Born Julia Elizabeth Wells
1 October 1935 (1935-10-01)
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom
Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
Occupation Actress, singer, author
Years active 1945–present
Blake Edwards (1969 - present)
1964 Mary Poppins
1964 Mary Poppins
Outstanding Variety, Music/Comedy Series
1973 The Julie Andrews Hour
Outstanding Nonfiction Series
2004 Broadway: The American Musical
Golden Globe Awards
Best Actress - Musical or Comedy
1965 Mary Poppins
1966 The Sound of Music
Best Album for Children
1965 Mary Poppins
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Life Achievement Award
2006 Lifetime Achievement
Julie Andrews in 2003
|Born||Julia Elizabeth Wells
1 October 1935 (1935-10-01)
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
|Occupation||Actress, singer, author|
Tony Walton (m. 1959–1967) «start: (1959)–end+1: (1968)»"Marriage:
Tony Walton to Julie Andrews" Location:
Blake Edwards (m. 1969–present) «start: (1969)»"Marriage: Blake Edwards to Julie Andrews" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Andrews)
Dame Julie Elizabeth Andrews, DBE (née Wells; 1 October 1935) is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honours. Andrews was a former British child actress and singer who made her Broadway debut in 1954 with The Boy Friend, and rose to prominence starring in other musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, and in musical films such as Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965): the roles for which she is still best-known. Her voice spanned four octaves until it was damaged by a throat operation in 1998.
Andrews had a major revival of her film career in the 2000s, in family films such as The Princess Diaries (2001), its sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), and the Shrek animated films (2004–2007). In 2003 Andrews revisited her first Broadway success, this time as a stage director, with a revival of The Boy Friend at the Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, New York (and later at the Goodspeed Opera House, in East Haddam, Connecticut in 2005).
Andrews is also an author of children's books, and in 2008 she published an autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.
Andrews was born Julia Elizabeth Wells on 1 October 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, England. Her mother, Barbara Wells (née Morris), was married to Edward C. "Ted" Wells, a teacher of metal and woodworking, but Julie was conceived as a result of an affair her mother had with a family friend.
With the outbreak of World War II, Barbara and Ted Wells went their separate ways. Ted Wells assisted with evacuating children to Surrey during the Blitz while Barbara joined Ted Andrews in entertaining the troops through the good offices of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). Barbara and Ted Wells were soon divorced; they both remarried—Barbara to Ted Andrews in 1939, and Ted Wells to a former hairstylist working a lathe at a war factory that employed them both in Hinchley Wood, Surrey.
Julia Wells lived briefly with Ted Wells and her brother John in Surrey. About 1940, Ted Wells sent her to live with her mother and stepfather, who, the elder Wells thought, would be better able to provide for his talented daughter's artistic training. According to her 2008 autobiography Home, while Julia had been used to calling Ted Andrews "Uncle Ted", her mother suggested it would be more appropriate to refer to her stepfather as "Pop", while her father remained "Dad" or "Daddy" to her. Julia disliked this change.
The Andrews family was "very poor and we lived in a bad slum area of London", Andrews recalled, adding, "That was a very black period in my life." In addition, according to Andrews's 2008 memoir, her stepfather was an alcoholic. Ted Andrews twice, while drunk, tried to get into bed with his stepdaughter, resulting in Julie putting a lock on her door. But, as the stage career of Ted and Barbara Andrews improved, they were able to afford to move to better surroundings, first to Beckenham and then, as the war ended, back to Andrews' home town of Walton-on-Thames. The Andrews family took up residence at The Old Meuse, a house where Andrews' maternal grandmother happened to have served as a maid.
Andrews' stepfather sponsored lessons for Julie, first at the Cone-Ripman School, an independent arts educational school in London, then with the famous concert soprano and voice instructor Lilian Stiles-Allen. "She had an enormous influence on me", Andrews said of Stiles-Allen, adding, "She was my third mother -- I've got more mothers and fathers than anyone in the world." In her 2008 autobiography Home, Andrews denies having perfect pitch. After Cone-Ripman School, Andrews continued her academic education at the nearby Woodbrook School, a local state school in Beckenham.
Andrews performed spontaneously and unbilled on stage with her parents for about two years beginning in 1945. "Then came the day when I was told I must go to bed in the afternoon because I was going to be allowed to sing with Mummy and Pop in the evening", Andrews explained. She would stand on a beer crate to reach the microphone and sing while her mother played piano, sometimes a solo or as a duet with her stepfather. "It must have been ghastly, but it seemed to go down all right."
Andrews got her big break when her stepfather introduced her to Val Parnell, whose Moss Empires controlled prominent venues in London. Andrews made her professional solo debut at the London Hippodrome singing the difficult aria "Je Suis Titania" from Mignon as part of a musical revue called "Starlight Roof" on 22 October 1947. She played the Hippodrome for one year. Andrews recalled "Starlight Roof" saying, "There was this wonderful American entertainer and comedian, Wally Boag, who made balloon animals. He would say, 'Is there any little girl or boy in the audience who would like one of these?' And I would rush up onstage and say, 'I'd like one, please.' And then he would chat to me and I'd tell him I sang... I was fortunate in that I absolutely stopped the show cold. I mean, the audience went crazy."
On 1 November 1948, Andrews became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance, at the London Palladium, where she performed along with Danny Kaye, the Nicholas Brothers and the comedy team George and Bert Bernard for members of King George VI's family.
Andrews followed her parents into radio and television. She reportedly made her television debut on the BBC program RadiOlympia Showtime on 8 October 1949. She garnered considerable fame throughout the United Kingdom for her work on the BBC radio comedy show Educating Archie; she was a cast member from 1950 to 1952.
Andrews appeared on West End Theatre at the London Casino, where she played one year each as Princess Badroulbadour in Aladdin and the egg in Humpty Dumpty. She also appeared on provincial stages across United Kingdom in Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood, as well as starring as the lead role in Cinderella.
At the age of 14, in 1950, Andrews was asked to sing at a party, and it was then that she learned that Ted Wells was not her biological father.
On 30 September 1954, on the eve of her 19th birthday, Andrews made her Broadway debut portraying "Polly Browne" in the already highly successful London musical The Boy Friend. To the critics, Andrews was the stand-out performer in the show. In November 1955, Andrews was signed to appear with Bing Crosby in what is regarded as the first made-for-television movie, High Tor.
Andrews auditioned for a part in the Richard Rodgers musical Pipe Dream. Although Rodgers wanted her for Pipe Dream, he advised her to take the part in the Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner musical My Fair Lady if it was offered to her. In 1956, she appeared in My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle to Rex Harrison's Henry Higgins. Rodgers was so impressed with Andrews' talent that, concurrent with her run in My Fair Lady, she was featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein television musical, Cinderella. Cinderella was broadcast live on CBS on 31 March 1957, under the musical direction of Alfredo Antonini and attracted an estimated 107 million viewers.
Andrews married the set designer Tony Walton on 10 May 1959 in Weybridge, Surrey. They had first met in 1948 when Andrews was appearing at the London Casino in the show Humpty Dumpty. The couple filed for a divorce on November 14, 1967.
Between 1958 and 1962, she appeared on such specials as CBS-TV's The Fabulous Fifties and NBC-TV's The Broadway of Lerner & Loewe. In addition to guest starring on The Ed Sullivan Show, she also appeared on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, What's My Line?, The Jack Benny Program, The Bell Telephone Hour, and The Garry Moore Show. In June 1962, Andrews co-starred in a CBS special with Carol Burnett which was taped at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1960, Lerner and Loewe again cast her in a period musical, as Queen Guinevere in Camelot, with Richard Burton and newcomer Robert Goulet. Meanwhile, movie studio head Jack Warner decided Andrews lacked sufficient name recognition for her casting in the film version of My Fair Lady; Eliza was played by the established film actress Audrey Hepburn instead. As Warner later recalled, the decision was easy. "In my business I have to know who brings people and their money to a movie theatre box office. Audrey Hepburn had never made a financial flop."
Andrews played the title role in Disney's Mary Poppins. Walt Disney had seen a performance of Camelot and thought Andrews would be perfect for the role of a British nanny who is "practically perfect in every possible way!" Andrews initially declined because of pregnancy, but Disney politely insisted, saying, "We'll wait for you" (confirmed by 40th anniversary Mary Poppins DVD Walt Disney Pictures 2004). Andrews and her husband headed back to the United Kingdom in September 1962 to await the birth of daughter Emma Katherine Walton, who was born in London two months later. Andrews and family returned to America in 1963 and began the film.
As a result of her performance in Mary Poppins, Andrews won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress and the 1965 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She and her Mary Poppins co-stars also won the 1965 Grammy Award for Best Album for Children. As a measure of "sweet revenge," as Poppins songwriter Richard M. Sherman put it, Andrews closed her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes by saying, "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."
In 1964, she appeared opposite James Garner in The Americanization of Emily (1964), which she has described as her favourite film. In 1966, Andrews won her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was nominated for the 1965 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
After completing The Sound Of Music, Andrews appeared as a guest star on the NBC-TV variety series The Andy Williams Show, which gained her an Emmy nomination. She followed this television appearance with an Emmy Award-winning color special, The Julie Andrews Show, which featured Gene Kelly and The New Christy Minstrels as guests. It aired on NBC-TV in November 1965.
In 1966, Andrews starred with Paul Newman in the Hitchcock thriller Torn Curtain. By the end of 1967, Andrews had appeared in the television special, Cinderella; the biggest Broadway musical of its 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 highest grossing movie of 1966, 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 The Sound of Music.
Andrews appeared in 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). She made only two other films in the 1970s, The Tamarind Seed and 10.
Together Edwards and Andrews adopted two daughters; Amy in 1974 and Joanna in 1975. Edwards already had another daughter, Jennifer, and a son Geoffrey who were 3 and 5 years older than Emma, Andrews' first daughter.
Andrews continued working on television. In 1969, she shared the spotlight with singer Harry Belafonte for an NBC-TV special, An Evening with Julie Andrews and Harry Belafonte. In 1971, she appeared as a guest for the Grand Opening Special of Walt Disney World and that same year, she and Carol Burnett headlined a CBS special, Julie and Carol At Lincoln Center.
In 1972–73, Andrews starred in her own television variety series, The Julie Andrews Hour, on the ABC network. The show won seven Emmy Awards, but was cancelled after one season. Between 1973 and 1975, Andrews continued her association with ABC by headlining five variety specials for the network. She then guest-starred on The Muppet Show in 1977. Andrews again appeared with the Muppets on a CBS-TV special, Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring, which aired in March, 1978.
In 1981, she appeared in Blake Edwards's S.O.B. (1981), in which she played Sally Miles, a character who agrees to "show my boobies" in a scene in the film-within-a-film.
In 1983, Andrews was chosen as the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year by the Harvard University theatrical society. The roles of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in the film Victor/Victoria earned Andrews the 1983 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as a nomination for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Actress, her third Oscar nomination.
In December 1987, Andrews starred in an ABC holiday special, Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas, which won five Emmy Awards. Two years later, she was reunited for the third time with Carol Burnett for a variety special which aired on ABC in December, 1989.
In the summer of 1992, she starred in her first television sitcom, Julie, which aired on ABC and co-starred James Farentino. In December, 1992, Andrews hosted the NBC holiday special, Christmas In Washington.
In 1993, she starred in a limited run at the Manhattan Theatre Club, of the American premiere of Stephen Sondheim's revue, Putting It Together. Between 1994 and 1995, Andrews recorded two solo albums - the first saluted the music of Richard Rodgers and the second paid tribute to the words of Alan Jay Lerner. In 1995, she starred in the 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 world tour. When she was the only Tony Award nominee for the production, she declined the nomination, saying that she could not accept because she felt the entire production was snubbed.
Andrews was forced to quit the show towards the end of the Broadway run in 1997, when she developed vocal problems. She subsequently underwent surgery to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat and was left unable to sing. In 1999, Andrews filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, including Dr. Scott Kessler and Dr. Jeffrey Libin, who had operated on her throat. Originally, the doctors assured Andrews that she should regain her voice within six weeks, but Andrews' stepdaughter Jennifer Edwards said in 1999 "it's been two years, and it [her singing voice] still hasn't returned." The lawsuit was settled in September 2000.
Later that year, Andrews was reunited with James Garner for the CBS made-for-TV movie, One Special Night, which aired in November 1999.
In the 2000 New Year's Honours, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). She also appears at #59 on the 2002 List of "100 Greatest Britons" sponsored by the BBC and chosen by the public.
In 2001, Andrews received Kennedy Center Honors. The same year, she reunited with Sound of Music co-star Christopher Plummer in a live television performance of On Golden Pond (an adaptation of the 1979 play).
In 2001, Andrews appeared in The Princess Diaries, her first Disney film since 1964's Mary Poppins. She starred as Queen Clarisse Marie Renaldi and reprised the role in a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). In The Princess Diaries 2, Andrews sang on film for the first time since her throat surgery. The song, "Your Crowning Glory", was set in a limited range of an octave to accommodate Andrews' recovering voice. The film's music supervisor Dawn Soler recalled that Andrews "nailed the song on the first take. I looked around and I saw grips with tears in their eyes."
Andrews continued her association with Disney when she appeared as Nanny in two 2003 made-for-television movies based on the Eloise books, a series of children's books by Kay Thompson about a child who lives in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Eloise at the Plaza premiered in April 2003, and Eloise at Christmastime was broadcast in November 2003. The same year, Andrews made her debut as a theatre director, directing a revival of The Boy Friend, the musical in which she made her 1954 Broadway debut, at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York. Her production, which featured costume and scenic design by her former husband Tony Walton, was remounted at the Goodspeed Opera House in 2005 and went on a national tour in 2006.
From 2005 to 2006, Andrews served as the Official Ambassador for Disneyland's 18-month-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth," travelling to promote the celebration and recording narration or appearing at several events at the park.
In 2004, Andrews performed the voice of Queen Lillian in the animated blockbuster Shrek 2 (2004), reprising the role for its sequel, Shrek the Third (2007). Later in 2007, she narrated Enchanted, a live-action Disney musical comedy that both poked fun and paid homage to classic Disney films such as Mary Poppins.
In January 2007, she was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild's awards, and stated that her goals included continuing to direct for the stage, and possibly to produce her own Broadway musical. She published Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, which she characterised as "part one" of her autobiography, on 1 April 2008. Home chronicles her early years in UK's music hall circuit and ends in 1962 with her winning the role of Mary Poppins. For a Walt Disney video release she again portrayed Mary Poppins and narrated the story of The Cat That Looked at a King in 2004.
In July through early August 2008, Andrews hosted Julie Andrews' The Gift of Music, a short tour of the United States where she sang various Rodgers and Hammerstein songs and symphonised her recently published book, Simeon's Gift. These were the first public singing performances in a dozen years, due to her failed vocal cord surgery.
On May 8, 2009, Andrews received the honorary George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music at the annual UCLA Spring Sing competition in Pauley Pavilion. Receiving the award, she remarked, "Go Bruins. Beat 'SC ... strike up the band to celebrate every one of those victories."
On November 25, 2009, it was announced that Andrews will be singing in a concert at The O2 Arena (London) on May 8, 2010. Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and an ensemble of five performers, she will sing favourites from her stage and film career. However, Andrews appeared on British television on 15 December 2009 and said that rumours that she would be singing are not true. Instead, she said, she will be doing a form of "speak singing".
In 2010, for the second consecutive time, Andrews was the official USA presenter of the New Year's Day Vienna concert. She also had a supporting role in the film Tooth Fairy, which opened to unfavourable reviews although the box office receipts were successful. On her promotion tour for the film she also spoke of Operation USA and the aid campain to the Haiti disaster.
Julie Andrews has long had something of a dual image, being both a family-friendly star and an icon for gays and lesbians. According to cultural studies scholar Brett Farmer, she "is notable as one of the few divas to enjoy a parallel popularization across both gay and lesbian reading formations." Andrews herself has acknowledged her strange status, commenting that "I'm that odd mixture of, on the one hand, being a gay icon and, on the other, having grandmas and parents grateful I'm around to be a babysitter for their kids." She has frequently appeared as a formative presence and signifier in narratives of homosexual identity.
Recent gender/cultural studies writers such as Stacy Wolf and Peter Kemp have argued for a different reading of the image projected by her two most famous films, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, as that of a transgressive, subversive and life-changing force, rather than a sugary nanny committed to keeping the traditional status quo. Stacy Wolf's book, A Problem Like Maria—Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical, devotes an entire chapter to The Sound of Music, studying it within a homosexual feminist context, and shedding light on its importance among lesbian spectators.
© Copyright Meryl and Julie - October 2008 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ®