Bill follows both Hepburn and Holden as their lives crisscrossed through to the end, providing an inside look at the Hollywood of the 1950s, '60s, and beyond.  Through in-depth research and interviews with former friends, co-stars, and studio workers, Audrey & Bill author Edward Z. Epstein sheds new light on the stars and the fascinating times in which they lived.


Although this book stays true to the fact that it is about Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, one has to wonder when the title itself appears to be misleading.  Audrey and Bill:  A Romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn & William Holden is not what it seems.  This is not a story about Audrey and Bill...together.  It is, in a way, a story about Audrey and Bill, but very little of it has to do with their time together.  In fact, only the first part of the book, around eighty pages or so of 272, chronicles their love affair.  The remaining pages chronicles their lives apart from each other...which makes it not a romantic biography.

However, though their affair was brief, there is no doubt that they fell in love.  But once the affair was over...Bill went on to other women, and Audrey went on to marriage.  The thing she wanted most in the world was a family, and though she had several miscarriages, she achieved that.

The book is more about Audrey than Bill, and there is no doubt that the author reveres her through all her faults.  He lavishes praise upon her, while finding fault with the others mentioned in the book - Humphrey Bogart and Grace Kelly, for example; and even Bill himself.  It seems rather gossipy at times, almost as if the author felt it were necessary to add snippets of such in order to keep us interested in reading the book.  There was, every couple of chapters or so, something thrown in regarding Bill's life and career; the rest of the book was most definitely Audrey.

There is very little said about Bill's home life, except for the fact that he would bring his girlfriends home to his wife.  Nothing is said about Ardis' reaction to this; in fact, nothing much is said of Ardis at all.  It would be interesting to know why she didn't resume her career.  Was she hoping Bill would see the 'error of his ways' and return to her?  I would have liked to have known more about her side of the marriage; but in fact, there was very little about their marriage at all.  I came away still not knowing much more about Bill than I already knew.

In the end, it is a very nice biography of Audrey Hepburn, and a so-so one about William Holden.  There is no doubt that these were two talented actors (I will admit I am a bigger fan of William Holden, but like Audrey, too).  They were also two fascinating people, and both lucky enough to have extensive careers in both film and personal pursuits.  There are also quite a few nice pictures of the two.  But unfortunately, I don't feel that there is a lot of new information here that can't be garnered elsewhere.


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