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Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews Park Hyatt, Sydney, Australia 2013.jpg
Andrews in Sydney, Australia, May 2013
Julia Elizabeth Wells

1 October 1935 (1935-10-01) (age 85)
Occupation Actress, singer, author
Years active 1945–present
Tony Walton
(m. 1959; div. 1967)

Blake Edwards
(m. 1969; died 2010)
Children 3, including Emma Walton Hamilton

Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews (née Wells; born 1 October 1935) is an English actress, singer, and author. Andrews, a child actress and singer, appeared in the West End in 1948 and made her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend (1954). She rose to prominence starring in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady (1956), playing Eliza Doolittle, and Camelot (1960), playing Queen Guinevere. In 1957, Andrews starred in the premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's written-for-television musical Cinderella, a live, network broadcast seen by over 100 million viewers.

Andrews made her feature film debut in Mary Poppins (1964), and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the title role. She starred in The Sound of Music (1965), playing Maria von Trapp, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

In 2000, Andrews was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts. In 2002, she was ranked #59 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Andrews has won an Academy Award, a BAFTA, five Golden Globes, three Grammys, two Emmys, the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors Award, and the Disney Legends Award. Apart from her musical career, she is also an author of children's books and has published an autobiography.

Early life

Julie Andrews - portrait
Julie Andrews 1965

Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on 1 October 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. Andrews' had lessons for at the Cone-Ripman School (now known commonly as ArtsEd), an independent arts educational school in London, then with concert soprano and voice instructor Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen. After Cone-Ripman School, Andrews continued her academic education at the nearby Woodbrook School, a local state school in Beckenham.


Julie Andrews gained her big break when she was introduced to Val Parnell, whose Moss Empires controlled prominent venues in London. Andrews made her professional solo debut at the London Hippodrome, she played at the Hippodrome for one year.

On 1 November 1948, Julie Andrews (aged 13) became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance before King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the London Palladium, where she performed along with Danny Kaye, the Nicholas Brothers, and the comedy team George and Bert Bernard.

Julie Andrews then went into radio and television. She performed in musical interludes of the BBC Light Programme comedy show Up the Pole and later Educating Archie, of which she was a cast member from 1950 to 1952. She reportedly made her television début on the BBC programme RadiOlympia Showtime on 8 October 1949.

Julie Andrews Guenevere Camelot
Julie Andrews as Guenevere from the musical Camelot 1960-62

Andrews appeared on West End theatre at the London Casino, where she played one year each as Princess Badroulbadour in Aladdin and the egg in Humpty Dumpty. In 1952, she voiced Princess Zeila in the English dub of the Italian animated movie The Singing Princess 1949, in her first film and first venture into voice-over work.

On 30 September 1954 on the eve of her 19th birthday, Julie Andrews made her Broadway debut. In November 1955, Andrews was signed to appear with Bing Crosby in what one source calls the first made-for-television film, High Tor, which aired on the Ford Star Jubilee in March 1956.

In 1957, Andrews released her debut solo album, The Lass with the Delicate Air. The album includes performances of English folk songs as well as the World War II anthem, "London Pride", a patriotic song written by Noël Coward in 1941 during the Blitz, which Andrews herself had survived.

Between 1956 and 1962, Andrews guest-starred on The Ed Sullivan Show (15 July 1956), and also appeared on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, What's My Line?, The Jack Benny Program, The Bell Telephone Hour and The Garry Moore Show. In June 1962, Andrews co-starred in Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a CBS special with Carol Burnett.

Film stardom

Mary Poppins Musical in New York

In 1963, Andrews began her work in the title role of Disney's musical film Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins became the biggest box-office draw in Disney history. Andrews won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance.

In 1965, Andrews starred in The Sound of Music, which was the highest-grossing film of the year. It was also the biggest hit in the history of 20th Century Fox. In 2013, it was the third highest-grossing film of all time in the US. For her performance as Maria von Trapp, Andrews won her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

After completing The Sound of Music, Andrews appeared as a guest star on the NBC-TV variety series The Andy Williams Show. She followed this television appearance with an Emmy Award-winning special, The Julie Andrews Show, which featured Gene Kelly and the New Christy Minstrels as guests. It aired on NBC-TV in November 1965.

Andrews continued working in television. In 1969, she shared the spotlight with singer Harry Belafonte for an NBC-TV special, An Evening with Julie Andrews and Harry Belafonte. In 1971, she appeared as a guest for the Grand Opening Special of Walt Disney World, and that same year she and Carol Burnett headlined a CBS special, Julie and Carol At Lincoln Center. In 1972–73, Andrews starred in her own television variety series, The Julie Andrews Hour, on the ABC network. The show won seven Emmy Awards but was cancelled after one season.

Statue of Mary Poppins. See description - panoramio
Statue of Mary Poppins

Between 1973 and 1975, Andrews continued her association with ABC by headlining five variety specials for the network. She guest-starred on The Muppet Show in 1977, and the following year, she appeared again with the Muppets on a CBS television variety special. The programme, Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring, aired in March 1978.

In 1982, Andrews played a dual role of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grezhinski in the film Victor/Victoria. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, as well as a nomination for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Actress, her third Oscar nomination.

In December 1987, Andrews starred in an ABC Christmas special, Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas, which went on to win five Emmy Awards. Two years later, she was reunited for the third time with Carol Burnett for a variety special which aired on ABC in December 1989.

Loss of singing voice

The Sound of Music Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews
The Sound of Music Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews 1964

Andrews was forced to quit singing in 1997 when she developed hoarseness in her voice. She underwent surgery at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat. She emerged from the surgery with permanent damage that destroyed the purity of her singing and gave a rasp to her speaking voice. From 2000 onward, she had four operations onher throat and while able to improve her speaking voice the procedure was unable to restore her singing.Despite the loss of her singing voice, she kept busy with many projects.

In the 2000 New Year Honours List, Andrews was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to the performing arts by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2002, Andrews was among the guests at the Queen's Golden Jubilee Hollywood party held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. She also appears at No.59 on the 2002 poll of the "100 Greatest Britons" sponsored by the BBC and chosen by the British public.

In 2001, Andrews received Kennedy Center Honors.

Career revival

Princess diaries ver1
The Princess Diaries film poster 2001

In 2001, Andrews appeared in The Princess Diaries, her first Disney film since Mary Poppins (1964). She starred as Queen Clarisse Marie Renaldi and reprised the role in a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). In The Princess Diaries 2, Andrews sang on film for the first time since having throat surgery. The song, "Your Crowning Glory" (a duet with teen idol Raven-Symoné), was set in a limited range of an octave to accommodate her recovering voice.

Andrews continued her association with Disney and from 2005 to 2006 served as the Official Ambassador for Disneyland's 18-month-long, 50th-anniversary celebration, the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth", travelling to promote the celebration, and recording narration and appearing at several events at the park.

In 2004, Andrews performed the voice of Queen Lillian in the animated blockbuster Shrek 2 (2004), reprising the role for its sequels, Shrek the Third (2007) and Shrek Forever After (2010). Later, in 2007, she narrated Enchanted, a live-action Disney musical comedy that both poked fun at and paid homage to classic Disney films such as Mary Poppins.

Shrek 2 poster
Andrews performed the voice of Queen Lillian in the animated blockbuster Shrek 2 2004

On May 1, 2005, Disneyland debuted a new fireworks show, Remember... Dreams Come True, for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, with Andrews being the host and narrator of the show.

In January 2007, Andrews was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild's awards. In July through early August 2008, Andrews hosted Julie Andrews' The Gift of Music, a short tour of the United States where she sang various Rodgers and Hammerstein song. These were her first public singing performances in a dozen years, due to her failed vocal cord surgery.

In January 2009, Andrews was named on The Times’ list of the top 10 British Actresses of all time. On 8 May 2009, Andrews received the honorary George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music at the annual UCLA Spring Sing competition in Pauley Pavilion.

Tooth fairy promo poster
Tooth Fairy is a 2010 Canadian-American fantasy comedy family film in which Andrews stars as Lily

In January 2010, Andrews was the official United States presenter for the Great Performances From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2010 concert. This was her second appearance in this role, after presenting the previous year's concert. Andrews also had a supporting role in the film Tooth Fairy. On her promotion tour for the film, she also spoke of Operation USA and the aid campaign to the Haiti disaster.

On 18 May 2010, Andrews' 23rd book was published. In June 2010 the book, entitled The Very Fairy Princess, reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Books. On 21 May 2010, her film Shrek Forever After was released; in it Andrews reprises her role as the Queen. On 9 July 2010, Despicable Me, an animated film in which Andrews lent her voice to Marlena Gru, the thoughtless and soul-crushing mother of the main character Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), opened to rave reviews and strong box office.

On 28 October 2010, Andrews appeared, along with the actors who portrayed the cinematic von Trapp family members, on Oprah to commemorate the film's 45th anniversary. A few days later, her 24th book was published.

Despicable Me Poster
Despicable Me - Andrews lent her voice to Marlena Gru, the mother of the main character Gru

In February 2011, Andrews received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy for best spoken-word album for children (for A Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies), at the 53rd Grammy Awards.

At the age of 77, Andrews undertook her first tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2013, hosted by Nicholas Hammond who was a boy of 14 when they appeared together in The Sound of Music. The following year she took the show on a tour of England, which was hosted by Aled Jones.

In 2015, Andrews made a surprise appearance at the Oscars, greeting Lady Gaga who paid her homage by singing a medley from The Sound of Music. This became a social media sensation, trending all over the world.

In 2016, Andrews created the preschool television series Julie's Greenroom with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton and Judy Rothman. Andrews is joined by her assistant Gus (Giullian Yao Gioiello) and “Greenies,” a cast of original puppets built by The Jim Henson Company. The series premiered on Netflix in 2017. In 2017, Andrews also reprised her role as Marlena Gru in the second Despicable Me sequel Despicable Me 3.

Personal life

Blake Edwards 1966
Blake Edwards 1966 - Andrews married Edwards in 1969

Andrews has been married twice, first to set designer Tony Walton from 1959 until 1967, then to director Blake Edwards from 1969 until his death in 2010. Andrews married Walton on 10 May 1959 in Weybridge, Surrey. They had first met in 1948 when Andrews was appearing at the London Casino in the show Humpty Dumpty. In September of 1962 Andrews and Walton returned to London, where their daughter Emma Katherine Walton was born two months later.

Andrews married Edwards in 1969; his children from a previous marriage, Jennifer and Geoffrey, were 3 and 5 years older than Emma. In the 1970s, Edwards and Andrews adopted two daughters; Amy in 1974 and Joanna in 1975. Andrews is a grandmother to nine and great-grandmother to three.

Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke (Julie and Dick in Convent Garden) 1974 ABC TV Photograph
Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke (Julie and Dick in Convent Garden) 1974


Termed "Britain’s Youngest Prima Donna", Andrews' classically trained soprano, is praised for its "pure and clear" sound, and has been described as light, bright and operatic in tone. When a young Andrews was taken by her parents to be examined by a throat specialist, the doctor concluded that she had "an almost adult larynx. As Andrews aged, so did her voice, which began to naturally deepen. Losing her vast upper register.

Musically, Andrews had always preferred singing music that was "bright and sunny", choosing to avoid songs that were sad, depressing, upsetting. She cited this as yet another reason for avoiding opera.



Year Title Role Notes
1949 La Rosa di Bagdad Princess Zeila Dubbed voice for the 1952 English-language version
1964 Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
Americanization of Emily, TheThe Americanization of Emily Emily Barham
1965 Salzburg Sight and Sound Herself Short subject
Sound of Music, TheThe Sound of Music Maria von Trapp
1966 Torn Curtain Dr. Sarah Louise Sherman
Hawaii Jerusha Bromley
1967 Think Twentieth Herself Short subject
Thoroughly Modern Millie Millie Dillmount
1968 Star! Gertrude Lawrence
1970 Darling Lili Lili Smith (Schmidt)
1971 Moviemakers, TheThe Moviemakers Herself (uncredited) Short subject
1972 Julie Herself Documentary
1974 Tamarind Seed, TheThe Tamarind Seed Judith Farrow
1975 The Return of the Pink Panther Maid Scene cut
1976 The Pink Panther Strikes Again Ainsley Jarvis (singing voice, uncredited)
1979 10 Samantha Taylor
1980 Little Miss Marker Amanda Worthington
1981 S.O.B. Sally Miles
1982 Victor/Victoria Victoria Grant / Count Victor Grezhinski
Trail of the Pink Panther Charwoman (uncredited)
1983 Man Who Loved Women, TheThe Man Who Loved Women Marianna
1986 That's Life! Gillian Fairchild
Duet for One Stephanie Anderson
1991 Fine Romance, AA Fine Romance Mrs. Pamela Piquet Cin cin – United States title
Our Sons Audrey
1997 The Postman Maria (Archive Footage) (Uncredited)
2000 Relative Values Felicity Marshwood
2001 Princess Diaries, TheThe Princess Diaries Queen Clarisse Renaldi
2003 Eloise at the Plaza Nanny
Eloise at Christmastime
2004 Shrek 2 Queen Lillian Voice
Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, TheThe Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement Queen Clarisse Renaldi
2007 Shrek the Third Queen Lillian Voice
Enchanted Narrator Voice
2010 Tooth Fairy Lily
Shrek Forever After Queen Lillian Voice
Despicable Me Marlena Voice
2017 Despicable Me 3 Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Lise High Tor with Bing Crosby
1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Cinderella TV spectacular
Original live broadcast, 31 March
1959 The Gentle Flame Trissa BBC broadcast on 25 December
1961 The Ed Sullivan Show Herself CBS broadcast on 19 March; special tribute to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe; performed songs from Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and Camelot
1962 Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall
1964 The Andy Williams Show
1965 Julie Andrews Show, TheThe Julie Andrews Show Host
1969 World in Music, AA World in Music Herself Episode: "An Evening with Julie Andrews and Harry Belafonte"
1971 Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center
1972–73 Julie Andrews Hour, TheThe Julie Andrews Hour Host
1973 Julie on Sesame Street Herself
1974 Julie and Dick at Covent Garden
Julie and Jackie: How Sweet It Is
1975 Julie: My Favorite Things
1977 The Muppet Show
1978 Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring Herself – host
1981 The CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People Herself
1987 Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas
1989 Julie & Carol: Together Again
1990 Julie Andrews in Concert
1991 Our Sons Audrey Grant aka Too Little, Too Late
1992 Julie Julie Carlisle Series cancelled after 3 months
The King & I Anna TV musical
1993 Sound of Orchestra Host
1995 The Sound of Julie Andrews
Victor/Victoria Victoria Grant / Count Victor Grezhinski TV movie
1999 One Special Night Catherine
2001 On Golden Pond Ethel Thayer
2003 Eloise at the Plaza Nanny TV movie
Eloise at Christmastime TV movie
2004 Broadway: The American Musical Herself Narrator/Host of six-part PBS documentary series about Musical Theatre
2009–10, 2012–17 Great Performances Narrator/Host of annual New Year's Day episode "From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration," succeeding Walter Cronkite
2010 Todos contra Juan Argentinian TV sitcom
2012 The Colbert Report Guest
2014 The Graham Norton Show Guest
2017 Julie's Greenroom Miss Julie Co-creator; Netflix series

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