1954 was a very successful and busy year for Audrey Hepburn. It was the year in which she got her first and only Oscar for Best Actress (for her role in "Roman Holiday" (1953)), the year in which "Sabrina" was released, and also the year of her successful performance in the Broadway play "Ondine", for which she received the Tony Award. On top of that, she also started a tumultuous relationship with Mel Ferrer, her co-star in "Ondine", which led to marriage in September of that same year.
The Broadway play "Ondine" was Mel Ferrer's project. Not only did he choose the play (originally French), but he also played the male lead, chose Audrey Hepburn (whom he had met the year before) as his co-star, and was involved in all other aspects of the production. The play ran on Broadway from 18 February through 3 July 1954, with all 157 shows sold out.
The following letter was written by Audrey on 3 July 1954, addressed to her friend Rupert. Audrey would play Ondine for the last time that evening. In the letter, she tells her friend how hectic everything has been, how overwhelmed she is by her success and how much she needs a vacation:
46th Street Theatre
New York, N.Y
July 3rd, 1954
My dear Rupert,
At last, at last a word from me. Your letter to me on February 25th is possibly the nicest letter anybody ever wrote to me, and certainly the nicest I received during those past months. What a warm, friendly and thoughtful person you are.
On getting your letter, I tucked it away with a few other rather special ones knowing I know you well enough and didn't have to answer immediately, but could one day write quietly and at my leisure, and think about what I was writing. Little did I know what was in store for me. Quiet moments were non-existent, and I had never in my life had to cope with so many things -most of them wonderful- at once. Everything grew beyond proportion except my capacity to cope. Consequently, it has been an exciting and quite ecstatic period, but at times quite a harrassing one.
Needless to say I am happy and grateful for it all. I only regret that on some occasions I must have fallen short on my obligations especially to friends such as you who have had to wait until today to get an answer to their letters. On the other hand you could say that I had waited for a very special moment to write to you. Today is our closing night, and I am writing this between shows, wallowing in melancholy sadness at parting from my chums and from this part which I do adore playing, on top of which this production has done an average of $42,000 a week and has broken all records for any straight play on Broadway, ever.
On the other hand. I really am very very tired. I can't wait to get to Switzerland for a complete rest. You may wonder why Switzerland when there are so many divine spots to go to, but this is on doctor's orders. I shall serve my time there and then try to have a little fun around the gayer places.
Dear Rupert, take care of yourself, and please let me hear from you again one day. Once again, thank you for the sweet things you said in your letter.
till very soon