Why Audrey Hepburn's Son Describes Her As A Badass

When we think of the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn, common words used to describe her are "glamorous," "sophisticated," "elegant," and "talented." Of course all those things are true, but Hepburn's legacy goes far beyond her roles in classic films like "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Sabrina," "My Fair Lady," and "Roman Holiday."

With such an extensive film resume, it may come as a surprise that Hepburn actually retired from acting as she approached her 60th birthday in favor of trying something new.

Historian Robert Matzen's new biography of Hepburn, aptly titled "Warrior," focuses on the Hepburn's impressive accomplishments outside Hollywood — and it explains why her son, Luca Dotti, wrote in the book's foreword that his mom was a "badass," as reported by People.

Hepburn always knew that acting would only be one part of her life and career. Per People, she once declared, "I can't be a leading lady all my life." As it turns out, her next role involved work that was far more perilous than most people knew.

Audrey Hepburn took on a new mission that wasn't for the faint of heart

In 1988, UNICEF approached Audrey Hepburn and asked her to become a Goodwill Ambassador for the agency. Hepburn, then 58, immediately accepted (via People). 

"When she accepted the role, she knew it would be going to war again, going to war for the children," Matzen told People. During her time as a UNICEF ambassador, Hepburn traveled to some of the world's most dangerous places in her efforts to help children.

Dotti said that most people expected his mom to be a "pretty princess" for UNICEF, as reported by Woman & Home. "What they really got was a badass soldier," he said, noting that his mother faced bombs and bullets as she traveled to war-torn countries across the globe, from Sudan to Somalia.

"Somalia, in particular, is gut-wrenching as Audrey 'went to hell' as she phrased it and while there she stunned seasoned U.S. military men with her courage under fire," Matzen told Woman & Home.

According to People, Hepburn asked specifically to go on a mission to Somalia in 1992 to "force the world's attention there," said Matzen.

Just four months after her trip to Somalia, Hepburn died of cancer at age 63. "She was not scared of dying or getting sick but she was scared that evil could prevail," Dotti told People, adding that she "saw these children as her own."