During her seventy-year career, Julie Andrews played many memorable roles as a star of stage and screen.
But arguably none are more iconic than Mary Poppins, a Walt Disney film directed by Robert Stevenson, with songs written and composed by the Sherman brothers.
The 1964 film, which combines live-action and animation, was actually Andrews’ first feature film of her career, which eventually won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Music to her ears: Julie Andrews, 86, has revealed that it was the Sherman brothers’ score to Mary Poppins that first drew her to want to play the iconic role
“It was a completely new thing in my life that I had never done before. It was for Walt Disney, of course, and the songs in ‘Mary Poppins’ had a kind of vaudeville quality to them,” explained the 86-year-old actress.
“I think that’s what attracted me to the role because all that Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Jolly Holiday music was very much like what you’d hear in English vaudeville.”
Given that her parents were vaudeville performers and that she taught herself the genre while growing up, it’s easy to see why Andrews would be attracted to the role and the project in general.
Along with her exposure to music, the actress also revealed how designing the nanny’s costumes, which came from the mind of her then-husband Tony Walton, helped her understand the magical qualities of the Mary Poppins character.
Music attracted her attention: “It was a completely new thing in my life, which I had never done before. It was for Walt Disney, of course, and the songs in Mary Poppins had a kind of vaudeville quality,” the 86-year-old actress explained in a new Vanity Fair interview.
What a debut! Andrews made her feature film debut in Mary Poppins, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress
Andrews recalls Walton explaining to her in detail why Mary Poppins had such a fun lining on the inside of her clothes, but no crazy design on the outside.
“Because I think that’s what gives her pleasure. Very formal on the outside and a little wicked on the inside,” Walton said of Mary Poppins at the time, which turned out to be invaluable information for Andrews.
“It totally gave me a clue about her character. A big, big help for me,” the actress admitted.
Based on the Mary Poppins series of books by PL Travers, written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGrada, the film version was released in August 1964 to critical acclaim and commercial success.
It became the highest-grossing film of 1964 and received 13 Academy Award nominations, a record for any film produced by Walt Disney Studios, winning five, including Best Original Score.
Iconic: A year after he starred in Mary Poppins, Andrews starred as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, which also became a cult film.
A-lister: Over the next 20 years after Mary Poppins, Andrews worked with notable directors such as husband Blake Edwards, George Roy Hill and Alfred Hitchcock; she is pictured with co-star Paul Newman in Hitchcock’s Torn Veil (1966)
Mainstay: The actress worked with her late husband Blake Edwards in several films, including Victor Victor (1982)
Starring alongside her parents as a child actress and singer, and appearing in the West End in 1948, Andrews rose to fame in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960).
A role in Mary Poppins (1964) launched her film career, which was quickly followed the following year with the role of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965).
Over the next 20 years, she worked with notable directors such as her husband Blake Edwards, George Roy Hill, and Alfred Hitchcock, appearing in such films as Hawaii (1966), Torn Veil (1966), The Thoroughly Modern Millie ” (1967), “The Star”. ! (1968), The Tamarind Seed (1974), 10 (1979), SOB (1981), Victor/Victoria (1982), That’s Life (1986) and Duet For One (1986).
Most recently, Andrews voiced the narrator Lady Whistledown in two seasons of the Netflix series Bridgerton (2020–present).
Still on the job: Most recently, Andrews voiced the narrator Lady Whistledown in two seasons of the Netflix series Bridgerton (2020-present)