JULIE ANDREWS – The real Mary Poppins.


It is hard to believe that the star of The Sound of Music will be eighty in October. Why do I suddenly feel very old? Even as a 10 year old she possessed ‘an enormous, belting, freak voice with a range of four octaves and some fierce high notes’. ‘Once, to the amazement of me and all the dogs in the area’, she proudly recalled, ‘I actually hit a C above Top C’. In fact, she was such an extraordinary talent that in 1948 she became the youngest ever performer chosen to appear at the London Palladium for a Command Performance.

When she unsuccessfully screen-tested for a contract with MGM, there was no doubting her singing talent, but she was also buck-toothed, bandy-legged, had a lazy right eye and her nose and chin were not too attractive either. She was also the embarrassed owner of feet that were already size eight. All things considered it took quite a lot of ‘maintenance’ to enable her prodigious voice to be showcased so that the public would be willing to pay money to hear it. By then she was earning considerably more than her parents who were music hall singers on the slide into alcoholism. By the time her limited schooling ceased at fifteen Julie was providing for the entire family.

Julie Andrews Childhood | 30-40's Julie Andrews | Pinterest

young Julie

Most people who saw her playing Eliza Doolittle in the stage version of the musical My Fair Lady were disappointed when she did not land the role in the film version. Jack Warner, however, needed to bolster the picture’s chances of box-office success with at least one of the two leads being a big international star. Although Rex Harrison was virtually unknown to cinema audiences, he was a certainty to play Professor Higgins once Cary Grant emphatically turned down the role. In fact, according to legend, Cary told Warner that, not only would he refuse to play Higgins in the picture, but if Harrison did not get the role he would not even go to see it. Warner simply could not risk his expensive production being placed in the hands of two cinematic unknowns, so the very bankable Audrey Hepburn was given the part of Eliza over Julie, more or less as an insurance policy.

Like Julie Andrews on Pinterest | Julie Andrews, Sound Of Music ...

as Eliza Doolittle on stage

in My Fair Lady

In the meantime, Julie was signed by Walt Disney to play the title role in Mary Poppins. Never having had an acting lesson in her life, she went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance that year, which tends to say volumes about the profession in general. At the Golden Globe Awards she thanked ‘Jack Warner for making it all possible’. He was seated directly in front of her. ‘It was grand fun’, she said afterwards. Warner carried on the joke in his speech when he referred to Julie as ‘what’s-her-name?’ Actually, she could have played both roles if offered them, but only at the expense of giving up playing Maria in The Sound of Music, because shooting schedules over-lapped. A case of what you miss out on the round-about you pick up on the swing.

Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary Edition DVD Review

as Mary Poppins

Following up the stupendous success of both Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music was not an easy task for someone not steeped in acting technique. Musicals quickly lost their popularity, especially after she starred in two expensive flops (Star! And Darling Lili). Suddenly labelled box-office poison, (so much so that she was paid a million dollars not to make a third one titled She Loves Me), Julie’s movie career virtually came to a standstill until her husband, Blake Edwards, featured her in one of his productions called S.O.B in 1981. The title, incidentally, is an acronym for ‘Standard Operating Bullshit’, in case you thought it meant something entirely different.


topless in S.O.B.

To the astonishment of a zillion Maria and Mary Poppins fans Julie went topless for the cameras in this film, inviting media comments like, ‘Mary Pops Out’, and others. ‘I’m an actress, and the part called for it’, was her less than original explanation for transforming forever our ‘butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth’ image of Mary Poppins. ‘I’ve always had a rather nice body’, she added. ‘But people who had only seen my movies assumed I was either sexless or puritanical’. A lot of us still do. The final nails were driven into her ‘spoonful of sugar’ image when she made Duet for One in 1986. In this movie she walks around naked, utters the ‘f’ word on screen and goes to bed with her lesbian maid! In short, she does everything but kick the cat and set fire to it.

Off screen, five years later, she put to rest a long-standing rumor that she was actually a lesbian in real life. The rumor stemmed from a prank she and best friend Carol Burnett played on director Mike Nichols that backfired. Expecting him to step out of their hotel elevator at any minute, the two ladies locked in an embrace and proceeded to kiss passionately. A group of Secret Service agents piled out of the first elevator and the President’s wife Lady Bird Johnson arrived in the next one. Needless to say, all were shocked to find the well-known English rose in the throes of passion with a woman. Eventually, Nichols himself exited the elevator to be greeted by the same performance. ‘Hi, girls’, he waved, without as much as a raised eyebrow, and walked past them into the room.


Julie’s good friend Carol Burnett

In 1966, at the height of her fame, Julie attended the opening of the English stage version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for which her then husband Tony Walton was the stage designer. Two ladies came across her in the foyer and thought she reminded them of somebody important. ‘Would you mind telling us if you have anything to do with this production?’ one asked the most famous actress on the planet at that time. Julie smiled and said: ‘Certainly. I’m Mrs. Walton. My husband designed the scenery’. Classy.

Tony's Pic « Tony Walton

Tony Walton

VIDEO: Julie Andrews Chats 'Mary Poppins' 50th Anniversary & More ...

aging gracefully

It was Blake Edwards daughter Jennifer who kick-started Julie into writing children’s books. She did so by challenging her future step-mother to agree to write a book if she (Julie not Jennifer) failed to go a day without swearing. That’s right, Mary Poppins has always been a notorious dropper of the four-letter expletive. Is nothing sacred? She lost the wager inside an hour! Her first book, which she called Mandy, sold very well.

One evening, while Edwards was attending a party in London and Julie was in Los Angeles, he phoned to tell her he had a special someone with him who wished to say ‘hello’. A terribly British voice that Julie could not place came on the phone and began to chat. Too polite to ask who it was, she waited until Edwards came back on the line to ask him, a little jealously, ‘Who was that woman?’ He cheerfully replied that it was Princess Margaret, and promptly handed the receiver back to his royal companion, just in time for her to hear Julie’s derisory response: ‘Princess Margaret, my arse!’

I have never thought much of The Sound of Music. It has always struck me as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘leftovers’. Compared to South Pacific, Oklahoma! and Carousel, the songs are dull as dishwater. It does, however, have Julie Andrews at her peak, and that makes up for its other shortcomings. The lady is an icon when real icons are few and far between.


  1. It’s awesome to pay a visit this site and reading the views of
    all friends regarding this piece of writing, while
    I am also eager of getting familiarity.

  2. Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and
    will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and wonderful style and design.

  3. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.
    I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now

  4. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog
    and wished to say that I have really loved browsing
    your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  5. I’m very happy to discover this great site.
    I wanted to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!!

    I definitely savored every part of it and I have you book-marked
    to look at new information in your blog.

  6. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us
    so I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information.
    I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Superb blog and excellent design and style.

    • Thank you, Bernie. We are just starting out and appreciate all the help we can get. The writing is mine, the design and style is my son’s doing. He’s very good.Thanks again.

  7. I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your information. Your article
    has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your blog and
    keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed
    to your RSS feed as well.

  8. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you happen to be
    a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will come back later on. I want to encourage you to continue your great work,
    have a nice holiday weekend!

  9. My relatives always say that I am wasting my time here at
    net, but I know I am getting knowledge all the time by reading such fastidious posts.

  10. great publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists
    of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing.
    I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  11. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to death at work so I
    decided to browse your site on my iphone
    during lunch break. I love the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look
    when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog
    loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
    Anyways, very good site!

  12. I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed
    about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  13. Good site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like
    yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  14. whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles. Stay up the good work!
    You understand, lots of persons are hunting
    round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  15. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive 4
    emails with the exact same comment. There has
    to be an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it!

  16. whoah this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts.

    Stay up the good work! You recognize, a lot of people
    are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  17. Simply desire to say your article is as surprising.
    The clearness to your publish is just cool and i can suppose
    you are an expert in this subject. Well along with your
    permission allow me to grab your feed to stay updated with approaching post.
    Thank you one million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  18. You have made some really good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most
    people will go along with your views on this web site.

  19. I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate your information. This great article has truly peaked
    my interest. I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new
    details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  20. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this
    content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time
    both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth

  21. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and
    I am impressed! Very helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was seeking this certain information for a long time.

    Thank you and best of luck.

  22. Quality articles is the main to be a focus for the viewers
    to visit the website, that’s what this site is providing.

  23. Fine way of explaining, and pleasant paragraph to get data on the topic of my
    presentation topic, which i am going to convey
    in institution of higher education.

  24. Hi to all, because I am in fact eager of reading
    this webpage’s post to be updated on a regular basis.
    It contains pleasant data.

  25. Useful information. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and I
    am stunned why this coincidence didn’t took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  26. I think the admin of this web site is in fact working hard
    in support of his website, since here every material is quality based stuff.

  27. Hi! I just want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you’ve got right here on this
    post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.

  28. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow
    you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    • Hi, Evelyne. I am currently spending all my time publishing here and editing the final draft of my book, ‘Movies Based on True Stories’, which we will launch very soon. I am quite busy at the moment as you can imagine, but please feel free to ask me anything, anything at all.

  29. Hello very cool website!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also?
    I’m satisfied to seek out numerous helpful info here in the publish,
    we’d like work out more techniques on this regard, thank you
    for sharing. . . . . .

  30. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have keep in mind your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely great.
    I actually like what you’ve received here, certainly like what you are stating and the way through which you assert it.
    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible.
    I cant wait to learn much more from you. This is really a tremendous web site.

  31. I was very pleased to discover this page. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!!
    I definitely appreciated every little bit of it
    and I have you bookmarked to look at new things on your site.

  32. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not talk about these subjects.
    To the next! Best wishes!!

  33. I’ll immediately seize your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter
    service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me recognize
    in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  34. Asking questions are inn fact fastidious thing if you are not understanding
    something completely, however this post offers nice understanding

  35. Hello, I do think your site could be having web browser compatibility problems.
    When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it’s
    got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, excellent site!

    • Hi Margarito
      I have taken a look at the site with IE9, it looks ok.
      Can you tell me what part of the site looks wrong and what version of IE you are using?

  36. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However
    I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I
    don’t know why I am unable to subscribe to
    it. Is there anybody having siilar RSS problems?
    Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly
    respond? Thanx!!

  37. I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers however this paragraph is in fact
    a fastidious piece of writing, keep it up.

  38. Thank you for any other great post. The place else may just anybody get that type
    of info in such a perfect means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such info.

    • Nice of you to say so, Edith. My data base consists of notes I have taken from reading literally HUNDREDS of biographies, autobiographies, memoirs etc over the past thirty years, a collection I am continually adding to whenever a new book emerges.

  39. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I think
    that you should publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter
    but generally people don’t speak about these issues. To the next!
    Best wishes!!

  40. I have learn a few good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how much effort you place to create this sort of magnificent informative website.

  41. It’s going to be end of mine day, but before ending I am reading
    this impressive piece of writing to improve my knowledge.

  42. you are in point of fact a good webmaster. The site loading speed is
    amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick.

    Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a magnificent activity
    on this subject!

  43. This article presents clear idea in support of the new
    users of blogging, that truly how to do blogging and site-building.

  44. Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind of info on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and in my opinion recommend to my friends. I’m
    sure they will be benefited from this site.

  45. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write related to here.
    Again, awesome website!

  46. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that
    that you ough to write more on this subject matter, it
    may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don’t
    discuss these topics. To the next! Cheers!!

  47. Thanks , I have recently been looking for info about this subject for a
    long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now.

    But, what about the bottom line? Are you certain about the source?

    • Thank you, Lorri. I am adding to the site daily, and will be releasing my second book, Movies Based on True Stories’, probably in April. Both it and my first book ‘Hollywood Warts ‘n’ All’ devote hundreds of pages to all kinds of Hollywood scandal, feuds, cover-ups, personal lives, and so on, about hundreds of stars and bit players. These articles are merely snippets of extra information I have accrued since they were researched and written.

  48. That is very fascinating, You are an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and sit up for looking for more of your wonderful post.
    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

    • Kind of you to say so, Lilliana. I don’t know much about how blogging works, or about the etiquette. Is it OK for me to ask where someone is from? Sheer curiosity, nothing more, I assure you.

  49. Thanks , I have just been looking for information approximately
    this topic foor ages and yours is the greatest I have found out till now.
    But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure in regards to thhe source?

    • Actually, I started about two months ago. My son suggested I put my knowledge of movies (and my two books on the subject) on to a blog, so I write and he runs the technical side of it. Thank you for your kind comments. My second book ‘Movies Based on True Stories’ will be available here, probably in April or May if you are interested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.