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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Audrey Hepburn's Son Remembers Her Life

Aired December 24, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S")
AUDREY HEPBURN: Don't you just love it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love what?

HEPBURN: Tiffany's!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Tonight, intimate memories of a screen legend, Audrey Hepburn, with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer. We knew and adored her as an icon of style and grace, but he knew and loved her as his mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEPBURN: Won't you join me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Audrey Hepburn's son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, a revealing and emotional hour of insights into an unforgettable star next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "MY FAIR LADY")

HEPBURN: C'mon, Dover! Move your bloomin' arse!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: An extraordinary book is now available. It is titled "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers." That son is Sean Hepburn Ferrer. He's Audrey Hepburn's son, Mel Ferrer's son. And the book is "An Elegant Spirit."

Why did you decide to do this now?

SEAN HEPBURN FERRER, AUDREY HEPBURN'S SON: You know, now is an interesting question. Actually, I started writing this very soon after my mother passed away. Sometimes the best medicine has to offer is to give you a wonderful window of opportunity to say and share and have those conversations that you really want to have with the person that you love so. We were blessed with that.

KING: We sure were. FERRER: And we had some extraordinary times and conversations during the last two months of her life, and those conversations really resonated with me after she passed away. And so, at first, I started thinking I should write something for my children. She was thinking about writing something for us, as well. She never wrote her own biography, and I didn't think that I should, either. So I really used these conversations as a springboard, if you may, to revisit some of her philosophies about life, her work.

KING: And all the wonderful photographs, too.

FERRER: There were a lot. You know, she wasn't a film buff. She didn't bring the business home. She didn't save tchotchkas from the films or clothes or whatever. She did save all the photographs.

KING: As you know, she appeared on this show a number of times. I always loved having her and...

FERRER: Well, she always came home with a smile on her face after she saw you, Larry.

KING: Yes. Now, your accent -- you were raised where?

FERRER: I was born in Switzerland and raised all over Europe, basically.

KING: It's a European accent.

FERRER: English is my last language. I studied in French. I spoke Italian first, so...

KING: Brothers and sisters?

FERRER: I have a younger brother, 10 years younger than I, and...

KING: Also the son of Mel and Audrey?

FERRER: No, the son of my mother's second marriage.

KING: Are you friendly with that...

FERRER: Very much.

KING: ... stepfather?

FERRER: I'm very friendly with everyone.

KING: So everyone got along, right?

FERRER: Absolutely.

KING: And that was not a harsh divorce, was it.

FERRER: Between my parents?

KING: Yes. As I remember. Or am I wrong?

FERRER: I think it was a very final kind of divorce. Harsh is a difficult word to say. It's -- how can I put it?

KING: They had a lot of passion.

FERRER: They certainly did. I think when there's -- especially for her, when there's a disappointment in your first marriage, it's more finely felt...

KING: Yes.

FERRER: ... than in other cases.

KING: All right, let's go back to early times. What kind of mother was she?

FERRER: She was a wonderful mother. She was my best friend. Same for my brother. And it's funny because we didn't grow up in Hollywood. You know, once she decided that she needed to be a mother, she really gave up her career. And so we didn't really realize she was that well known or that famous.

KING: So she didn't act a lot in her -- for years, right?

FERRER: At all. Exactly. I mean, she didn't try and mix the two. And you know, there's always one side that suffers when you try and do that. And I guess she was blessed and fortunate to be able to do that.

FERRER: You knew she was famous, though.

FERRER: I realized when we moved to Rome and there was a lot of paparazzis around and -- yes. Yes.

KING: So the special thing is she was a mother first.

FERRER: Yes. Well, she was an actress first.

KING: Oh, she was?

FERRER: And that was -- and that was her -- and that was her first important choice in life. And then when she chose to be a mother, she did that full-time. And then when we were sufficiently grown up and we were on our way, then she chose to do her work for UNICEF.

KING: We'll talk a lot about that. She was raised in aristocracy, wasn't -- I mean, she -- she came from...

FERRER: I think it was more a concept than anything else. I mean, once the war hit when she was little, they didn't have much to eat or much aristocracy or anything.

KING: They were victims of Hitler's Europe. FERRER: Absolutely. She spent the entire war in Holland. She was actually in England, and they sent her back to Holland, thinking that it would be a safer place because, you know, Holland was a -- how do you put it? -- a neutral country.

KING: Yes, it was. Was she -- she wanted to be a dancer, right?

FERRER: That was her first dream. That was the dream of childhood that kept her going through the war, that kept her going after the war. When she went to study with Marie Rambert (ph) in London, and after a while she asked, Am I going to make it? Am I going to -- am I going to be a prima ballerina? And Marie said, Well, you're a little too tall and not enough training and poor nutrition during the war. You can always work here. You'll always have a great career and probably make a better living as a second ballerina. But she wanted to excel at what she was going to do, and so she defaulted to acting.

KING: Didn't do bad.

FERRER: Didn't do bad.

KING: Did she ever gain weight?

FERRER: I don't think so. I don't think so. People ask me what's the secret, you know? She ate probably more than you and I do. But she exercised. I mean, you know, I think that the rigors of ballet training, the hard time during the war, and then sort of an active live.

KING: You write, "My mother's life was a success. She was graced with good choices. The first choice she made was her career. Then she chose her family. And when we, her children, were grown and started our lives, She chose the less fortunate children of the world. She chose to give back, and in that important choice lay the key to healing and understanding something that had affected her throughout her life, the sadness that had always been there."

Elaborate on that. What sadness?

FERRER: I think there was a sadness there, firstly because her father left the family so early in her life. And I think that left a great void.

KING: Walked out?

FERRER: Walked out, pretty much. Pretty much. From what I can gather and from what she told us. Then the war, the loss of liberty, not so much all the -- you know, I mean, really, what she spoke mostly was the anguish, the everyday sort of dank fear of living in a society that's being controlled by someone else. And I think that -- I like to think that she was sort of the Antigone of the screen. The sadness was always there, even in her parts, I think, in the roles she played. She knew how the cookie crumbles, yet she'd like it to be otherwise.

And I think at the end of her life, through her work for UNICEF, to see, after a society proclaimed, after World War II, there would be no more Holocaust, to find herself in a camp in Somalia with 35,000 people who have come, with shame in their heart because they couldn't make it on their own, waiting for handouts, many of them dying on a daily basis -- I think she felt betrayed.

FERRER: Did the U.N. come to her, or she come to them?

FERRER: She participated in an event in Macao, I believe. Her cousin, who was an ambassador or consul for Holland, invited her to the event. She appeared. Jim Grant (ph), who was the head of UNICEF at the time, saw her and immediately realized the potential and offered her ambassadorship and a dollar a year.

KING: This book -- and that's all she was paid, right? This book investigates her career in film, too, does it not?

FERRER: It does. It does.

KING: We'll be right back with Sean Hepburn Ferrer, the son of Audrey Hepburn. The book is "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit." What a great term. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEPBURN: Didn't know how long the war was going to last, so I went to a ballet school and learned to dance. And then about 1944, about a year before the end of the war, I was quite capable of performing. That was sort of some way in which I could make some contribution, and I did give performances to collect money for the underground, which always needed money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the Germans? What did they do about it?

HEPBURN: They didn't know about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - LARRY KING LIVE, JUNE, 1991)

HEPBURN: The reason I retired from making movies was to be with my children. And I think if I look back and had done the opposite, then I'd really would have regretted that decision. And now I'm, you know, happier than ever to have the time to devote myself to something which is like breathing, which is trying to help children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is it hard to look at her?

FERRER: You know, I've learned to separate. And she's not here anymore, yet I can be in a hotel room in Japan, and she'll come on the television.

KING: Yes.

FERRER: And so you have to -- it's harder when she's closer to the age she was when she passed away. It's harder to see the pictures from the UNICEF years. It's harder to watch Spielberg's film "Always" because she looks just like she did then.

KING: Yes.

FERRER: But when she's younger, it's easier to sort of...

FERRER: We're going to look at a picture on page 204 in the book of you and your mom. Is this the last picture of the two of you together?

FERRER: Yes, it is.

KING: How soon before she died?

FERRER: Three days.

KING: Really?

FERRER: Yes.

KING: She looks so good.

FERRER: I thought she always looks so good.

KING: What did she die of?

FERRER: She was diagnosed with colon cancer, yet -- and it's so important to try and be tested and to find out.

KING: Colonoscopy. Everyone should get one.

FERRER: Absolutely. Unfortunately, her primary was in the appendix, and I guess that's too sharp a corner for those cameras to see it. And it didn't develop as a tumor mass. It developed sort of like a vellum that encased her entire intestine.

KING: Was she in pain?

FERRER: We got the pain under control. That was the deal. We promised to each other that we would do that.

KING: Did she know she was going?

FERRER: She was. And I talk about it in the book, when I had to tell her that the second time she was operated on and they couldn't do anything.

KING: How'd she handle that?

FERRER: She was -- she was...

KING: They say you die as you live. If you live gracefully, you die...

FERRER: That's what our doctor, our wonderful doctor who does house calls, always said. If you live a good life, you'll have a good death.

KING: So she died with class.

FERRER: She certainly did. More than that. With great humanity. She wasn't angry.

KING: No?

FERRER: No. She just saw it as a natural extension of life. And we were running around, trying to find regular medicine, alternative medicine, read everything we could.

KING: She died at home.

FERRER: She died at home, and we kept her at home until we buried her.

KING: Did you realize -- did it take -- well, I guess you do -- the death, though, to realize how loved she was around the world?

FERRER: That's indeed what happened, absolutely, and how deeply she had affected people not just because of her career, but because of the work she did for the children. It sort of was a confirmation that the lovely twig that everybody had fallen in love with years before had grown up to be a beautiful oak tree.

KING: You know, I don't know anyone who didn't like her.

FERRER: Well, if you find them, let me know.

KING: Did you anyone who ever, like, didn't like her, who worked with her in film or...

FERRER: I've heard people sometimes say that she wasn't as serious an actress as she could have been. I've heard some -- from an intellectual standpoint.

KING: You mean, she could have been better.

FERRER: Not better, but maybe done more serious roles, which she did with "The Nun's Story" and "The Children's Hour." She didn't do that many films, but they were all pretty good.

KING: Julie Andrews said -- told us that she wasn't angry that Audrey Hepburn got "My Fair Lady."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "MY FAIR LADY")

HEPBURN: I'm come to have lessons, I am, and to pay for 'em, too, make no mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FERRER: You know, I was...

KING: Pretty good person to give it to.

FERRER: I was at a screening -- this year is the 50th anniversary of "Roman Holiday." They restored the film, and I went with the Peck family to a screening. And this woman approached me at the end of the screening and said, I was a young actress from Nebraska, I think she said, and I was invited to a dinner party at Jack Warner's house. And the dinner party had been put together by your parents to convince him to give Julie the role. And I didn't realize then what that meant. And she starts to cry as she's telling me this story. That was her. She didn't leave a stone unturned until she did what she thought was right, just like she did her work for UNICEF.

KING: Were you very involved in the UNICEF work?

FERRER: No. No, we weren't. I guess she wanted us to get on with our lives,, and just like we sort of picked up after she left off not so much for us, but for all the people who were sort of -- it was cut short by the suddenness.

KING: You do what, Sean? Let's find out what you do.

FERRER: I created the foundation.

KING: The Audrey Hepburn Foundation?

FERRER: Yes, the Audrey Hepburn Foundation. We have a new joint venture with UNICEF that aims to educate 120 million kids around the world, two thirds of whom are girls. I run the foundation. I look after her image, so that it doesn't get abused or pirated. And I still have dreams to make a good film here and there, but I sort of put that on hold.

KING: You were a film producer before this?

FERRER: I was a film crew. I worked in the crew, in the production end of things.

KING: Because of her, because of growing up in it, in a sense?

FERRER: Because I fell in love with the idea of films early on, not because I was in the milieu, but moreso because of the potential of having a couple of hundred people in a dark room, looking at a screen.

KING: What was your relationship like with your dad? A hell of an actor.

FERRER: It's great. It's still great. It's still great.

KING: What is he doing?

FERRER: He's looking after his ranch. He's got a lemon tree and avocado ranch in Santa Barbara.

KING: Has he remarried?

FERRER: He's remarried. It's his longest marriage to date. They're happily married, living together in Santa Barbara.

KING: And you're very close to him.

FERRER: Yes, we see him...

KING: He doesn't act anymore?

FERRER: No.

KING: By choice?

FERRER: By choice. He really gave it up by choice.

KING: So both parents left the business.

FERRER: Well, you have to know when to gracefully move on.

KING: I guess you do. And grace was a good word for her, wasn't it.

FERRER: It was.

KING: She had friends all over the world.

FERRER: She sure did.

KING: Let's trace the film career. "Lavender Hill Mob" was her first movie?

FERRER: I guess (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: With Alec Guinness (ph). What'd she have, a bit part?

FERRER: Oh, yes. I think she was...

KING: That was a hysterical movie.

FERRER: ... selling cigarettes or something like that.

KING: "Gigi."

FERRER: That was really the beginning. She was doing a bit part in "Nous Iron Amonticalo (ph)," which was a sequel. They even had sequels in those days. It was called "Monte Carlo Baby" in English. And there she was in the south of France, and Colette, who wrote "Gigi," was vacationing and thinking about how she was going to find the perfect face to play her role. And she saw my mother on the set. She must have stopped and looked and said, That's it. I found Gigi. That was really the beginning, I think.

KING: "Am I fool without a mind or have I simply been too blind to realize? Oh, Gigi."

(LAUGHTER)

KING: "You've been growing up before my very eyes." When you see her films, how do you react?

FERRER: I feel warm inside because that's the way she was. That's really the way she was. She emoted from a real place. Everything she brought to the part came from the right place.

KING: Her.

FERRER: Yes.

KING: As we go to break, a scene from one of her finer works, "Sabrina."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SABRINA")

HEPBURN: Well, hello! How are you?

WILLIAM HOLDEN: Well, I'm fine. How are you? And I might add, who are you?

HEPBURN: Who am I?

HOLDEN: Am I supposed to know?

HEPBURN: Come to think of it, no, you're not supposed to know.

HOLDEN: Are you stranded?

HEPBURN: My father was supposed to pick me up, but something must have happened.

HOLDEN: Whoever your father is and whatever happened, I'll be eternally grateful. That is, if I can give you a lift.

HEPBURN: You certainly can. You can drive me home.

HOLDEN: Good! I'll get your bags. Where do you live?

HEPBURN: Dosoris (ph) Lane.

HOLDEN: Dosoris Lane? Say, that's where I live!

HEPBURN: Really?

HOLDEN: Sure. We must be neighbors. And if there's one thing I believe in, it's love thy neighbor.

HEPBURN: Oh, so do I.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - LARRY KING LIVE, APRIL, 1989)

KING: Did you ever do a film where it was just...

HEPBURN: Just for the money?

KING: Yes.

HEPBURN: I went to work years ago just for the money, because I had to. I had to survive. But I was one of the lucky ones. I chose a profession which I liked, and I was terribly fortunate in being discovered by William Wyler, and from then on, went into such quality movies that I was able to accept them for the joy of doing them. And I would have been crazy if I hadn't.

KING: Would you have done a nude scene?

HEPBURN: Would I have undressed in a movie? Certainly not in those days, and I never had the figure to do it. I think people think nothing of it now.

KING: A little joshing there.

HEPBURN: I think my mother would have had a fit, let alone my grandfather.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Tell me about the relationship with Gregory Peck.

FERRER: There was a lifelong relationship.

KING: Began with "Roman Holiday"?

FERRER: Yes. And I want to go back to that clip afterwards because there's -- there's an interesting...

KING: Go to it now.

FERRER: She says she didn't have a figure for it. That's really the way she saw it. She didn't see herself as particularly beautiful or unusual, which surprises people over and over when I say that. She saw herself as too thin, a bump on her nose, feet maybe one size too big for her size. But isn't that the real definition of beauty, to just be and not to know it?

KING: Yes, you're right.

FERRER: I think so.

KING: She was slim.

FERRER: She was slim.

KING: Gregory Peck.

FERRER: A lifelong friendship.

KING: Not a love relationship, right? I mean, not a romantic one.

FERRER: No, but probably more than that.

KING: Explain.

FERRER: Of course, she was in awe of him when she worked with him in "Roman Holiday." Yet that went away so quickly because he was such a natural person.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "ROMAN HOLIDAY")

HEPBURN: I don't know how to say good-bye. I can't think of any words.

GREGORY PECK: Don't try.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FERRER: And he did something which is so unusual, especially by today's standards. After they started the film, he saw that -- or he believed that she was going to exceed everyone's expectation, and he called his agent and said, You better change her contract. It was going to read, "Gregory Peck starring in Roman Holiday," and I guess "introducing Audrey Hepburn." And he had her moved up above the title. So that tells you a bit about him, what a classy individual he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "ROMAN HOLIDAY")

HEPBURN: You know, that's what everybody says.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FERRER: And they stayed friends forever.

KING: I saw them together a lot, and I saw them together at The Hague at a big UNICEF dinner. We went and interviewed her in The Hague.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - OCTOBER, 1991)

KING: Do you have mixed emotions about being in Holland?

HEPBURN: They're not mixed anymore. They were -- you know, having spent eight years here during the German occupation, obviously, the first times I came back, it was sort of strange. And I have since also gone back to where I lived during that period, which was, you know, 45 years ago. But I'm terribly happy when I come back. I really do love this country more and more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She loved Holland. FERRER: She did. She did. And that's what I think she shared so much with Robbie Walters (ph), with whom she spent the last 12 years of her life, was to re-find her youth and to be able to speak Dutch. And they shared a great sense of humor and...

KING: And I remember her feelings for Anne Frank.

FERRER: You know, she was offered the part, I believe, and she turned it down because it was too close to her own experience during the war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - OCTOBER, 1991)

HEPBURN: I had read the diary just after the war, I mean, '46 when it came out, in galley form, and it destroyed me, absolutely destroyed me because I was -- identified so strongly with this little girl, who was my age, exactly the same age. I was on the outside and free, but she was on the inside, but we both lived the same war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Tell me about meeting your dad. That was Peck involved in that, too.

FERRER: That's right. He came back from Rome after "Roman Holiday." And they had just done the La Jolla Playhouse, created the La Jolla Playhouse together. And they called him up and said, You have to meet this babe, I guess. And so they had a dinner, I believe in London, and they met. And I think it started off sort of professionally. She wanted to do theater again, and he found Girodoux's (ph) "Ondine."

KING: What kind of dad was he? As a youngster. He is still your dad.

FERRER: Yes. No. I mean, he was a good dad. The divorce prevented me from making full use of a lot of good advice that he gave me. And also, he wasn't an easy man, by any stretch of the imagination. He was extremely talented, well read, educated, certainly played a very important role in the choices that she made and the standards that she kept.

KING: Oh, he did?

FERRER: Oh, yes. Absolutely. And in...

KING: And very involved in her career.

FERRER: And in a healthy way. I don't think he sort of forced her in any direction, but he sort of knew. He had good boundaries, as far as the quality of what she should take.

KING: Was he ever bothered, ego bothered, by the fact she was better known than him?

FERRER: He's never said that, but I would have to assume that it can't be easy on anyone, especially...

KING: I mean, he was -- he was well known, but she was...

FERRER: He was very well known. He was very well known, but his career had been going on for quite a while.

KING: He did many films.

FERRER: Yes. But he was a great dad, and retrospectively, a better dad than I may have experienced as a child.

KING: She had an Oscar nomination for "Sabrina." She lost it, though. Grace Kelly won for "Country Girl." Did she get along with Holden and Bogart?

FERRER: She got along with Holden. I think that relationship went somewhere for a short while.

KING: Romantic?

FERRER: Yes. Bogart didn't take her very seriously, nor should he because it was her second film. And therefore, he was sort of uninterested and...

KING: Aloof?

FERRER: -- sort of aloof. And that's...

KING: Did she carry any grudge about him?

FERRER: No, she didn't carry any grudges. And she probably felt that he was right. But she didn't feel extremely warm towards him, as a result of that.

KING: She had several miscarriages before you, right?

FERRER: Yes.

KING: And when she became pregnant with you, she stayed in bed so as not to jeopardizes the birth?

FERRER: Moreso with my brother, which is when she painted. There's a few of them...

KING: In the book. Yes, we'll show them.

FERRER: ... in the book (UNINTELLIGIBLE) With me, I think she took it easy. They didn't know about incompetent cervixes and those things in those days, so -- but no, she took it easy enough. Here I am.

KING: You're not kidding, looking hale and hearty.

When we go to break, we'll show a scene from her first musical, "Funny Face." We'll be right back.

(CLIP FROM "FUNNY FACE")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEPBURN: All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, with one enormous chair, oh, wouldn't it be lovely, lots of chocolate for me to eat, lots of coal making lots of 'eat, warm face, warm hands, warm feet, oh, wouldn't it be lovely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Sean Hepburn Ferrer, the son of the late Audrey Hepburn and the very living Mel Ferrer and the book, again, is "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit." The proceeds go to the Audrey Hepburn Foundation. If you want more information on that foundation, it's audreyhepburn.com.

Tell me about working with Cary Grant in "Charade."

FERRER: She enjoyed it tremendously. He's a funny person. I found a note -- you know, one of the other ways that we raise funds for our children's fund is we have this beautiful exhibit that's going to travel across the world. It's going to Japan for two years starting in May of next year, and so we've collected everything we could get our hands on. I found a series of lovely letters that she saved, one of them where he was thanking her for giving him a set of luggage or something like that, but there was humor even in that.

KING: Cary Grant. So she hit it off with him?

FERRER: Oh, yes.

KING: She also did that psychological drama, great movie with Shirley MacLaine. "The children's hour."

FERRER: Very courageous for that time.

KING: Yes, whoa. It was about lesbianism. That was a breakthrough film. People didn't talk about that then. A child accusing two women teachers of having a relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIRLEY MACLAINE, ACTRESS: No, you've got to know, I've got to tell you, I can't keep it to myself any longer, I am guilty.

HEPBURN: You're guilty of nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She did how many films with Mel?

FERRER: One...

KING: "Wait Until Dark." FERRER: "Wait Until Dark," he was a producer, "Green Mansions," he was a director, "War and Peace."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you honor me with this dance?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Did they have scenes together?

FERRER: Oh, yes.

KING: Did she like that?

FERRER: Very much.

KING: Did she like being directed by him?

FERRER: Yes.

KING: She married someone eight years younger than her, Andrea Mario Dotti, a practicing psychologist...

FERRER: Psychiatrist.

KING: Psychiatrist. Did you get along?

FERRER: Very much. He was a wonderful second father. And fun, and took the time to play and build mottles, and do all the things, you know. He was great.

KING: That's important for a stepfather.

FERRER: It is.

KING: Why did they break up?

FERRER: That's a difficult question. I know the answer, infidelity.

KING: On his part?

FERRER: Yes. Yes. And I think she knew from the very beginning who he was, yet I think she dreamed and hoped that somehow she could change that. And I think she was gravely disappointed when she realized she couldn't.

KING: The last years in her life were spent with Robert Wolders, right? I met Robert. Maybe the handsomest guy that ever walked the planet, right?

FERRER: I'm sure he'd love to hear that.

KING: Come on, there's a good-looking guy. He was with Merle Oberon. They never married? FERRER: No.

KING: Did they hit it off right away?

FERRER: My mother's good friend Connie Walt (ph) got them together. He had just lost Merle. And I think that the relationship started on a lovely foot, because she was really there as a friend and a confidant and, sort of, a shoulder to cry on, before they actually realized that that led to the next thing.

KING: You like him a lot?

FERRER: Yes.

KING: How is he doing?

FERRER: He's doing great. He lives here in Los Angeles. He's on the board of the foundation. He went on all those trips with her.

KING: Has he married?

FERRER: No.

KING: She became special ambassador till 1998. Who is special ambassador now?

FERRER: I think there's a series of people. I think, Peter Ustinov still is, Roger Moore whom she got involved...

KING: Great friend of hers, right?

FERRER: Absolutely. Absolutely. Harry Belafonte.

KING: When she discovered she had colon cancer, did -- at that time, did they think they could get it? When she first learned she had it, did they think that through that first surgery they could get it?

FERRER: I think that what they said was they were going to try and they wanted to keep her sort of up, but the next day in "The Enquirer," it said that she was going to die.

KING: That was the magazine that broke it?

FERRER: I think so, or "The Star" or one of those.

KING: How did that affect you and her?

FERRER: Well, we thought that they were crazy. Retrospectively, obviously, they have amazing ways to get information.

KING: They were right?

FERRER: Right. But we didn't know. We weren't told.

KING: That's something to read. FERRER: Yes.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moment. As we go to break, here's Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEPBURN: Here are your slippers! There and there! Take your slippers, and may you never have a day's luck with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What on earth -- what's the matter? Is anything wrong?

HEPBURN: No, nothing wrong with you. I won your bet for you, haven't I? That's enough for you. I don't matter, I suppose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won my bet, you presumptuous insect? I won it. What did you throw those slippers at me for?

HEPBURN: Because I wanted to smash your face. I could kill you, you selfish brute. Why didn't you leave me when you picked me up in the gutter? You thank God it's all over now, you can throw me back in there, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, so the creature's nervous after all.

HEPBURN: Oh!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FERRER: It just is so totally unacceptable to see small children just die in front of your eyes, obviously because they're starving, but also because they are so frail, they really finally die of disease. And you somehow on one hand feel impotent that you can't do enough, there's not enough time to save those little lives. And, on the other hand, it's comforting to be there and see how much is being done and how much progress is being made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Sean Hepburn. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this book is already on the "New York Times" best sellers list and deservedly so. And again all the proceeds go to the foundation.

Now, three men created the Audrey Hepburn Hollywood for Children Fund designed to raise money for an assortment of charities.

Who were they?

FERRER: Myself, my brother and Robbie -- Robbie Wolders.

KING: Did you have a family discussion?

FERRER: The first thing we did was create a memorial fund at UNICEF dedicated to education and four and then subsequently five of the countries she felt were so devoid of any infrastructure that the only way to change the course of the history of their history would be through education. That has grown up into the project I was just telling you about, where the memorial fund will attempt to educate 120 million kids across the world. $8 billion a year, that's all we need. It seems like a lot, but compared to what we are spending on other items it maybe pretty good investment for us.

KING: Spending a lot on killing people. Might be better to spend a lot on (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

FERRER: 10 percent of the costs of the war.

KING: Audrey went everywhere too, didn't she?

She didn't just talk about these kids, she went to them.

FERRER: The last trip to Somalia, she said where do I get my visa?

And they sort of chuckled, and said, you fly in there hoping you don't get shot. She really went there. She really went there. Talking about style, after she passed away, we went into her dressing room and she had these sort of 10 double-paneled closets, and only one of them had clothes in it. She had boiled down her entire wardrobe down to absolute essentials. She could really put her entire life in two suitcases, go on the road and be ready to be in Somalia, to be in Washington, D.C., to be on your show.

KING: She wore suspenders once in my honor. She was just -- knowing her affected people. She changed people's lives. She had an impact.

FERRER: And it still does somehow today. That's why the book is successful. It certainly has nothing to do with me.

KING: Did people think she was related to Katharine.

FERRER: No, although (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when he was called, you know, after Roman holiday, she was looking for someone to do the close. Got a phone call said Ms. Hepburn was going to come and see you this afternoon. And he said he was thrilled that Ms. Katherine Hepburn was going to show up and of course door opened and there was a young thing in the gondolier's outfit, but they hit it off instantly.

KING: Now there is such a thing is there not of the Hepburn look -- the Audrey Hepburn look?

FERRER: They keep talking about it, so there must be. Don't try to overdo it, be yourself, find a look that works for yourself, simple essential lines, take it all away. Remove everything that you don't absolutely need, and that is exactly what she talked about when she talked about acting. Get rid of everything, get rid of all the baggage and extra stuff, and that is exactly what she kept talking about when she spoke of difficult decisions in your life. If it gets too complicated, take yourself out of the loop and you will see that things will become easy, the decisions will become easy if you're doing the right thing by the other person.

KING: Did she prefer De Givenchy, By the way the clothes, because she knew him?

FERRER: I think they were building. She was building her career. He was building his career. People think he actually went and designed the clothes for the films. He did not. He took things out of the collection, and they'd ripped this off, put this back on and it went into the movie.

KING: How are we remember her, Sean?

We'll never forget her.

FERRER: I think we'll remember her because she cared. That's plenty.

KING: Yes. To her dying moment.

FERRER: To her dying moment. I think, if she got an opportunity to come back, after she gave us all the hugs, including you, Larry, she would want to talk about the children again.

KING: The book is "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit, A Son Remembers."

Sean Hepburn Ferrer, thank you so much.

FERRER: Thank you, Larry.

FERRER: Many of the clips you've seen on tonights' show are available on home video. "Sabrina," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Roman Holiday," and "Funny Face" are available from Paramount Home Entertainment. "My Fair Lady" is on VHS and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. "Wait Until Dark" is available from Warner Home Video.

I'll be back in a couple moments. Don't go away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEPBURN: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she's got it. I think she's got it.

HEPBURN: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By George she's got it. By George she's got it. Once again, where does if rain?

HEPBURN: On the plain. On the plain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And where's that soggy plain?

HEPBURN: In Spain.

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE traveling down memory lane with a wonderful son about a great mother. The book is "Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit."

We'll see you again tomorrow night.

Stay tuned now for Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT" from New York. Thanks for joining us and good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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