I originally planned to post this yesterday, but three blog posts seemed a little much for one day. Yesterday, October 1, 2018, was Dame Julie Andrews’ 83rd birthday. The Queen of England may only have made her a knight, but Julie will always be the Queen of Genovia, and the ultimate Queen of Shade.
Andrews began her career as a child performer in post-war London, and she gained fame by appearing in Broadway musicals in the late 1950s. In 1956, she originated the role of Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway production of My Fair Lady, and was soon cast in Camelot and Cinderella. However, when Warner Brothers won the movie rights to My Fair Lady, studio executive Jack Warner cast Audrey Hepburn as Eliza, rather than casting Andrews. Warner was banking on Hepburn’s name recognition, and doubted that the relatively unknown Andrews could draw the audiences needed to make the film a success.
Oh how Jack Warner would come to eat his words. Walt Disney, who saw Andrews in Camelot, knew that she was the practically perfect choice to play Mary Poppins. After begging her to take the role, he even paused pre-production on the film in order to accommodate Andrews’ pregnancy. Mary Poppins went on to become a huge box office success, and Andrews earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance.
We all know Julie Andrews is the classiest woman alive, but she couldn’t help taking just a bit of revenge against Warner. During her Golden Globes Acceptance speech, she closed with: “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.” If that short dig isn’t the classiest little bit of revenge, then I don’t know what is.
So happy birthday Julie Andrews! If you want to see (or hear) more of this incredible actress with a voice like silver bells, you can find these movies in the AU Media Collection:
- Marry Poppins (DVD 7850)
- The Sound of Music (DVD 5916)
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (Music Library DVD 253)
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain (DVD 5199)
- Victor/Victoria (DVD 6740)
- Shrek 2 (DVD 13518)