Milton H. Greene, a legendary photographer known for his striking portraits of many stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, met Audrey Hepburn in 1951

By Liz McNeil
October 24, 2019 02:07 PM
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Not long before he died in 1984, photographer Milton H. Greene confided to his son, Joshua, that he’d once had a fleeting love affair with Audrey Hepburn.

It was the first Joshua, now 64, had heard of their long ago romance when both were starting out in their careers.

Greene, a legendary photographer known for his striking portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Cary Grant and many stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, met Hepburn in 1951, when she was just 22 years old and about to make her Broadway debut in Gigi. He became captivated by his subject, and the two were involved for a little over a year.

“It was the first time he was assigned to photograph her for Life Magazine,” notes Joshua to PEOPLE in this week’s issue (on stands Friday). “It’s a wonderful series and not a lot of it was published.”

Audrey Hepburn
Milton H. Greene © Joshua Greene

Some of those photos are seen for the first time in a new book, Always Audrey, highlighted in this week’s PEOPLE. (The book, published by ACC Art Books, includes the work of six legendary photographers and includes more famous gems by Norman Parkinson, Douglas Kirkland and Terry O’Neill, as well as never before seen images from Lawrence Fried, and Eva Sereny, who photographed the star in her later years.)

Of his father’s photos, Joshua says, “He always loved the way she looked. Audrey is one of those women, when you capture them right, set at the right angle, with the right light, she can be absolutely beautiful but if she’s not captured correctly, she looks like a women with a funny face.”

That face (also celebrated in the 1957 film Funny Face ) made the world fall in love with her.

Audrey Hepburn
Milton H. Greene © Joshua Greene

RELATED: Audrey Hepburn’s Secret Past: New Book Reveals How She Risked Her Life to Fight Against Nazis

Joshua doesn’t know many details of his father’s romance. “My dad was one of those people who didn’t really kiss and tell,” he explains. “He was old school in that regard.”

But his mother Amy Greene, who married Milton in 1953, shared a funny memory of having dinner with Audrey, which Joshua recounts in the new book.

“My mother tells the story about when they met her for the first time and she was seven months pregnant with me,” he recalls. “My mother looked at Audrey and said ‘Oh my god, you’re so beautiful! Would you do me a favor? Could you keep your coat on?’ And Audrey did.”

Audrey Hepburn
Milton H. Greene © Joshua Greene

Their photo collaboration speaks for itself.

“Because they were friends who were intimately close, there’s an added excitement when he’s photographing her,” notes Joshua. “Part of him always felt that his role in photographing women was the make the woman look as beautiful as possible.”

“The two stayed friends throughout their lives,” he says. “He was a big hearted person, as was Audrey.”

Always Audrey is now in stores and online available for purchase from ACC Art Books.

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