“A lot of my life happened in great, wonderful bursts of good fortune, and then
I would race to be worthy of it.” Julie Andrews
Legendary British actress Julie Andrews, who was first known in England for her
performance in the radio program “Educating Archie” (1950-1952), won an Academy
Award for her spectacular titular role in Robert Stevenson’s Mary Poppins
(1964). The same year, she gained additional attention after making an
Emmy-winning appearance in “The Andy Williams Show” (1964).
Andrews gained even more popularity in the following year with her signature
role of Maria, the nanny with a beautiful voice, in the legendary musical drama
The Sound of Music (1965), in which she picked up a Golden Globe Award and a
Laurel Award. 17 years after her resounding success, the actress netted a Golden
Globe Award and a David di Donatello Award, in addition to an Oscar nomination,
for her dual role of Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grezhinski in Victor/Victoria,
a role that she reprised in 1995 on stage and the small screen. In more recent
films, the elegant actress is famous to younger audience as Queen Clarisse
Renaldi in Princess Diaries (2001) and Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
(2004), as well as the voice of Queen Lillian in the Shrek films.
As a gifted stage actress, Andrews received two Tony nominations for her
remarkable performances in “My Fair Lady” (1956) and “Camelot” (1960). She was
also seen in such hits as the Broadway play “The Boy Friend” (1954) and the
off-Broadway “Putting It Together” (1993).
Outside the spotlight, Andrews, who was honored with the title of Dame by Queen
Elizabeth II on the Millennium New Year’s Honors List on December 31, 1999, has
also written a number of children books under the penname “Julie Edwards,”
including “Mandy” and “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.” The recipient
of 2001’s John Kennedy Center Honors has also made numerous social
contributions. She is a determined worker for social organizations like
Operation USA, UNICEF and Save the Children. In 2005, the Goodwill Ambassador
for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) led the relief aid
for Asian tsunami victims.
As for her private life, Andrews, who was formerly married to designer Tony
Walton, is the wife of director Blake Edwards. She is the mother of actress Emma
Walton (father: Tony Walton) and two adopted Vietnamese girls.
Childhood and Family:
Julie Andrews was born Julia Elizabeth Wells on October 1, 1935, in Surrey, U.K.
The only daughter of Ted Wells (woodwork teacher) and Barbara Morris Wells
(piano teacher) was named after her two grandmothers. At age four, her parents
separated. Soon after, her mother married singer and performer Ted Andrews and
joined him in cabaret shows.
As a child of performers, Julie had private tutors to replace formal schooling.
Showing a distinctive talent for singing, she was trained by her stepfather to
develop her beautiful, four-octave voice. When she was eight, Julie had private
singing training with Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen. She occasionally attended the
Cone-Ripman School in London, which gave acting and ballet lessons in the
morning and other subjects in the afternoon. Julie changed her last name to
Andrews after becoming one of the performers in her parents’ shows.
As for her romantic life, Julie has been married twice. On October 24, 1934, she
married designer Tony Walton (born on October 24, 1934), but in 1967, the
marriage ended in divorce. The couple shares a daughter, actress Emma Kate
Walton (born on November 27, 1962). Two years after the divorce, Julie tied the
knot with director Blake Edward (born on July 26, 1922), with whom she adopted
two Vietnamese girls: Amy Leigh Edwards (born in 1974) and Joanna Lynne Edwards
(born in 1975). Julie is also the grandmother of Samuel David Hamilton (born in
October 1996, mother: Emma Walton).
“I’ve learned things about myself through singing. I used to have a certain
dislike of the audience, not as individual people, but as a giant body who was
judging me. Of course, it wasn’t really them judging me. It was me judging me.
Once I got past that fear, it freed me up, not just when I was performing but in
other parts of my life.” Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews entered show business when she sang in her parents’ shows. She
made her first professional stage performance in 1947 by singing in the
“Starlight Roof” floorshow, which led to her appearance at the Royal Command
Performance at the London Palladium, in front of a royal audience, which
included Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. In 1949, Andrews received her
first film credit as the English dubber for character Princess Zeila in the
Italian animated film La Rosa di Bagdad/The Rose of Bagdad, as well as made her
first small screen appearance in BBC’s “Radiolympia Showtime.” She then made
regular appearances in the BBC radio program “Educating Archie” (1950-1952),
from which she gained popularity all over England.
Andrews remained busy with stage performances and BBC programs, including the
stage pantomime show “Cinderella” (1953). Her performance was noticed by theater
director Vida Hope and composer Sandy Wilson, who then cast her for the Broadway
production of “The Boy Friend” (1954), playing the role of Polly Brown. Her
performance received good reviews from American audiences.
Within two years, Andrews debuted on American TV with an appearance opposite
Bing Crosby in the series “Ford Star Jubilee” (1956). She also played the female
lead of Eliza Doolittle, which brought her a Tony nomination, in the Broadway
hit “My Fair Lady” (1956). It was followed by the Emmy-nominated title role in
the made-for-TV film Cinderella (1957) and the starring turn as Guinevere in a
Broadway play of “Camelot” (1960, earned second Tony nomination).
After a 4 year hiatus, Andrews received a big breakthrough by playing the
titular role of a magical nanny in Mary Poppins (1964). Her magnificent
performance in the Robert Stevenson-directed fantasy comedy won her an Oscar and
a Golden Globe for Best Actress, a BAFTA and a British Academy for Best
Newcomer, as well as a Laurel for Best Musical Performance. The same year, she
also starred as Emily Barham in the war-comedy The Americanization of Emily,
where she received a BAFTA nomination for her convincing portrayal of a British
woman in love with an American soldier. Still in 1964, her guest appearance in
an episode of the TV show “The Andy Williams Show” handed her an Emmy for
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Entertainment - Actors and Performers.
Andrews scored an even bigger success in the following year when director Robert
Wise cast her in the signature role of nanny Maria in the legendary musical
family drama The Sound of Music. Her superb acting and singing garnered a Golden
Globe for Best Actress and a Laurel for Musical Performance, as well as earned
an Oscar and BAFTA nomination. In addition, Andrews achieved long-lasting
international recognition for the role. The Oscar-winning movie also starred
Christopher Plummer as the widower Captain Georg von Trapp.
Next up, she starred in such films as the thriller Torn Curtain (1966, as Dr.
Sarah Louise Sherman), the musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967, won a
Laurel award for playing Millie Dillmount), Robert Wise’ musical biopic of
Gertrude Lawrence in Star (1968) and Blake Edward’s musical war-drama Darling
Lili (1970). She also hosted her Emmy-winning TV show titled “The Julie Andrews
Hour” (1972-1973). Rejoining director Blake Edwards, Andrews costarred opposite
Omar Sharif in the romantic drama The Tamarind Seed (1974). After disappearing
for four years, Andrews returned to the screen with movies like Julie Andrews:
One Step Into Spring (1978, TV), 10 (1979), Little Miss Marker (1980) and S.O.B.
She re-teamed with director Blake Edwards in the dual role of Victoria
Grant/Count Victor Grezhinski in Victor/Victoria (1982), a role she later
reprised for the TV version and on stage in 1995. For her impressive
performance, Andrews took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress and a David di
Donatello for Best Foreign Actress, in addition to an Oscar nomination. She
followed the victory with roles in The Man Who Loved Women (1983), That’s Life
(1986), Gene Saks’ comedy Cin cin (1991) and the TV series “Julie” (1992).
Andrews also proved she was a versatile stage actress when she undertook a role
in the well-received off-Broadway variety show “Putting It Together” (1993).
Following her roles in One Special Night (1999, TV) and Relative Values (2000),
Andrews costarred with rising star Anne Hathaway in Garry Marshall’s family
comedy The Princess Diaries (2001). She also appeared as Nanny in the TV movie
Eloise at the Plaza (2003) before providing her voice for Queen Lillian in the
high profile animated film Shrek 2 (2004). Still in 2004, Andrews reprised her
turn as Queen Clarisse Renaldi in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Andrews will be heard in the upcoming Shrek the Third (2007). Directed by Raman
Hui and Chris Miller, the film will also star the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron
Diaz and Eddie Murphy.
John F. Kennedy Center: Lifetime Achievement, 2001
San Sebastián International Film Festival: Donostia Lifetime Achievement
Women in Film Crystal: Crystal Award, 1993
Hasty Pudding Theatricals: Woman of the Year, 1983
David di Donatello: Best Foreign Actress, Victor/Victoria, 1983
Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Leading Role-Musical or Comedy,
Golden Globes: World Film Favorite – Female, 1968
Laurel: Female Star, 1968
Golden Globe: World Film Favorite – Female, 1967
Laurel: Female Comedy Performance, Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1967
Laurel: Female Star, 1967
Laurel: Musical Performance, Female, The Sound Of Music, 1966
Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Leading Role-Musical or Comedy, The
Sound Of Music, 1965
Emmy: Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment - Actors and
Performers, The Andy Williams Show, 1965
British Academy: Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, Mary
Laurel: Musical Performance, Female, Mary Poppins, 1965
BAFTA: Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles, Mary Poppins, 1965
Oscar: Best Actress, Mary Poppins, 1964
Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Leading Role-Musical or Comedy, Mary