Dame Julie Andrews
- Category : Actress
- Type : GE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 3
Dame Julie Elizabeth Andrews, DBE (née Julia Wells; born 1 October 1935) is an English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director, and dancer.
She is the recipient of Golden Globe Award, Grammy Award, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honours. In 2000, she was made a Dame for services to the performing arts by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
Andrews is a former child actress and singer who appeared on the West End in 1948, and made her Broadway debut in a 1954 production of The Boy Friend, and rose to prominence starring in musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations. In 1957, she appeared on television with the title role in Cinderella, which was seen by over 100 million viewers.
Andrews made her feature film debut in Mary Poppins (1964), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She received her second Academy Award nomination for The Sound of Music (1965). Adjusted for inflation, these two films are the 25th and 3rd highest grossing films of all time, respectively. Between 1964 and 1967, Andrews had other box office successes with The Americanization of Emily, Hawaii, Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, making her the most successful film star in the world at that time.
In the 1970s, Andrews' film career slowed down following the commercial disappointments of Star!, Darling Lili, and The Tamarind Seed. She returned to prominence with the critical and commercial successes of 10 (1979) and Victor Victoria (1982), for which she received her third Academy Award nomination. During the remainder of the 1980s, Andrews starred in critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful films such as That's Life! and Duet for One, before her career went into eclipse in the 1990s.
Andrews' film career had a major revival in the 2000s with the successes of The Princess Diaries (2001), its sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), the Shrek animated films (2004–2010), and Despicable Me (2010). Her voice, which originally spanned four octaves, was damaged by a throat operation in 1997. 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 published an autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years.
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. Her mother, Barbara Ward Wells (née Morris), was married to Edward Charles "Ted" Wells, a teacher of metalwork and woodwork, but Andrews 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 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 work factory that employed them both in Hinchley Wood, Surrey.
Andrews lived briefly with Ted Wells and her brother John in Surrey. In 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 Julie 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. Julie 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' 2008 memoir, her stepfather was an alcoholic. Ted Andrews twice, while drunk, tried to get into bed with his stepdaughter, resulting in Andrews 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 the Andrews' home town of Hersham. The Andrews family took up residence at the Old Meuse, in West Grove, Hersham, a house (now demolished) where Andrews' maternal grandmother had served as a maid.
Andrews' stepfather sponsored lessons for her, first at the Cone-Ripman School, an independent arts educational school in London, then with concert soprano and voice instructor Madame 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 memoir Julie Andrews – My Star Pupil, Stiles-Allen records: "The range, accuracy and tone of Julie's voice amazed me ... she had possessed the rare gift of absolute pitch" (though Andrews herself refutes this in her 2008 autobiography Home). According to Andrews: "Madame was sure that I could do Mozart and Rossini, but, to be honest, I never was". Of her own voice, she says "I had a very pure, white, thin voice, a four-octave range – dogs would come for miles around." After Cone-Ripman School, Andrews continued her academic education at the nearby Woodbrook School, a local state school in Beckenham.
Early career in the United Kingdom
Julie 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 mic and sing, sometimes a solo or as a duet with her stepfather, while her mother played piano. "It must have been ghastly, but it seemed to go down all right."
Julie 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 person 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, Julie 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.
Julie Andrews followed her parents into radio and television. She reportedly made her television debut on the BBC programme 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.
In 1950 at the age of 14, Andrews was asked to sing at a party of a family friend, Katherine Norwalk, and it was then that she learned that Ted Wells was not her biological father.
Early career in the United States
On 30 September 1954 on the eve of her 19th birthday, Julie 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. Near the end of her Boy Friend contract, Andrews was asked to audition for My Fair Lady on Broadway and got the part. In November 1955 Andrews was signed to appear with Bing Crosby in what is regarded as the first made-for-television film, 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 were offered to her. In 1956, she appeared on stage 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. The show was broadcast in color from CBS Studio 72, at 2248 Broadway in New York City. Only a black-and-white kinescope remains, which has been released on DVD. Andrews was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance.
Andrews married 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 14 November 1967.
Between 1958 and 1962, Andrews 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 Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a CBS special with Carol Burnett.
In 1960, Lerner and Loewe again cast her in a period musical as Queen Guinevere in Camelot, with Richard Burton and newcomer Robert Goulet. However film 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 cinema box office. Audrey Hepburn had never made a financial flop."
Andrews and her husband headed back to Britain in September 1962 to await the birth of daughter Emma Katherine Walton, who was born in London two months later.
In 1963, Andrews began her work in the title role of Disney's musical film Mary Poppins. Walt Disney had seen a performance of Camelot and thought Andrews would be perfect for the role of the British nanny who is "practically perfect in every way!". Andrews initially declined because of pregnancy, but Disney politely insisted, saying, "We'll wait for you."
Mary Poppins became the biggest hit in Disney history. Andrews won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress and the 1965 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance. She and her 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." Warner Bros. had passed over Andrews in favour of Audrey Hepburn for the starring role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
In 1964, Andrews starred opposite James Garner in The Americanization of Emily (1964), for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. A comedy-drama war film set in London during World War ll, Andrews has described it as her favourite film.
In 1965, Andrews starred in The Sound of Music, which was the highest-grossing film of the year and was the biggest hit in 20th Century Fox history. As of 2012, it is the 3rd highest-grossing film of all time. For her performance as Maria Von Trapp, Andrews won her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, though she lost to Julie Christie, for Darling.
After completing The Sound of Music, Andrews appeared as a guest star on the NBC-TV variety series The Andy Williams Show. 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 in Hawaii. It became the highest grossing film of 1966.
Also in 1966, she starred opposite Paul Newman in Torn Curtain, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The following year, she played the eponymous character in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. At the time, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Torn Curtain were the biggest and second biggest hits in Universal Pictures history, respectively.
By the end of 1967, after six hit films in a row, Andrews was the world's most successful film star.
Andrews next appeared in two of Hollywood's most expensive and infamous flops: Star!, a 1968 biopic of Gertrude Lawrence, and Darling Lili (1970), co-starring Rock Hudson and directed by her soon-to-be second husband, Blake Edwards (they married in 1969). The couple stayed married for 41 years until Edwards' death in 2010. She made only two other films in the 1970s, The Tamarind Seed (1974) and 10 (1979).
In the 1970s, Edwards and Andrews adopted two daughters; Amy in 1974 and Joanna in 1975. Edwards' children from a previous marriage, Jennifer and Geoffrey, were 3 and 5 years older than Emma, Andrews' daughter with Tony Walton.
Andrews continued working in 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 guest-starred on The Muppet Show in 1977, and the following year, she appeared again with the Muppets on a CBS television variety special. The programme, Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring, aired in March 1978, to mixed reviews and mediocre ratings. In February 1980, Andrews headlined "Because We Care", a CBS-TV special with 30 major stars raising funds for Cambodian Famine victims. Later that year, she starred in the film Little Miss Marker.
In 1981, she appeared in Blake Edwards' 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. That was Andrews's first on-screen nude scene and got much attention as she poked fun at her own squeaky clean image.
In 1982, Andrews played a dual role of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in the film Victor Victoria. Her performance earned her a 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 1983, Andrews was chosen as the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year by the Harvard University Theatrical Society. That year, she co-starred with Burt Reynolds in The Man Who Loved Women. Her next two films were That's Life! and Duet for One, both of which were released in 1986 and earned her Golden Globe nominations.
In December 1987, Andrews starred in an ABC Christmas special, Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas, which went on to win 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 1991, Andrews made her television dramatic debut in the ABC made-for-TV film, Our Sons, co-starring Ann-Margret. Andrews was named a Disney Legend within the year.
In the summer of 1992 Andrews starred in her first television sitcom, Julie, which aired on ABC and co-starred James Farentino. In December 1992 she hosted the NBC holiday special, Christmas In Washington.
In 1993, she starred in a limited run at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 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. (However, Andrews has recently stated that it was due to "a certain kind of muscular striation [that] happens on the vocal cords" as a result of strain from Victor/Victoria, adding "I didn't have cancer, I didn't have nodules, I didn't have anything." "The Sound of Music Reunion". The Oprah Winfrey Show. season 25. 28 October 2010. ) In 1999 she filed a malpractice suit 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.
Despite the loss of her singing voice, she kept busy with many projects. In 1998, she appeared in a stage production of Dr. Dolittle in London. As recounted on the Julie Andrews website, she performed the voice of Polynesia the parrot and "recorded some 700 sentences and sounds, which were placed on a computer chip that sat in the mechanical bird's mouth. In the song "Talk to the Animals," Polynesia the parrot even sings." The next year Andrews was reunited with James Garner for the CBS made-for-TV film, One Special Night, which aired in November 1999.
In the 2000 New Year Honours List, Andrews was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the performing arts by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2002, Andrews was among the guests at the Queen's Golden Jubilee Hollywood party held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. She also appears at No.59 on the 2002 poll of the "100 Greatest Britons" sponsored by the BBC and chosen by the British 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 having throat surgery. The song, "Your Crowning Glory" (a duet with Teen idol Raven-Symoné), was set in a limited range of an octave to accommodate her 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 the nanny in two 2003 made-for-television films 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; Andrews was nominated for an Emmy Award. The same year she 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 and 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 sequels, Shrek the Third (2007) and Shrek Forever After (2010). 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 2004, she also was the host/narrator of "Broadway: The American Musical", a six part PBS documentary series about the history of Musical Theater in America.
In January 2007, Andrews 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 Britain'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 her first public singing performances in a dozen years, due to her failed vocal cord surgery.
On 8 May 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."
In January 2010, Andrews was the official USA presenter of the New Year's Day Vienna concert. This was her second appearance in this role, after presenting the previous year's concert. Andrews 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 campaign to the Haiti disaster.
On 8 May 2010, Andrews made her London comeback after a 21-year absence (her last performance there was a Christmas concert at the Royal Festival Hall in 1989). She performed at the O2 Arena, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and an ensemble of five performers. Previous to it she appeared on British television (on 15 December 2009 and on many other occasions), and said that rumours that she would be singing were not true. Instead, she said she would be doing a form of "speak singing". However in the concert she actually sang two solos and several duets and ensemble pieces. The evening, though well received by the 20,000 fans present, who gave her standing ovation after standing ovation, did not convince the critics.
On 18 May 2010, Andrews' 23rd book (this one also written with her daughter Emma) was published. In June 2010 the book, entitled The Very Fairy Princess, reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Books.
On 21 May 2010, her film Shrek Forever After was released; in it Andrews reprises her role as the Queen.
On 9 July 2010, Despicable Me, an animated film in which Andrews lent her voice to Marlena, the thoughtless and soul-crushing mother of the main character Gru, voiced by Steve Carell), opened to rave reviews and strong box office.
On 28 October 2010, Andrews appeared, along with the actors who portrayed the cinematic Von Trapp family members, on Oprah to commemorate the film's 45th anniversary. A few days later, her 24th book, Little Bo in Italy, was published.
On 15 December 2010, Andrews' husband Blake Edwards died at the age of 88, of complications of pneumonia at the Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Andrews was by her husband's side when he died.
In February 2011, Andrews received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and, with her daughter Emma, a Grammy for best spoken word album for children (for A Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies), at the 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony.