The hills are alive with the sound of ‘Happy birthday’—and we hope Dame Julie Andrews has a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!
The beloved star of “Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins,” who turns 80 years old today, has appeared in 44 films and countless broadway shows, and is one of those rare performers who has won every major award available– Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony.
Here are eight things you may not know about Julie Andrews–including her new role as an author:
1. She never finished high school—too busy performing vaudeville—and regrets never going to college.
2. Her first kiss was with a Danish acrobat when she was 15 years old
3. She wasn’t exactly “G-rated” on the set of The Sound of Music—the wind in the Alps made her cuss like a sailor. A lot.
4. She once played a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman in the movie Victor Victoria.
5. Her voice has never recovered since a 1997 surgery damaged her vocal chords. While she has performed a few musical numbers since then, she says it has all been “speech singing,” effectively talking with the music because she can only reach a few bass notes. (At this year’s Academy Awards she joined Lady Gaga on stage and gave her a hug after the 50th anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music.)
6. She’s written more than 20 children’s books – and says writing them, and directing theater, has provided her with a new voice.
7. She almost didn’t get the part of Maria in The Sound of Music, until Walt Disney stepped in. Director Robert Wise had heard of her, but not seen her on film, and while Andrews had just completed “Mary Poppins,” it hadn’t been released yet. Walt Disney generously sent Wise a clip of his movie — and it cinched the role for Andrews.
8. One of her biggest lifelong fans is Jon Stewart, who told her on the Daily Show he considers himself an “honorary Von Trapp.”
Walk with Julie down memory lane in this interview from Spring 2015.
(Photo: Eva Rinaldi, CC)