At Audrey Hepburn’s funeral in Switzerland in 1993, one of those following the cortege with his wife was a tall, thin, white-haired man in his mid-70s.
Visibly affected, he seemed to hold back as he entered the church with the other guests.
Then, as the coffin was rested on a flower-decked catafalque, Audrey’s elder son Sean detached himself from the pallbearers and, embracing the man, drew him in among the intimates. He had been Audrey’s first husband – and she his third wife – and they had barely spoken for 25 years.
Now he, too, has died – at his home in California earlier this week at the age of 90.
In the year and a half since my arrival, I have thrown my neck, adorned with the requisite Italian scarf, right on to Rome’s dating chopping block. My head remains, pivoting repeatedly like I’m at Wimbledon while, yes, ogling Italian women who could make Michelangelo’s David even harder than he already is.
Although he was an actor and director of some distinction, the obituaries concluded that his greatest claim to fame was his 14-year marriage to the gamine star of Roman Holiday, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady.
Despite his grief at her funeral, it is not an epitaph he would have relished.
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