Julie Elizabeth Wells in Walton-on-Thames, England, 1 October 1935.
Married 1) the art director Tony Walton, 1959 (divorced 1968), daughter:
Emma; 2) the director Blake Edwards, 1969, daughters (adopted): Joanne and
1947—first stage appearance in the "Starlight Roof"
revue in London; 1954—New York stage debut in
The Boy Friend
; 1964—film debut in Disney's
; 1972–73—featured in TV series
The Julie Andrews Hour
on ABC-TV, winner of eight Emmy Awards; 1979—film career revived
by appearance in
, first of series of comedies directed by husband Blake Edwards;
1992—in TV series
; 1996—on Broadway in
Best Actress Academy Award, and Most Promising Newcomer, British Academy,
P.O. Box 666, Beverly Hills, CA 90213, U.S.A.
Mary Poppins (Stevenson) (title role); The Americanization of Emily (Hiller) (title role)
The Sound of Music (Wise) (as Maria)
Torn Curtain (Hitchcock) (as Sarah Sherman); Hawaii (George Roy Hill) (as Jerusha Bromley)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (George Roy Hill) (title role); The Singing Princess (animation) (as voice of Princess Zeila)
Star! (Wise) (as Gertrude Lawrence)
Darling Lili (Edwards) (title role)
The Tamarind Seed (Edwards) (as Judith Farrow)
10 (Edwards) (as Sam)
Little Miss Marker (Bernstein) (as Amanda)
S.O.B. (Edwards) (as Sally Miles)
Victor/Victoria (Edwards) (title role)
The Man Who Loved Women (Edwards) (as Marianna)
Hanya: Portrait of a Dance Legend (Cristofori)
Pandora's Box (Heath)
Duet for One (Konchalovsky) (as Stephanie Anderson); That's Life! (Edwards) (as Gillian Fairchild)
Our Sons (Erman—for TV) (as Audrey Grant)
A Fine Romance ( Tchin-Tchin ) (Saks) (as Pamela Picquet); Julie (Edwards—series for TV) (as Julie Carlisle)
The Sound of Julie Andrews
Hey Mr. Producer (as Host/Herself—for video); A Winter Visitor ; One Special Night (Young—for TV)
My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies (as Host/Herself—for TV)
Relative Values (as Felicity)
Mandy (children's fiction), 1973.
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (children's fiction), 1973.
"My Fair Victor/Victoria," interview with John Gruen, in Dance , September 1995.
"Victor/Victorious," interview with Jonathan Van Meter, in Vanity Fair (New York), October 1995.
"J'ai appris, j'ai appris," interview with Yann & Viviani Tobin, in Positif (FR), July/August 1997.
Cottrell, John, Julie Andrews , New York, 1968.
Rosen, Marjorie, Popcorn Venus , New York, 1973.
Windeler, Robert, Julie Andrews: A Biography , New York, 1983.
Spindle, Les, Julie Andrews: A Bio-Bibliography , New York, 1989.
Arntz, James, Julie Andrews , Chicago, 1995.
Shipman, David, "The All-Conquering Governess," in Films and Filming (London), August 1966.
"The Now and Future Queen" (cover story), in Time (New York), 23 December 1966.
Lawrenson, Helen, "Sweet Julie," in Esquire (New York), January 1967.
Higham, Charles, "The Rise and Fall—and Rise—of Julie Andrews," in New York Times , 21 August 1977.
Gross, Linda, "Julie Andrews: A Talk with a Flickering Star," in Close-Ups: The Movie Star Book , edited by Danny Peary, New York, 1978.
Articles in Ciné Revue (Paris), 25 June 1981, 2 September 1982, and 27 January 1983.
Bennetts, Leslie, "Julie Andrews: Prim and Improper," in New York Times , 14 March 1982.
Szymanski, Michael, "Our Fair Lady: Julie Andrews Discusses Gay Fans, AIDS, and Her TV Movie Debut," Advocate (Los Angeles), 21 May 1991.
"Julie Andrews," in Stars (Mariembourg), March 1992.
Current Biography 1994 , New York, 1994.
Landrot, Marine, "Bonne-maman Julie," Télérama (Paris) , 12 January, 1994.
Barry, Norman, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Julie?" in Radio Times (London), August 2, 1997.
* * *
Julie Andrews's cinematic persona was established with her first appearance on screen as the magical title character in Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (one of the top grossing films of all time). Her performance a year later as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music further reinforced her popular "sweetness and light" image, and the movie was an unprecedented financial success. This, together with her Academy Award for Mary Poppins , placed Andrews at the forefront of bankable Hollywood stars of the 1960s. Winning the Oscar for Mary Poppins was also a personal coup for Andrews. Just before getting the role, she had lost the movie role of Eliza Doolittle—a character she had brought to life in the Broadway production of My Fair Lady —to Audrey Hepburn.
After a while, Andrews became tired of this squeaky clean screen image and like most actors, sought different kinds of roles. Unfortunately, however, a subsequent string of box-office failures, as well as several atypical film roles, failed to alter the picture of Andrews that had become so firmly entrenched in the moviegoing public's mind, and it is only in her more recent films with her husband, director Blake Edwards, that the actress has succeeded (at least partially) in changing the sugary image that has followed her throughout her career. With the exception of Victor/Victoria , however, these movies did not really showcase her talent.
The phenomenal impact of Andrews's debut in films coincided with the final days of the traditional movie musical. The decade's increasing desire for realism and relevancy led to an inevitable decline in stories that allowed their characters to express themselves in song and dance. Andrews, however, was a former child star of British revues and a very successful Broadway star (The Boy Friend , My Fair Lady , Camelot) and her theatrical training made her ideally suited to the filmmaking style that had had its heyday in the Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Yet the very films that brought her international acclaim, also made it impossible for audiences—and producers—to envision her in realistic, nonmusical roles at just the time that such roles were the only ones available.
Andrews's portrayals of Mary Poppins and Maria von Trapp—roles that so marked and, in effect, pigeonholed her career—are nevertheless separate and distinct performances. She creates in the former a strict but loving figure whose no-nonsense manner hides magical powers and enables her to regard them as commonplace. While Mary Poppins is all-knowing and supremely confident, the young novice Maria is inexperienced, naive, and frequently unsure of herself. Both roles are made memorable by Andrews's fresh, energetic style, a quality which would also color her work in such later films as Thoroughly Modern Millie , Star! , and Victor/Victoria . Yet her early dramatic parts in The Americanization of Emily , Torn Curtain , and Hawaii demonstrated Andrews's ability to handle nonsinging characters with quiet assurance, although her reception in these roles was never equal to that accorded her musical work.
In recent years, however, Andrews's films with Blake Edwards have given a new direction in her career. Although their first film together, the box-office disaster Darling Lili , proved professionally damaging to both, Edwards has succeeded in broadening his wife's public image by casting her in a series of uncharacteristic roles. In the popular 10 , Andrews gives a much underrated performance as the intelligent, outspoken woman Dudley Moore forsakes to pursue Bo Derek, while the savagely funny S.O.B. finds Andrews's playing a spoof of her own on-screen persona. The latter includes a brief, highly publicized scene in which she appears topless. Victor/Victoria dealt the final blow to Andrews's pristine image, presenting her as a woman masquerading as a "male" female impersonator in Edwards's sophisticated examination of sexual lifestyles and stereotypes. (In 1996 Andrews appeared on Broadway in Victor/Victoria , once again on stage where she first began her show biz career.) The Academy Award nomination for her performance suggested that Andrews had at last broken free of her "singing governess" image and had embarked on a promising new phase in her career.
—Janet E. Lorenz, updated by Linda J. Stewart