Although many lay claim to having 'discovered' Audrey Hepburn, Audrey herself attributed her discovery to French novelist Colette. Soon after her first significant film role in Secret People, Audrey was offered a small part in the musical comedy Monte Carlo Baby, which would be shot in both French and English simultaneously on the French Riviera. Audrey was the only member of the cast to play her part in both versions, as she spoke perfect French.
When shooting a scene in the lobby of the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, Audrey was spotted by Colette, who along with a team of talent scouts across Europe and America, was then searching in vain for a young actress to play the part of the gamine Gigi in the Broadway adaptation of her 1944 novella. In American Weekly, 1952, Colette recalled ...the moment I saw her I could not take my eyes away. "There," I said to myself incredulously, "is Gigi!" ...That afternoon I offered her the part.
Although feeling ill-equipped to play such a leading role, Audrey eventually agreed, sailing for New York in October 1951, and learning her lines over the eighteen day crossing. Rehearsals were tough, but by the time of the preview in Philadelphia, the critics declared her the acting find of the year. Within a week of opening at the Fulton Theatre on 24 November, Audrey's name was up in lights, given top billing above the title of the play - she was a star. The show ran for a total of 219 performances, closing on 31 May, 1952.