Hepburn was born in 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels. Her family moved to the Netherlands in 1939 after Britain declared war on Germany, and when Hitler’s army invaded in 1940, they were forced to remain for another five years. Hepburn was affected by the occupation both physically and psychologically, witnessing atrocities and suffering from malnutrition when food became scarce. (She would owe her famously slim waistline to this.)
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Once the war ended in 1945, Hepburn began ballet training in Amsterdam and started appearing as a chorus girl in several musicals after moving to London.