01/20/2014 11:53 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Iconic Photographer Remembers Audrey Hepburn, 21 Years After Her Death

Audrey Hepburn was nearly 40 when she met Douglas Kirkland, the young magazine photographer who'd gotten famous taking pictures of Marilyn Monroe in bed for Life. In Paris to shoot promotional stills for Hepburn's 1966 heist movie “How To Steal A Million,” Kirkland wound up leaving with one of his favorite images in a 60-year career: of the still girlish grande dame in a sixties beehive, glancing sideways and grinning as if she had the world’s greatest secret up her sleeve.


To mark the actress' death exactly 21 years ago today, HuffPost Arts asked Kirkland – himself something of a legend these days – to tell us about capturing that iconic shot, also featured in his new visual memoir, A Life In Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph. For more of the photographer's personal best, scroll down to the photos below.

I was brought to Paris to work with Audrey on a film she was making called How To Steal A Million. Now I was comparatively young -- I was probably 29 or 30 -- but I was sort of late in the cycle. So many people had worked with her before, from Richard Avedon to Irving Penn. But it was like I was the first person to ever work with her. She had energy, she had joy, she totally worked with the camera.

Because she was so delightful, we’d walk around Paris together. There was a place called the Boulevard Saint-Michel, a very popular students’ area in the Left Bank, and we’d go there and we’d sit down at a café. In those days -- this was before paparazzi had arrived -- there was a custom in France that you should not bother celebrities. We would sit and have a coffee, and sometimes I‘d pick up my camera and take a picture or two. Most of the time, we’d talk. I felt I was in some peculiar way almost re-living Fred Astaire’s role in Funny Face. I was the guy from New York, and Audrey was Audrey. She was really delightful. She laughed easily.

The day we shot that very picture, I was shooting a series to be used for covers of magazines for the purposes of promoting the movie, which she was doing with Peter O’Toole. It became a fairly big movie at one point. I just said to Audrey, “Let’s be a little more playful here.” I said, “Throw your eyes to the side.” I didn’t have to say any more than that. She did with a big perfect smile. Click. That was how that image happened. It’s probably one of my favorite of my career, period.

All photos courtesy Glitterati Incorporated.


A shot of Marilyn Monroe, by Douglas Kirkland.


A shot of Brigitte Bardot, by Douglas Kirkland.


A shot of Catharine Deneuve, by Douglas Kirkland.


A shot of Cher, by Douglas Kirkland.


A shot of Dennis Hopper, by Douglas Kirkland.