Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman

Sam Wasson

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0061774162

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2010

 

“So smart and entertaining it should come with its own popcorn” – People

 

“A bonbon of a book… As well tailored as the little black dress the movie made famous.” – Janet Maslin, New York Times

 

“Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian.” – The New Yorker

“Reads like carefully crafted fiction…[Wasson] carries the reader from pre-production to on-set feuds and conflicts, while also noting Hepburn’s impact on fashion (Givenchy’s little black dress), Hollywood glamour, sexual politics, and the new morality. Capote would have been entranced.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Sam Wasson’s exquisite portrait of Audrey Hepburn peels backs her sweet facade to reveal a much more complicated and interesting woman. He also captures a fascinating turning point in American history— when women started to loosen their pearls, and their inhibitions. I devoured this book.” — Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson is the first ever complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With a cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, director Blake Edwards, and, of course, Hepburn herself, Wasson immerses us in the America of the late fifties, before Woodstock and birth control, when a not-so-virginal girl by the name of Holly Golightly raised eyebrows across the nation, changing fashion, film, and sex, for good. With delicious prose and considerable wit, Wasson delivers us from the penthouses of the Upper East Side to the pools of Beverly Hills presenting Breakfast at Tiffany’s as we have never seen it before—through the eyes of those who made it.

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in the book she comes from Texas, whereas the real Holly was a German refugee who arrived in New York at the beginning of the War, when she was seventeen years old. Very few people were aware of this, however, because she spoke English without any trace of an accent. She had an apartment in the brownstone where I lived and we became great friends. Everything I wrote about her is literally true—not about her friendship with a gangster called Sally Tomato and all that, but everything about her

Cleopatra. Only No Bail for the Judge, the film Alfred Hitchcock announced would be his next, piqued her interest. But she had reservations about the material. The role of Elizabeth—a British barrister who sets out alone to acquit her father of murdering a prostitute—was quite blatantly at odds with her traditional persona, which, in the years since Sabrina, had maintained its conservative stance. Audrey was still very much the party-less party-line girl. In 1956, aiming to take on a “serious”

born to play it. There was, however, one condition: Neal would have to dye her hair red so as to stand apart from the dark-haired Audrey. Fine, she said, great (though she couldn’t wait to dye it back). Neal signed the contract in September. They didn’t even test her for the part. As for Jose da Silva Pereira, Holly’s Brazilian suitor, it was unlikely Blake could do any better than the Marquis José Luis Cabeza de Vaca de Vilallonga. He had come recommended by Audrey and Mel who had spotted him

Johnny would compose lying down. Stretched across a bed or along a couch with his eyes closed, Mercer would cycle words and images through his mind all without the help of paper and pen. It looked like sleeping to those who saw it, and indeed earned him the epithet lazy, but anyone who knew of Mercer’s prolificacy had to have thought it less like snoozing than dreaming. Sometimes he’d surface with a fractured image that he’d take down with him the next time he submerged, and sometimes he’d come

conversation of February 9, 2009. George’s anger at the Mickey Rooney segments, “Each time he appeared I said…,” can be found in George Axelrod in Screencraft: Screenwriting (Focal Press, 2003). What Billy said to Axelrod about leaving New York is paraphrased from Backstory 3 (University of California Press, 1997). Axelrod would repeat the same conversation, with negligible variations, throughout his career. Mancini Is Ready to Score: Mancini’s autobiography, Did They Mention the Music?, was

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