Ever wondered what magical ingredients made your favorite movies golden? Welcome to ‘Legend Has It,’ the companion series to The Toast. We’ll break down one movie monthly, providing you with delectable details not known to most folks.The behind-the-scenes scoop. The tasty trivia! We’ve done the research, culled the data, and are bringing you fun facts all to enhance your movie-watching experience. Who knew a movie’s backstory could be so entertaining? It’s all about the legend! In our inaugural edition, we’ll deliver the fashionable behind-the-scenes backstory of the iconic, Oscar-winning Breakfast at Tiffany’s, released today in 1961.
A 60th anniversary is marked by diamonds. And what better than a dash of sparkle to celebrate the 60th anniversary of legendary film Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Let’s glam it up. Released on October 5, 1961, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as we all know, is about sophisticated, but naïve, New York City party girl Holly Golightly, played by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn.
Our girl Holly runs around the city all high heeled up, dodging “ratty” and “super-ratty” men. (Sorry for the bad rap, 1960s guys.) Meanwhile, she grows close to her hunky, strikingly warm-hearted new writer-friend Paul Varjak, who happens to be her new neighbor, played by the wonderfully-cast George Peppard. Oh, and Holly’s ex-husband from Texas shows up wanting to take her back home, as he’s never gotten over their break-up.
It’s a topsy-turvy world, and what ultimately happens to Holly? At its heart, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a classic New York City survival story. The world was touched, and absolutely adored it. And still does. Years later, posters of Audrey’s iconic character are still sold on the street corners of New York City, Paris, Hong Kong, etc. alongside printed screenplays. Also, thank Breakfast at Tiffany’s for making “the little black dress” iconic, along with that dreamy song Moon River. Who doesn’t get teary watching Audrey’s wistful, windowsill rendition?
Even legendary singer Beyoncé donned the Breakfast at Tiffany’s diamond necklace for a media campaign here in 2021. Which brings us full circle. It’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s 60th diamond anniversary! Let’s celebrate in style by honoring not just the movie, but all the pixie dust magic that went into creating this pop culture phenomenon.
6 Chic Facts about Breakfast at Tiffany’s
1. The Whopping 128-Carat Tiffany Diamond Necklace Is A Hot Commodity
Only four people in the world have worn it. In 1957, American socialite Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse. In 1961, Audrey. (Sidebar for those who haven’t seen the flick, Tiffany’s is the uber-chic 5th Avenue jewelry store where Audrey’s Holly Golightly likes to window-shop). In 2019, Lady Gaga wore it to the Oscars ceremony. Then this past August, singer Beyoncé sported the stunning bling in a campaign for Tiffany’s itself. All lucky ladies!
2. The Enchanting Location Was Real
Was Holly Golightly’s charming New York City apartment for real? Yes it was. The address was, and still is, at East 71st St and 3rd Ave, but legend has it that the building’s owners have painted the building’s door a different color than how it appears in the movie (so as to distract curious tourists). But the Upper East Side brownstone is absolutely real and charming!
3. Audrey’s Curbside Whistle Was Fake
Cut to the scene in the movie where Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak, brand new friends, hop down to the sidewalk so that Holly can catch a cab. Now Audrey hails that cabbie with an admirably fierce finger-whistle. But, was that Audrey’s whistle? Or a dub? Dub it was. Audrey confirmed years later that the whistle was dubbed in. Although she tried to do the whistle, she said hers sounded more like a squeak.
4. Audrey’s Casting Was Controversial
Diehard film buffs and movie trivia folks probably know that Audrey Hepburn wasn’t fond of the infamous pastry she had to eat in the movie’s opening scene outside Tiffany’s, or that Audrey wasn’t the top pick for the iconic Holly Golightly role. But why wasn’t she? And who was? Think Marilyn Monroe. Hollywood legend confirms that Breakfast at Tiffany’s writer Truman Capote originally wanted blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn would more closely match the book’s depiction of Holly as more “rough around the edges” both emotionally and physically. The perfectly fragile pixie of Audrey Hepburn proved right on, however, and Truman and audiences never looked back. Audrey was born to play this absolutely career-defining role.
5. Hollywood Astrology Favored This Film
For astrology lovers, it’s enchanting to note that both Hepburn (Taurus) and Peppard (Libra) are born under the Greek/Roman signs of Venus, the planet of love. Maybe this explains their positively sweet on-screen chemistry? It’s ice cream and rainbow sprinkles with these two, a perfect match. Further, in Chinese astrology, the film’s release in 1961 was the Year of the Ox (as is 2021). Some sources cite tulips as a lucky flower for Oxes, and this matches Hepburn’s Dutch heritage. Bring on that colorful, national Dutch flower. And lucky numbers for the Ox are 4 and 1, matching Hepburn’s May 4, 1929, birthdate and Peppard’s October 1, 1928, birthdate. Might this all point to the destiny of this 1961 movie? It’s “true love” written in the stars.
6. Audrey Liked Her Look
According to Audrey, Breakfast at Tiffany’s proved to be a role that was the “easiest to look at” and that she was “least embarrassed by.” Who knew that the beloved Audrey was self-conscious about her looks? It’s endearing, and we can all concur that she looked smashing in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn was a treasure, and her Holly Golightly is still enchanting audiences today.
Catch all the stories from the Legend Has It series here.
I was once an exec for The Economist magazine. Nowadays, I'm a published poet, travel writer, and "vintage" pop culture blogger from the New York City area. I love movies, and especially those dusty old classics. I "heart" the rich history of film.