Author opens school in India with Hepburn's dress

28th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

LAXMIKANTAPUR, India, Feb 28, 2007 (AFP) - French author Dominique Lapierre on Wednesday opened the first of 15 schools planned in India with money raised by auctioning an iconic dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

LAXMIKANTAPUR, India, Feb 28, 2007 (AFP) - French author Dominique Lapierre on Wednesday opened the first of 15 schools planned in India with money raised by auctioning an iconic dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

The sleek evening gown by Givenchy that Hepburn wore in her role as Holly Golightly in the popular Academy Award-winning 1961 movie was auctioned last year for 825,000 dollars.

The gown was auctioned on behalf of the charity City of Joy Aid, based in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, where the author's bestselling book "City of Joy" is set.

"You may never have seen Audrey Hepburn. She will be happy to see from heaven that her famous dress in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' has served to build schools and rehabilitation centres for Indian children," Lapierre said.

Thousands of people, mostly children, greeted the author and shouted "Dominique dada (brother), we will never forget you for the gift".

The co-author of "Freedom at Midnight" about the subcontinent's independence from Britain in 1947 with Larry Collins said he will build 14 more schools with the proceeds across West Bengal state, of which Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is the capital.

"It's a fitting tribute to Audrey Hepburn who dedicated the later part of her life to helping destitute children," Lapierre said at the opening of the school in Laxmikantapur village, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Kolkata.

Lapierre said the Italian silk dress was given to him by its designer Hubert de Givenchy.

Lapierre shuttles frequently between France and India, and shares royalties from his books with the Kolkata charity, which helps the city's slum children.

"City of Joy", which sold over eight million copies, is the tale of a Roman Catholic priest in one of the world's worst slums in Kolkata that is ironically known as Anand Nagar, or the City of Joy.

Lapierre has been a long-time sponsor of the treatment of diseases such as leprosy, cholera and tuberculosis as well as building homes for the poor in West Bengal.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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