Family & Companions
"Like a nun with a switchblade" --Christopher Plummer
Made a Dame of the British Empire in December 1999
Singer-actress Julie Andrews came from humble beginnings on the English vaudeville circuit before going on to become one of the showbiz's brightest talents, and ultimately, one of entertainment's greatest living treasures. After a string of hit productions on Broadway - and being denied the opportunity to reprise her roles on film - Hollywood at last opened its doors to Andrews when she landed the lead in Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins" (1964). Her enchanting performance, combined with a stunning four-octave vocal range, won her an Oscar. Andrews followed with her career-making turn as the embodiment of kindness and sincerity, Maria Von Trapp, in "The Sound of Music" (1965). The record breaking film would remain one of the most successful and beloved movies of all time, gaining legions of fans for generations to come. Andrews went on to score more cinematic hits with director husband Blake Edwards, including "10" (1979) and "Victor/Victoria" (1982), as well as enjoy a respectable career as a children's book author. Andrews also won over new audiences with turns in projects like "The Princess Diaries" (2001), or lending her still regal voice to the animated fairy tale romp "Shrek 2" (2004). Through the years, Andrews came to epitomize the concepts of dignity, grace and rare talent - traits that endeared her to fans the world over.
Born on Oct. 1, 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, England, Andrews joined her mother Barbara and stepfather Ted Andrews' touring vaudeville act at the age of 12. In her first major appearance - in "Starlight Waltz" (1947) - Andrews brought the house down at the Hippodrome with her amazing vocal prowess. She quickly graduated to top billing, becoming the family's primary breadwinner on the strength of her several octave-range soprano and continued to tour once her parents retired, traveling with a tutor until she was 15. Title roles in pantomime productions of "Humpty Dumpty" (1948), "Red Riding Hood" (1950) and "Cinderella" (1953) preceded her Broadway debut as Polly in Sandy Wilson's 1920s pastiche, "The Boyfriend" (1954). Two years later, she was starring on the Great White Way as Eliza Doolittle in a production of "Pygmalion," and in Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady," which earned her a Tony nomination. After a four-year run, Andrews landed another plum role, playing Guinevere to Richard Burton's King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot." A second Tony nomination soon followed.
Though her lilting, sweet soprano and prim British charm had earned her kudos as a Broadway musical star, Andrews was slow to win Hollywood over and would lose all three roles she had created on Broadway to non-singers in their film incarnations. She did impress Walt Disney enough, however, to be offered the title role of "Mary Poppins" (1964), although she kept him waiting until it was definite that Eliza Doolittle would be played by Audrey Hepburn. A truly wonderful amalgam of live-action, animation and Oscar-winning music, "Mary Poppins" earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. That same year, she displayed her non-musical abilities opposite James Garner in "The Americanization of Emily" before reaching greater heights as Maria in the blockbuster film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" (1965), which became the highest-grossing movie of all time until "Jaws" knocked it from its perch a decade later. The incredible success of that film chiseled her wholesomeness in granite, while the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967) reinforced her as a sweet thing with terminal cuteness. Hoping to repeat the success of their initial teaming on "The Sound of Music," director Robert Wise cast Andrews as stage legend Gertrude Lawrence in "Star!" (1968), but the actress failed to come across in that razzle-dazzle biopic-cum-musical. Nevertheless, Andrews acquitted herself in the production numbers, but was hampered by the script's take on Lawrence.
Attempts to break away from her goody-two-shoes stereotyping by appearing in less wholesome, non-musical fare - e.g., Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain" (1966) - were ineffectual, and it would take frequent collaborations with second husband Blake Edwards - including roles in "The Tamarind Seed" (1974), "10" (1979) and "That's Life" (1986) - for her to finally prove herself a deft comedienne and a warm dramatic actress. In his glib Movieland satire "S.O.B" (1981), Andrews played an actress baring her breasts for financial reasons, and since she was still trying to shed her virginal image at the time, her going buff made the film a parody of itself. One of her most significant big screen successes was Edwards' gender-bending, often hilarious "Victor/Victoria" (1982), which earned her a third Best Actress Oscar nomination. Over a decade later, she reprised its woman playing a man playing a woman for the Broadway version. Andrews created a flap when she declined her Tony nomination in protest because no one else associated with the production received a nod. A televised version of the 1995 production was aired as part of the Bravo cable series "Broadway on Bravo."
In 1998, Andrews underwent throat surgery that went horribly awry and subsequently robbed her of her crystalline, perfectly pitched singing voice. In 2000, her malpractice suit against the doctors who allegedly botched her surgery was settled for an undisclosed sum, estimated at $30 million. After some counseling to help her deal with the trauma of the loss of her most treasured asset, Andrews also engaged in therapy that helped her regain some of her vocal range. In the meantime, she stayed busy as an actress, appearing as the awkward fledgling royal Anne Hathaway's oh-so-regal grandmother in Garry Marshall's surprise hit film, "The Princess Diaries" (2001), a role she reprised for the sequel "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" (2004). She also provided the voice of Queen Lillian, mother of Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) in the animated sequels, "Shrek 2" (2004) and "Shrek the Third" (2007). That same year, Andrews provided narration for Disney's spot-on self-parody of the fairy tale genre it helped create with "Enchanted" (2007), one the studio's most successful live action features in years. Less worthy of the famous Andrews charm was the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson vehicle "Tooth Fairy" (2010), in which she played the head tooth fairy, Lily. She again voiced the Queen in "Shrek Forever After" (2010), in addition to voicing the mother of super villain extraordinaire, Gru, in Dreamworks' animated feature, "Despicable Me" (2010).
As if the multi-faceted entertainer did not have enough feathers in her cap, Andrews authored several children's books - something she had actually been doing for years - including The Very Fairy Princess written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. The mother-daughter team collaborated once again on a personally-selected anthology, Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. The illustrated book was accompanied by four CDs featuring Andrews introducing the selections, and giving dramatic readings of the material along with Hamilton. In November 2010, Andrews' most revered film made headlines once more, when its core cast reunited for the 45th anniversary of "The Sound of Music" on the "Oprah Winfrey Show." The studio audience was ecstatic, as cast members like Christopher Plummer regaled them with anecdotes from the production. Sadly, the year would end on a supremely tragic note, when on December 15, Andrews' husband, collaborator and friend, Blake Edwards, died of complications due to pneumonia. The actress and their five children were at Edwards' hospital bedside when he passed.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Music (TV Mini-Series)
Misc. Crew (TV Mini-Series)
Began performing on stage with her parents, singing while her mother played the piano
Professional stage debut at the London Hippodrome as part of a musical revue called "Starlight Waltz"
Became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance, at the London Palladium
Made her television debut on the BBC program "RadiOlympia Showtime"
First film credit, dubbing her voice for the English-language version of Italian animated film, "La rosa di Bagdad/The Rose of Bagdad"
Became a regular cast member on the BBC radio comedy show, "Educating Archie"
Made Broadway debut portraying Polly Browne in the successful London musical, "The Boy Friend"
Appeared with Bing Crosby in what is considered the first made-for-television movie, "High Tor" on CBS
Played Eliza Doolittle to Rex Harrison's Henry Higgins in the Broadway production of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady"
Featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein television musical, "Cinderella"; aired live on CBS
Starred on Broadway as Guinevere to Richard Burton's King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot"
Co-starred in a CBS special with Carol Burnett which was taped at Carnegie Hall in New York
Acted opposite James Garner in "The Americanization of Emily"
Played the title role in Disney's "Mary Poppins"; won Best Actress Academy Award
Earned an Emmy nomination for guest starring on the NBC-TV variety series, "The Andy Williams Show"
Appeared in the NBC color special, "The Julie Andrews Show," which featured Gene Kelly and The New Christy Minstrels as guests
Portrayed Maria von Trapp in Robert Wise's "The Sound of Music"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress
First of back-to-back films with director George Roy Hill, "Hawaii"
Starred with Paul Newman in the Hitchcock thriller, "Torn Curtain"
Re-teamed with Hill for the musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
Portrayed Gertrude Lawrence in Robert Wise's "Star!"
Acted in first of seven films directed by husband Blake Edwards, "Darling Lili"
Starred in her own television variety series, "The Julie Andrews Hour" on the ABC network; cancelled after one season
Second film with Edwards, "The Tamarind Seed"
Appeared with Jim Henson's the Muppets on a CBS-TV special, "Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring"
Again directed by husband Blake Edwards in "10," also starring with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore
Appeared in Blake Edwards' "S.O.B."; famously appeared topless
Played duel roles of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in Edwards' "Victor/Victoria"; earned third Best Actress Academy Award nomination
Seventh and last feature with Edwards, "That's Life!"
Starred in an ABC holiday special, "Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas"
Made her television dramatic debut in the ABC made-for-TV movie, "Our Sons"
Last feature for eight years, Gene Saks' "A Fine Romance"
Starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom, "Julie"
Returned to the NYC stage for a limited run at the Manhattan Theatre Club in the off-Broadway revue of Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together"
Returned to Broadway after 35 years to star in the stage musical version of "Victor/Victoria"; written and directed by Edwards
Declined nomination for Tony Award as Outstanding Actress in a Musical because she was sole nominee for "Victor/Victoria"
Recorded the speaking voice of Polly for the British stage musical, "Dr. Dolittle"
Re-teamed with James Garner for the CBS made-for-TV movie, "One Special Night"
Returned to features after eight years in "Relative Values," an adaptation of a Noel Coward play
Portrayed the Queen of Genovia in the Disney comedy, "The Princess Diaries"
Re-teamed with Christopher Plummer for live TV production of "On Golden Pond" (CBS)
Portrayed the nanny in two ABC made-for-television movies based on the Eloise books, "Eloise at the Plaza" and "Eloise at Christmastime"; earned an Emmy nomination for latter film
Directed a revival of "The Boy Friend," the musical in which she made her Broadway debut in 1954
Voiced Fiona's mother, the Queen, in the animated feature "Shrek 2"
Reprised role as Queen of Genovia in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"
Named the Official Ambassador for Disneyland's 18 month-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth"
Narrated the Disney film, "Enchanted"
Reprised role of the Queen for "Shrek the Third"
Published her autobiography, <i>Home: A Memoir of My Early Years</i>
Voiced the character of Gru's Mom in the animated film "Despicable Me"
Played the queen of all the tooth fairies in the comedy film, "The Tooth Fairy"
Earned a Grammy nomination for narrating <i>Julie Andrews' Collection Of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies</i>
Returned to voice Gru's Mom in "Despicable Me 3"
Returned to the screen after a seven-year hiatus in the performing arts workshop series "Julie's Greenroom"
"Like a nun with a switchblade" --Christopher Plummer
Made a Dame of the British Empire in December 1999
Cindy Adams revealed in her January 8, 1993 column that Andrews is one of Great Britain's ten richest women.
She received the Woman of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Times in 1965.
Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland (1970)
Named Woman of the Year by B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League (1983)
Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1997
Andrews garnered headlines in May 1996 when she refused a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for "Victor/Victoria". Because she was the only person associated with the show who was cited by the nominating committee, Andrews chose to stand with the "egregiously overlooked" company and asked that her name be withdrawn. While Andrews' name remained on the ballot, she lost to Donna Murphy in "The King and I".
"Andrews won the Oscar mainly as a rebuke to Jack Warner for cheating her out of the Hepburn [Audrey] part in "My Fair Lady". Actually the old mogul's instincts were dead on, and we got the best of both worlds. Andrews could get away with Eliza Doolittle on stage, but the camera would have revealed her shamming trying to play Rex Harrison's social and intellectual inferior--she's about as socially insecure as a Sherman tank. Winsome, vulnerable Hepburn was just right for the movie--and the imperturbable Poppins was just right for Andrews' debut." --Michael Gebert in "The Encyclopedia of Movie Awards"
"We laugh about Mary Poppins and Maria and the corniness of all that, but you watch her in a room full of children who don't know "Mary Poppins" or "The Sound of Music" and, I mean, she's like a magnet. They just go right to her." --Blake Edwards quoted in Vanity Fair, October 1995.