Rare and Adorable Photos of a Young Audrey Hepburn Before She Was Famous

Born on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey Hepburn was a talented performer known for her beauty, elegance and grace. Often imitated, she remains one of Hollywood’s greatest style icons. A native of Brussels, Hepburn spent part of her youth in England at a boarding school there.

During much of World War II, she studied at the Arnhem Conservatory in The Netherlands. After the Nazis invaded the country, Hepburn and her mother struggled to survive. She reportedly helped the resistance movement by delivering messages, according to an article in The New York Times.

After the war, Hepburn continued to pursue an interest in dance. She studied ballet in Amsterdam and later in London. In 1948, Hepburn made her stage debut as a chorus girl in the musical High Button Shoes in London. More small parts on the British stage followed. She was a chorus girl in Sauce Tartare (1949), but was moved to a featured player in Sauce Piquante (1950).

Here, below is a collection of rare photos of Audrey Hepburn as a child and a teenager from the 1930s and 1940s, before she becomes famous.

Ella Van Heemstra photographed with her daughter Audrey Hepburn, 1929. At the time this photograph was taken, baby Audrey wasn’t even one years old.
Audrey Hepburn with her father Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston in Linkebeek, Belgium, 1933 (left) and 1934 (right).
Audrey Hepburn, 5 years old
Audrey Hepburn’s first passport, 1936.
Audrey at the beach in 1937, 8 years old, before the war.
Audrey Hepburn, ca. 1938.
A young Audrey Hepburn, 1939. Photograph by Manon van Suchtelen.
Audrey Hepburn and her Mother in Arnhem during the war, 1942.
As a child Audrey Hepburn trained as a ballerina. During the war Audrey performed in several benefit performances to help the Dutch resistance. Photographed 1942.
Audrey Hepburn at the age of 12 in one of her very first professional photo shoots. April 14, 1942.
Audrey Hepburn, November 27, 1942
Audrey, 13 years old.
Audrey Hepburn during a dance recital in Arnhem, Holland, 1944.
Audrey Hepburn photographed by Godfried de Groot circa 1945.
Audrey Hepburn, sitting, far right on the radiator, in the ballet studio of Sonia Gaskell in Zomerdijkstraat, 1945.
Audrey Hepburn, 17 years old. The photograph was taken after the liberation of Holland, 1946.
This photograph was taken by a Dutch photographer in Arnhem, in 1946, probably at the Arnhem Conservatory where Audrey took dancing lessons when she was 16.
Audrey Hepburn and her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, c. 1946.
Audrey Hepburn’s photograph from her British passport, 1946.
Rare modeling pictures of Audrey Hepburn in 1946.
Audrey Hepburn during auditions for High Button Shoes, London, 1948.
Audrey Hepburn with the cast of a Christmas Party, 1949.
The girl members of the cast arrive at the Cambridge Theatre rehearsal of Sauce Tartare, 1949. Left to right: Aud Johannsen, Nina Tarakanova, Audrey Hepburn and Marlana.
Audrey Hepburn photographed on the roof of the Cambridge Theatre in London, June 28, 1949. She was performing as a chorus girl in the show Sauce Tartare.
Chorus girls Audrey Hepburn, Aud Johanssen, and Enid Smeedon from the show Sauce Tartare keep cool with a block of ice on the roof of the Cambridge Theatre in London. June 28, 1949.

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