The following biography
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE (born 1
October 1935) is an Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award-winning English
actress, singer, and author. She became famous for her starring roles in
the Broadway musicals My Fair Lady and Camelot, as well as the musical
films Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Of late she has
had a major revival of her career and recently made her debut as a
Birth name Julia Elizabeth Andrews
Born 1 October 1935 (age 71)
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
1964 Mary Poppins
Andrews was born in Walton-on-Thames,
Surrey, England, the daughter of Edward C. "Ted" Wells, a teacher of
metalwork and woodwork, and Barbara Morris, a pianist. Andrews' mother
divorced her father and married Ted Andrews, a man who she worked with
in a Vaudeville act. Andrews' mother, Barbara, took Andrews with her to
her practices as a pianist when Julie was only an infant. When Andrews
was just two years old, she was given her first, non-speaking part in a
show as a fairy. At this time, World War II was going on and Andrews and
her mother and step-father would join their community in air raid
shelters when German planes seemed to be near. While there, Andrews'
step-father would lead everyone in a capella choruses, and Andrews often
sang an octave above everyone else.
After Mr. Andrews started noticing Andrews'
incredible talents, he put her up for voice lessons to further help
develop her abilities. Andrews was taught by Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen.
When Andrews was at home, her step-father made her practice her voice
lessons only a half hour per day.
Occasionally, Andrews would attend the
Cone-Ripman School in London that taught acting and ballet in the
morning and more conventional and academic subjects in the afternoon.
In 1945, at age 10, Andrews was given her
first professional acting opportunity in her parents' Vaudeville variety
act, although she was unbilled.
Andrews made her professional solo debut at
the London Hippodrome in a new musical revue called Starlight Roof in
1947. On 1 November 1948, she became the youngest solo performer ever
to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance, at the London
Palladium, where she performed for King George VI, and members of the
Royal Family. This same year, Julie met Tony Walton.
1954 was a turning point in her career, as Andrews made her New York
stage debut portraying "Polly Brown" in the highly-successful musical,
The Boy Friend.
During the next ten years, Julie starred
and/or made a special appearance in a number of West End theatre
productions and radio shows. Including, but not limited to:
Radioloympia, Showtime, Educating Archie, Aladdin, and Jack and the
In 1954, on the evening before her 19th
birthday, Julie Andrews made her Broadway debut. It was decided that the
then hit London production of The Boy Friend be taken to America with an
all new cast. Julie was the stand-out hit of the show. Not long after
this, Julie was signed to appear opposite Bing Crosby in what is
regarded as the first television film, High Tor. In 1956, she appeared
in the Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner musical My Fair Lady as Eliza
Doolittle, opposite Rex Harrison's Henry Higgins. The show was a musical
adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and became the smash hit
of the decade. Andrews became a sensation. During her run in Lady, she
also starred in the television musical, Cinderella, created especially
for her by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Julie married Tony Walton on May 5, 1959 in
Weybridge, Surrey. They would divorce amicably in 1967. Julie was on a
three week vacation from the London production of My Fair Lady in which
she again played Eliza Dolittle to Rex Harrison's Henry Higgins.
In 1960, Lerner and Loewe again cast her in
a period musical, as Queen Guinevere in Camelot, opposite Richard Burton
and newcomer Robert Goulet. After a slow start, cast appearances on Ed
Sullivan's television show ensured that the show would ultimately become
Rave Broadway reviews aside, studio head
Jack Warner declined to hire Andrews for My Fair Lady. Instead, he chose
film actress Audrey Hepburn to star in the role of Eliza, as he
felt "Audrey Hepburn had never made a financial flop." When the
starring role in the film version of My Fair Lady went to Audrey
Hepburn, she received the "consolation" of starring in Walt Disney's
Mary Poppins. Andrews received this role after Disney saw a performance
of Camelot and thought Julie would be perfect for the role of the
English nanny who is "practically perfect in every way!" In light of her
newly discovered pregnancy, Andrews initially declined, but Disney
politely insisted and said "We'll wait for you." In September of 1962,
Julie and Tony headed back to England to await the birth of their child
Emma Kate Walton, who would be born on November 27, 1962, in London. The
Walton family later returned to America to begin the filming of Mary
Poppins in 1963. As Mary Poppins was Andrews' first film, she has
commented in interviews that it was a learning experience.
“ The patience that I learned that it takes
to make a film. Because, particularly 'Mary Poppins,' because it was all
special effects. Half the film was animated against a big backdrop and
it took forever to set up all these special effects. But it was the best
learning experience I could have had, because I'd never made a film
before. ” 
As a result of her performance in Mary
Poppins, Andrews won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. After
beating Hepburn for the Golden Globe, Andrews got a measure of (as
Poppins songwriter Richard M. Sherman put it) "sweet revenge": In
closing her acceptance speech, Andrews—nervous and hoping the joke would
play well—smiled and said, "and, finally, my thanks to a man who made a
wonderful movie, and who made all this possible in the first place, Mr.
Jack Warner." Her performance also won her the Academy Award for Best
Actress for 1964. At the Grammy Awards, she and her co-stars won the
Grammy Award for Best Album for Children for Mary Poppins.
Andrews' subsequent casting in both The
Americanization of Emily and The Sound of Music was a result of the
producers seeing snippets of Mary Poppins before its release. She was
nominated for an Academy Award again, the following year, for her role
as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music, (with actors Christopher
Plummer and Charmian Carr), briefly becoming one of the most
sought-after stars in Hollywood.
By the end of 1967, Julie had appeared in
the most-watched television special, Cinderella; the biggest Broadway
musical of all-time, My Fair Lady; the largest-selling long playing
album, the Original Cast Recording of My Fair Lady; the biggest hit in
Disney's history, Mary Poppins; the biggest hit in United Artists'
history, Hawaii; the biggest and second biggest hits in Universal's
history, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Torn Curtain; and, the biggest hit
in 20th Century Fox's history, and the most successful film of all-time,
The Sound of Music. This distinction is unmatched by any other performer
1970s, 1980s and 1990s
Star!, a 1968 biopic of Gertrude Lawrence,
and Darling Lili (1970), co-starring Rock Hudson and directed by her
second husband, Blake Edwards (they married in 1969), are often cited by
critics as major contributors to the decline of the movie musical. Both
were damaging to Andrews' subsequent career and, despite several
starring roles in musical and non-musical films—including some directed
by husband Edwards, such as The Tamarind Seed, 10, Victor/Victoria, and
S.O.B., in one scene of which she seemed to be topless — she was seen
very rarely on screen during the 1980s and 1990s.
She starred in her own variety series (for
one season, on the ABC network in 1972 - 1973, winning 7 Emmy Awards),
but the greatest critical acclaim accorded her TV work was for her
variety show specials with her close friend, Carol Burnett.
In 1983, she was chosen as the Hasty
Pudding Woman of the Year by the Harvard University theatrical society.
The same year, Andrews' role in Victor/Victoria earned Andrews her third
Oscar nomination. In addition to her Oscar nomination, Andrews won
another Golden Globe award.
In 1993, she starred in a limited run at
The Manhattan Theater Club, of the American premiere of Stephen
Sondheim's revue, Putting It Together. The show sold-out, immediately,
and proved that there was tremendous interest in seeing her return to
the New York stage.
In 1995, she starred in a very commercially
successful run in a stage musical version of Victor/Victoria. It was her
first appearance in a Broadway show in 35 years. Opening on Broadway on
25 October 1995, at the Marquis Theatre, it later went on the road on a
very successful world tour. When she was the only Tony Award nominee for
the production, she declined the nomination because she felt the entire
production was snubbed. She appeared in the production,
which was directed by her husband, Blake Edwards, for almost the entire
run. After missing more than 30 performances of the show, Andrews quit
the role to undergo throat surgery. Her role in Victor/Victoria was
replaced by friend Liza Minnelli, and months later, by Raquel Welch.
Since her operation, Andrews has been struggling to sing like before.
 In 1999, Andrews filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the
doctors at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital that had operated on her
throat. Originally, the doctors claimed that she should regain her voice
within six weeks, but Andrews' stepdaughter Jennifer Edwards has claimed
that "it's been two years, and it (her singing voice) still hasn't
Director Garry Marshall cast her in The
Princess Diaries and its sequel, playing the role of the queen of an
imaginary country, Queen Clarisse Marie Renaldi; both films, in which
she starred opposite Anne Hathaway, proved to be box-office hits. In the
film The Princess Diaries 2, Andrews made her singing comeback,
performing the song "Your Crowning Glory." The song was written in a
limited one-octave range to accommodate for Andrews' recovering voice.
The film's music superviser Dawn Soler had a positive reaction to
Andrews' performance: "She nailed the song on the first take. I looked
around and I saw grips with tears in their eyes." She has also
starred in two made-for-television movies based on the character of
Eloise (playing her Nanny), the child who lives at the Plaza Hotel in
New York City. In 2004, she lent her voice in the role of Queen Lillian
to Shrek 2, the popular sequel to the 2001 hit Shrek.
In 1999, Julie also starred in a new movie,
One Special Night, made for television, with James Garner. This would be
their third time together in a movie since Victor/Victoria (1982).
In the 2000 New Year's Honours, despite her
long exile in the United States and Switzerland, she was made a Dame
Commander of the British Empire (DBE).
Andrews has been struggling to recover her
five-octave singing voice following surgery to remove vocal fold
nodules, but had a short tour of the USA at the end of 2002 with
Christopher Plummer, Charlotte Church, Max Howard, and the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra. The year before her tour, she and Plummer
reunited for the first time since The Sound of Music in a live
television adaptation of On Golden Pond, which aired on CBS in the
Dame Julie's career is said to have
suffered from typecasting, as her two most famous roles (in Mary Poppins
and The Sound of Music) cemented her image as a "sugary sweet"
personality best known for working with children. Her roles in Blake
Edwards' films could be seen as an attempt to break away from this
image: In 10, her character is a no-nonsense career woman; in
Victor/Victoria, she plays a woman pretending to be a man (who is
working as a female impersonator); and, perhaps most notoriously, in
S.O.B., she plays a character very similar to herself, who agrees (with
some pharmaceutical persuasion) to "show my boobies" in a scene in the
film-within-a-film. For this last performance, late night television
host Johnny Carson thanked Andrews for "showing us that the hills were
still alive", alluding to her most famous line from the title song of
The Sound of Music.
Andrews recently directed a revival of The
Boy Friend, the musical in which she made her Broadway debut in 1954.
The production was created in 2003, at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag
Harbor, New York. It was then remounted at the Tony Award winning
Goodspeed Opera House in 2005, where she developed it further. From
there, the show toured to cities in North America, including: Boston,
Chicago and Toronto through 2006. The production included costume and
scenic design by good friend and former husband, Tony Walton.
Andrews received Kennedy Center Honors in
2001. She also appears in the 2002 List of "100 Greatest Britons"
sponsored by the BBC and chosen by the public. For her contribution to
the motion picture industry, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame, located at 6901 Hollywood Blvd. In a recent (2006) interview, she
said: "To be honest with you, I've never been busier in my life,"
Andrews said. "I'm not quite sure what I was supposed to learn from all
of that. It did bother me. I can't say that I wasn't devastated.
Singing, with an orchestra, being able to sing, was what I'd known my
entire life. Whatever happened, I think I found so much to keep me
feeling that I'm contributing still."
In January of 2007, Andrews was honored
with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild's awards.
The award was presented by two of Andrews' co-stars: Anne Hathaway,
Andrews' co-star in The Princess Diaries, and Dick Van Dyke, her co-star
from Mary Poppins. . When commenting on her feelings on receiving the
award, Andrews said: "I'm terribly honored...I mean, there are an awful
lot of people out there that could be honored. And the fact that they
very sweetly chose me, means a lot." When commenting on her career,
Andrews said: "My career has just been blessed by good fortune, by
amazing mentors who really cared and so many wonderful actors who have
been a part of my life."
Currently, Andrews' goals include
continuing stage direction and possibly producing her own Broadway
Mary Poppins (1964)
The Americanization of Emily (1964)
Salzburg Sight and Sound (1965) (short
The Sound of Music (1965)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Think Twentieth (1967) (short subject)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
Darling Lili (1970)
The Moviemakers (1971) (short subject)
Julie (1972) (documentary)
The Tamarind Seed (1974)
Little Miss Marker (1980)
S.O.B. (1981 film) (1981)
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) (Cameo)
The Man Who Loved Women (1983)
That's Life! (1986)
Duet for One (1986)
A Fine Romance (1991)
Our Sons (1991)
Relative Values (2000)
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Unconditional Love (2002) (Cameo)
Shrek 2 (2004) (voice)
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Shrek the Third (2007) (voice)
Year Award Category Result For
1964 British Academy Award Most Promising
Newcomer Win Mary Poppins
1964 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Win Mary Poppins
1964 Academy Award Best Actress Win Mary
1965 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Win The Sound of Music
1965 Academy Award Best Actress Nominated
The Sound of Music
1967 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Nominated Thoroughly Modern Millie
1968 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Nominated Star!
1970 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
comedy Nominated Darling Lili
1979 Golden Globe Best actress- Musical or
Comedy Nominated 10
1982 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Win Victor/Victoria
1982 Academy Award Best Actress Nominated
1986 Golden Globe Best Actress- Musical or
Comedy Nominated That's Life!
1986 Golden Globe Best Actress- Drama
Nominated Duet For One
2007 Screen Actors Guild SAG Life
Achievement Award Win Lifetime Achievement
Mandy (1973) (Bantam)
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Little Bo : The Story of Bonnie Boadicea
(1999) ISBN 0-7868-0514-5
Dumpy the Dumptruck (2000) ISBN
0-7868-0609-5 (several others in this series)
Simeon's Gift (2003) ISBN 0-06-008914-8
Dragon : Hound of Honor (2005) ISBN
The Great American Mousical (2006) ISBN
^ a b c d e f g h Dame
Julie: The sound of music. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 29 January
^ a b NY Philharmonic
Plays 'My Fair Lady'. ABC News. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 29
^ My Fair Lady (1964) at
Reel Classics. Retrieved on 2005-12-18.
^ a b c d Julie Andrews:
A Life Of Achievements. CBS News. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 29
^ Mary Poppins 40th
Anniversary Edition DVD.
^ a b Andrews sues over
lost voice. BBC News. 15 December 1999. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
^ Singing comeback for
Dame Julie. 19 March 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
^ a b Mirren, 'Miss
Sunshine,' Whitaker top SAG Awards. The Hollywood Reporter. 29
January 2007. Retreived 29 January 2007.
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