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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 13:57 GMT
Hepburn's sons empty tribute museum
Actress Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn lived in Switzerland for 30 years
A museum dedicated to the memory of screen icon Audrey Hepburn has been forced to reconsider its future after it was emptied of its exhibits by the actress's sons.

Pavilion Audrey Hepburn, in the Swiss village of Tolochenaz, where Hepburn lived for 30 years before her death in 1993, was adorned with Hepburn memorabilia, including clothes and photos.

But Hepburn's sons Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti took away the contents of its two-room display after their complaints that the museum's activities were becoming too commercial were ignored.

Mr Ferrer and Mr Dotti said the museum was cashing in on their mother's legacy, and trampling on her humanitarian role with the children's charity Unicef, by selling souvenirs such as Audrey Hepburn jam.

Audrey Hepburn
Hepburn's style was epitomised in films like Breakfast at Tiffany's

But representatives of the museum denied they were doing anything to offend Hepburn's memory.

They said any profits made went towards continuing the actress's charitable work.

Francka Price, the Pavilion Audrey Hepburn's executive director, told BBC News Online they made money through charging an entrance fee and selling just five items, including postcards and jam.

"In six years we have raised 380,000 Swiss francs which have gone towards helping children's charities," said Ms Price.

"We are very sad at Mr Ferrer and Mr Dotti's decision. What they don't understand is that we were not just celebrating the life of an actress but also maintaining a beautiful philosophy."

Ms Price added that she could see nothing objectionable about selling Audrey Hepburn jam since the actress used to make jam from the fruit in her garden to give to her friends.

Peaceful

As the star of movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady, Hepburn - famed for her elegance and grace - was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s.

Actress Audrey Hepburn
Hepburn worked tirelessly for Unicef in later life

Many of the costumes worn by Hepburn, including the little black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's, were housed in the museum.

The actress, who spent the later part of her life campaigning for Unicef, chose to live in the Swiss village because it was secluded and peaceful.

The museum, which is run by volunteers, was set up when fans began visiting the village after her death.

Villagers restored a two-room school and Mr Ferrer donated family heirlooms as exhibits.

The brothers wrote to the museum asking that the most commercial activities be stopped before deciding to take action.

Ms Price said the brothers wanted fans to go only to their own internet site to buy Audrey Hepburn merchandise.

She said the Pavilion would continue in some capacity that remained true to Hepburn's humanitarian work.

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