Over the years, Julie Andrews has given us many memorable film characters, many of which are an integral part of our childhood. More importantly, The Sound of Music actress has evolved with time, making her relevant even today. Julie’s emotive voice has been her greatest asset — when she occupies the screen, one feels convinced that she is talking directly to them. The epitome of grace and beauty, Julie Andrews’s life has been nothing less than extraordinary — she entered the entertainment world when she was just 10 and for almost 75 years now, she has ruled the screen as well as our hearts. Through her grace and composure, she makes you feel that she has always had it easy and comfortable. The truth, however, is that like everyone else, Julie Andrews had her share of struggles and sorrows. Did you know that the Mary Poppins star had an abusive childhood? Or that she lost her husband in 2010? In this video, we’ll tell you about the untold life of Julie Andrews.
She Grew up Around an Abusive Stepfather and a Mother Who Drank Often
Julie Andrews is one of the most graceful and collected celebrities out there and fans may, therefore, find it even harder to believe that she had an abusive childhood. Julie Andrews has always spoken fondly of her father, Ted Wells. However, her relationship with her mother was contentious throughout. In her memoir, Home, Julie wrote about how she found it difficult to adjust with her stepfather, Ted Andrews, and mother, Barbara Morris. Ted Andrews was an alcoholic and under his influence, Julie’s mother, Barbara also started drinking quite a lot. Julie also shared with the readers that on two separate occasions her stepfather tried to get into bed with her. Thereafter, she started locking her door before going to sleep each night.
She Started Working at an Early Age to Support Her Family
Julie Andrews stepped into the world of entertainment more out of compulsion than choice — she often performed on the road with her stepfather, who was a Vaudeville performer, and her mother to support her family. Andrews had a four-octave vocal range, which in itself, was quite a big asset, and therefore, she invariably left audiences impressed with her talent. It was therefore expected that she would eventually enter the entertainment world. However, family conditions forced her to enter the entertainment industry sooner than she would have thought. Other than providing monetary support to the family, Andrews also took care of her younger siblings. In one particular piece, Vanity Fair reported that Andrews grew up quite early and spent the first few years of her life being a responsible child and therefore, in more ways than one, her childhood wasn’t a normal one.
At 14, She Discovered Ted Wells Wasn’t Her Real Father
Andrews may have shared a difficult relationship with her stepfather and mother but she absolutely adored her father Ted Wells. She wrote fondly of him in her memoir and shared that he always treated her and her siblings with love and respect. When at the young age of 14, Andrews discovered that Ted Wells wasn’t her real father, and she simply couldn’t believe it or make peace with the fact.
Andrews wrote in Home that in 1949, she, alongside her mother, performed at the house of a family friend. After she finished her performance, the man of the house came and sat next to her. Andrews described the whole experience as weird — she felt electricity between her and the man. Later that evening, Andrews’ mother told her that the man was her real father. Though Andrews believed her mother, she did not let the fact change her relationship with Ted Wells. She wrote in her memoir that Ted Wells was the man who raised her and who she loved and therefore, to her, he would always be her father.
She Is the Original Eliza Doolittle
By her 19th birthday, things had begun to change for Julie Andrews. Right before her 19th birthday, she made her Broadway debut with the hit musical The Boy Friend. Thereafter, she landed the role of Eliza Doolittle in the musical My Fair Lady. Andrews saw the chance as an opportunity to test her endurance as well as musical capabilities. The show was a major hit and therefore, a film adaptation was soon announced.
However, the studio decided to cast Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle instead of Julie Andrews, simply because they wanted an established actress in the film. Of course, Andrews was shattered. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Mary Poppins actress shared that though she understood the studio’s decision to cast Hepburn, it left her disappointed. Andrews had done My Fair Lady for three and a half years and therefore, had given so much to the character of Eliza Doolittle. Many years later, Hepburn told Andrews that though she did not understand the studio’s decision to cast her instead of Andrews, she did not have the guts to turn down the film.
Julie Andrews may have not got the film, but the musical gave her the training she would eventually need to make her Hollywood debut. Andrews’ four-octave voice is what helped her get her big debut. However, years later, she would lose this asset of hers. We will tell you about it in a while. In the meantime, do not forget to like and subscribe to our channel.
She Was Three-Months Pregnant When Walt Disney Offered Her Mary Poppins
Even though Andrews lost out on the chance to play Eliza Doolittle on the big screen, luck eventually favoured her and Walt Disney approached her for Mary Poppins when she was doing the musical Camelot. He invited her to come to Hollywood and see the drawings he had created and the songs he had written for the film. It was a great opportunity and Andrews wanted to make the best of it but she was three months pregnant. She told Walt Disney the truth and he decided to wait. Six months later, Andrews gave birth to her daughter Emma Katherine Walton in London. A few days later, she received a call from P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins who told her that he wanted her to do the part. That year, Julie Andrews won the Golden Globe as well as the Oscar for the Best Actress for Mary Poppins.
She Had to Audition for the Role of Maria in
The Sound of Music
Even When She Was a Big Star
Julie Andrews played the role of Maria von Trapp in the cult-classic The Sound of Music. The film is based on The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria von Trapp’s memoir in which she writes about how the family promoted their music group after the death of Maria’s husband George.
The production on the film began in the mid-1960s and by then, Andrews was already an established name. However, she did not get the part easy because many other big actresses, including Doris Day and Grace Kelly, were also auditioning for the role. Andrews says she got lucky with the film because Doris was a great actress as well as a very talented singer and therefore, it seemed obvious that she would get the part. We do not know what happened during the casting process but we do know for sure that it is now impossible for audiences to see anyone other than Julie Andrews in the role of Maria von Trapp.
On a related note, Julie Andrews was once asked which scenes from The Sound of Music she would like to do again? Her reply: the Australian folk dance scene between Maria and Captain von Trapp, and the scene where Captain von Trapp asks Maria to stay with the family.
The Sound of Music Was a Challenging Film to Shoot
The Sound of Music is a beautiful film and it never gets old, even if you have watched it a hundred times already. The film is perfect in every way. However, Andrews once told The Hollywood Reporter that shooting the film wasn’t easy at all. In fact, shooting the first scene, the opening scene atop the mountains, was a challenge. Why? For starters, the mountains were muddy. More importantly, the film’s director used a jet helicopter to shoot the scene. So, every time the helicopter went around Andrews, it flung mud, grass and hay on to her. In the end, Andrews began losing her patience but after many, many cuts, they were finally able to get the opening scene.
In 1997, She Lost Her Four-Octave Voice but Did Not Give Up
In 1997, Julie Andrews had to undergo surgery on her vocal cords. The procedure did not go as planned and Andrews ended up losing her biggest asset, her four-octave singing voice. Though she filed a lawsuit against the surgeon who had performed the surgery, the damage was already done. Andrews spent a few months in a rehab clinic after the incident because she was unable to handle the grief and the emotions she was experiencing. Eventually, after getting a grip on her emotions, Julie decided to turn the situation around and devoted herself to learning a new style of singing.
She Lost Her Second Husband in 2010
Andrew married her first husband set designer Tony Walton in 1959. The couple had their first child, a daughter named Emma Katherine Walton in 1962. However, Julie separated from Walton in 1967, though the two have remained good friends.
Andrews married her second husband, Blake Edwards, in 1969. They were happily married for 40 years. Edwards, who had directed films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pink Panther, passed away due to complications related to pneumonia in 2010. The same year, Andrews gave an interview about her marriage to Edwards and discussed what made it work for them for over 40 years. She said that it was patience and perseverance that kept them together and made their work. She further said that the couple always took it one day at a time, which she believes is the secret to a good marriage.
She Is One of the Most Humble Celebrities
Julie Andrews’ career spans over seven decades and in this time, she has delivered some of the most successful and memorable films of all times. The kind of success she has seen is rare and yet Andrews is one of the most humble actresses ever. She hasn’t let her success get to her head, which is something that cannot be said about many Hollywood actors and actresses. In an interview to The Telegraph, Julie said that she thinks that she is very lucky for having been around for as long as she has and being able to do the kind of films she has to her credit. Now here’s a star aspiring actors should look up to!
So, are you a Julie Andrews fan? I think there is only one answer to this question — everyone is a Julie Andrews fan. But did you know these relatively lesser known facts about her life? Is there anything about her life that you know and we don’t? If yes, please share us with through the comments section. Before you hit play on the next Facts Verse video, do not forget to like and subscribe to our channel and press the bell icon to stay updated about all our latest videos.