A set of 10 handwritten letters actress Audrey Hepburn penned between 1951 and 1960 to her friend and acting coach Sir Felix Aylmer reveal new insights into her life. The collection of letters will be sold by Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia in London on June 29 and are expected to fetch at least $6,000.
In a 1952 letter, she discusses the end of her engagement to James Hanson, writing, “It is with a heavy heart I am writing to tell you James Hanson and I are no longer engaged, I know there is little I need explain to you, a gentleman of this profession. For a year I thought it possible to make our combined lives and careers work out…It is all very unhappy making but I am sure it is the only sensible dicision [sic].” A 1954 letter reveals how she tried to keep her marriage to Jersey-born actor Mel Ferrer, who she met when acting with him in the Broadway play Ondine, a secret. Hepburn wrote, “We will have the car take you up to our mountain peak, Friday, for a gathering in our chalet of our nearest and dearest!… Saturday will be the wedding… We want to keep it a dark secret in order to have it without the ‘press.'”
She also wrote glowingly about her son, Sean, who she gave birth to in 1960 after suffering several miscarriages, telling Aylmer, “Dearest Felix,…Sean is truly a dream and I find it hard to believe he is really ours to keep. I long to show him to you. We all three send all our love.” This letter was signed in what Bonhams calls “her distinctive turquoise blue ink.”
Of filming Monte Carlo Baby, Hepburn, at age 22, wrote, “Would you believe it. I’m in Monte Carlo working on a French picture. The place is heavenly and this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”