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The ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Cast: A Look Back at Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and More Stars of the ’60s Classic

Plus, surprising behind-the-scenes secrets about the movie!


More than 60 years ago, Audrey Hepburn stood in front of Tiffany’s and ate a croissant… and a legendary movie was born. Based on Truman Capote‘s 1958 novella, the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s follows escort the stylish, quirky escort Holly Golightly (Hepburn) as she falls in love with a penniless writer named Paul Varjak (George Peppard). The movie became a classic, thanks to Hepburn’s gamine style and the film’s poignant take on romance and New York City life.

Posters of Breakfast at Tiffany’s remain ubiquitous as home and dorm room decor today, and the Tiffany’s store seen in the movie remains a landmark — and even now features a cafe inspired by the film!

The film was nominated for five Oscars and won two, and in 2012, it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress — one of the highest honors in the world of classic film.

Here’s a look back at the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s cast.

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Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly 

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly 
Left: 1961; Right: 1990Getty

Born in Belgium in 1929, Audrey Hepburn, who played the lovably offbeat protagonist Holly Golightly, is a ’50s Hollywood icon.

Before she hit the silver screen, Hepburn dabbled in modeling but she soon quit to pursue acting after a producer discovered her.

Hepburn had her first role in a 1948 European film titled Dutch in Seven Lessons, then went on to have a small role in another European film, Young Wives’ Tale (1951). Not feeling like she was reaching her full potential, Hepburn moved to America and quickly rose to fame after starring in Roman Holiday in 1953. She won an Oscar for her role. 

Her luck continued from there, as she starred in the 1954 film Sabrina, and earned another Academy Award nomination. Then she was seen in War and Peace (1956), Funny Face (1957), Love in The Afternoon (1957) and The Nun’s Story (1959), which earned her her third Oscar nomination. She then starred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, earning her yet another Oscar nomination. 

After playing Holly Golightly, Hepburn starred in Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964), Two for the Road (1967), How to Steal a Million (1966) and Wait Until Dark (1967). Wait Until Dark earned Hepburn her fifth and final Oscar nomination.

She had her final acting role in the 1989 film Always. Hepburn died at age 63 in 1993, with many accolades to her name. In fact, she is one of the 19 people in history to be an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner. 

Did you know? Hepburn was known for her charity work, and in 1988, she became a special ambassador for the United Nations UNICEF fund, which helps children in Latin America and Africa. She held this position until her death.    

MUST-READ: 16 Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Facts About ‘My Fair Lady’

George Peppard as Paul Varjak: Breakfast at Tiffany’s cast

George Peppard as Paul Varjack: Breakfast at Tiffany's cast
Left: 1960; Right: 1994 Getty

George Peppard was no stranger to the screen when he took on the role of struggling writer Paul Varjak.

He had previously appeared in a number of ’50s TV episodes, as well as films like The Strange One (1957), Pork Chop Hill (1959), Home From the Hill (1960) and The Subterraneans (1960).

Peppard continued appearing in plenty of movies after being in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s cast. Some notable ones include The Carpetbaggers (1964), The Blue Max (1966), House of Cards (1968), The Groundstar Conspiracy (1972) and Torn Between Two Lovers (1979).

He was also a prolific TV actor, and starred in the classic ’80s series The A-Team from 1983 to 1987. His final appearance was in a 1994 episode of Matlock. He died that year at age 65.

Did you know? Peppard and Hepburn often clashed on set because Hepburn found him and his method acting style very hard to work with. 

Patricia Neal as Mrs. Emily Eustace “2E” Failenson

Patricia Neal as 2-E 
Left: 1961; Right: 2009Getty

Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress Patricia Neal played Paul’s married girlfriend, who he nicknamed “2E.”

Before Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Neal already was already quite well-known. She earned a Tony Award for her role in the in 1946 play Another Part of the Forest, and then signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros., which she was let go from after starring in the 1951 Fox sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. She then acted in the 1957 political satire A Face in the Crowd.

After Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Neal won an Oscar for her role as Alma, a housekeeper who wins Paul Newman‘s affections, in the 1963 film Hud.

Neal’s most well-known role came after that, though, when she played Alma, the housekeeper, opposite Paul Newman in the 1963 film Hud. It won Neal her first Oscar. Soon after, that film, she suffered a stroke and almost passed away, so she decided to take a step back from acting.

Some of her later movies included The Subject Was Roses (1968), Ghost Story (1981) and Cookie’s Fortune (1999). She had her final role in the 2009 movie Flying By, and died at age 84 in 2010. 

Did you know? She was married to the legendary children’s book author Roald Dahl for 30 years. They had five children together. 

MUST-READ: ‘What a Way to Go!’ — A Look Back at Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke and more!

Mickey Rooney as Mr.Yunioshi: Breakfast at Tiffany’s cast

Mickey Rooney as Mr.Yunioshi: Breakfast at Tiffany's cast
Left: 1961; Right: 2014 Getty

Mickey Rooney‘s role as Holly’s landlord, Mr. Yunioshi, is widely seen as an offensive racist stereotype that wouldn’t be permitted today.

With 344 acting credits spanning from 1926 to 2021, Rooney was surely one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood. He began acting at just 6 years old, with his first major role in My Pal, the King, in 1932. In 1939, he was cast as Huckleberry Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He had many more starring roles, in films like A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), Babes in Arms (1939) and National Velvet (1944), to name just a few.

After Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Rooney could be seen in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970), Pete’s Dragon (1977), The Fox and The Hound (1981) and much more.  

Rooney acted for the majority of his long life, appearing in films of virtually every genre. He passed away in 2014 at age 93.

Did you know? He was the first teenager in history to be nominated for an Oscar. He was 19 when he was nominated for his role in the 1939 film Babes in Arms

Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly 

Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly 
Left: 1965; Right: 2003 Getty

Buddy Ebsen, who played a much older man from Holly’s troubled past, began acting in the ’30s.

Ebsen had an uncredited role as the singing voice of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz in 1939. He also appeared in the 1955 film Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier.

Right after Breakfast at Tiffany’s, he landed his best known role, playing the patriarch Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies from 1962 to 1971. He then played the title character in the detective series Barnaby Jones from 1973 to 1980.

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Ebsen continued making TV and movie appearances in the ’80s and ’90s, and was in the show Matt Houston from 1984 to 1985. He also made an appearance in the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies movie. He passed away at 95 in 2003.

Did you know? Outside of acting, he was an artist as well as an avid coin collector. 

MUST-READ: Buddy Ebsen: 14 Facts About ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ and ‘Barnaby Jones’ Actor

Martin Balsam as O.J. Berman: Breakfast at Tiffany’s cast

Martin Balsam as O.J Berman: Breakfast at Tiffany's cast
Left: 1965; Right: ’80s Getty

Martin Balsam played O.J. Berman, Holly’s Hollywood agent

Prior to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, he acted in classic movies like On the Waterfront (1954), 12 Angry Men (1957) and Psycho (1960). 

After Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Balsam starred in A Thousand Clowns (1965), and won an Oscar for his role. He could then be seen in movies like After the Fox (1966), Catch-22 (1970), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), All the President’s Men (1976) and St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).

Balsam racked up 179 credits total, and passed away in 1996 at age 76.

Did you know? He appeared as Dr. Rudy Wells in the 1973 TV movie pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man, but was not in the series.

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