Audrey Hepburn, Airbrushed at Tiffany’s

File this one under the ‘say it ain’t so’ category because according to new photographic evidence not even timeless Hollywood beauty Audrey Hepburn was spared from the editor’s air brush (grease pencil actually) when filming the romantic and melancholy masterpiece Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The New York Post broke the story earlier in the week when the release of a new coffee table book commemorating the film’s 50th anniversary revealed never before published photographs of Hepburn. Photographs on which a very picky editor highlighted ‘imperfections’ on the then 32 year old actress’s face that were then removed with a grease pencil, the lesser known mother of the airbrush and grandmother to today’s Photoshop.

The coffee table book, published by author Sarah Gristwood, adds a new layer to the debate on photo retouching which is becoming an increasingly common and lamented procedure that has recently seen ads featuring stars such as Julia Roberts pulled from the airwaves in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The new images prove that while many airbrushing and Photoshop naysayers are decrying these practices as modern perversions of the concept of traditional beauty, even back in 1961 a gorgeous Hollywood icon like Hepburn was considered ‘not good enough’ for at least one editor.

The image is one of the most well known promo shots for the film and the corrections made by the editor include nearly imperceptible crows feet and the tiniest of lines beneath the actress’s eyes. Hepburn played the roll of New York City call girl Holly Golightly in the 60’s classic despite author Truman Capote originally pushing for the part to go to Marylin Monroe. Many consider Breakfast at Tiffany’s to be the film that established Audrey Hepburn as both a movie and fashion icon.

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