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SUNDAY MORNING

Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Audrey Hepburn, the British screen legend, was born on this day in 1929, and her veneration as a fashion icon has continued even after her death, in 1993. Along with fellow movie stars Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe, Hepburn is the inspiration behind the 1950s-style hotel Madera Hollywood, which is set to open on Hollywood Road, appropriately enough, in October. Hepburn owed a large degree of her style to couturier Hubert de Givenchy, with whom she worked on romantic comedy Sabrina. Starring opposite the actress in that 1954 movie was Humphrey Bogart …

Ranked by the American Film Institute as "the greatest male star in the history of American cinema", Bogie was also the original leader of the infamous Rat Pack. The group of heavy-drinking actors, which also included Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, was believed to have been named by Bogart's wife, Lauren Bacall. After her husband returned home with friends following a night of hard partying in Las Vegas, the husky-voiced actress commented, "You look like a goddamn rat pack." In the short comedy movie Electric Cinema: How To Behave (2012), the brooding Bogart was portrayed by ubiquitous man of the moment Benedict Cumberbatch …

As public voting continues for Time magazine's annual top 100 list, Bendydick Cucumberpatch (for surely that was his nickname at school) is currently the "most influential actor in the world". While honing his craft as a 19-year-old drama student, the British actor spent his gap year in Darjeeling, India, teaching English and learning from Tibetan Buddhist monks: "They taught me about the simplicity of human nature, but also the humanity of it, and the ridiculous sense of humour you need to live a full spiritual life." Last year, Cumberbatch was photographed for the September edition of American Vogue by Annie Leibovitz …

Best known for having photographed John Lennon in the foetal position just hours before he was murdered, Leibovitz ran into financial woes in 2009 as she struggled to clear a reported US$24 million debt, which almost cost her the copyrights to her life's work. She continued to recover from her financial problems this year by selling her West Village townhouse compound in New York. In 2001, Leibovitz photographed the legendary Man in Black, as he played guitar on his porch with his eldest daughter, Rosanne Cash …

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, just as her father, Johnny, was recording his first tracks for Sun Records, Cash had to take a break from her country-music career in 2007 when she was admitted to hospital suffering from Chiari malformation type 1. The Grammy award-winning artist had lived with the symptoms of the rare but benign neurological disorder for most of her adult life before undergoing brain surgery and making a full recovery. Cash's 1996 song The Summer I Read Colette was a tribute to French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette …

A controversial figure throughout her life, Colette began a six-year lesbian affair with Mathilde de Morny following the break-up of her first marriage. While working the music halls of Paris as a dancer and mime artist, Colette performed alongside de Morny, who was nicknamed Missy, at the Moulin Rouge in 1907; their onstage kiss nearly causing a riot among the crowd. In 1951, Colette's novel Gigi was made into a Broadway play, the author declaring "There is my Gigi" upon spotting the woman who would go on to play the lead. The then-unknown beauty Colette had chanced upon was none other than Audrey Hepburn.

 

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