Happy birthday Julie Andrews!

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Julie Andrews (born 1 October 1935) is an English actress and singer. She is best known for appearing in the movies Mary Poppins (1963) and The Sound of Music (1965), but appeared in several other high-profile roles.

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Andrews was born Julie Elizabeth Andrews in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England to Barbara Ward Wells. Her mother had been married to Edward Charles "Ted" Wells, but Andrews was the product of her mother's affair with a family friend. After divorcing Ted Wells, her mother married a man named Ted Andrews. Julie Andrews lived with him and her mother in the slums of London. She has recalled him as an alcoholic early on in her childhood, but as his and her mother's careers blossomed (he was a professional singer himself), he grew to be a more consistent provider. He sponsored her first lessons in art at the Cone-Ripman School, an independent art school in London.

She went on to study with concert soprano and piano teacher Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen.

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With her mother and father touring regularly, eventually Andrews was invited spontaneously to ascend the stage and sing during their performances.

Soon, her stepfather introduced her to famed Moss Empires executive Val Parnell. This led to a year-long part in a musical revue at the London Hippodrome. In 1948, she became the youngest ever solo performer in a Royal Command Variety Performance at the London Palladium.

Throughout the next few years, she appeared on radio and on stage in London's West End. Some shows she appeared in include Aladdin, Jack and the Bean Stock, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Andrews made her Broadway debut in 1954 as "Polly Browne" in The Boy Friend. It wasn't long before she landed the lead role in My Fair Lady.

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The end of the 1950s and the early 1960s saw Andrews appear on many television shows including CBS-TV's The Fabulous Fifties, NBC-TV's The Broadway of Lerner & Loewe, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, What's My Line?, The Jack Benny Program, The Bell Telephone Hour and The Garry Moore Show.

Disney contacted Andrews in 1963 for the title role in Mary Poppins. When she initially declined because she was pregnant with her first child, Disney told her they would wait for her. The film was a huge success, earning Andrews the 1964 Academy Award for Best Actress and the 1964 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

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She went on to start in The Americanization of Emily (1964) and then The Sound of Music (1965). The Sound of Music became the highest grossing film of the year.

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She also appeared in 1966's highest grossing film: Hawaii. Over the next decade, she appeared in Torn Curtain (1966), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Star! (1968), Darling Lili (1970), and others.

From 1972-1973, Andrews starred in her own television show, The Julie Andrews Hour.

In 1982, Andrews played a dual male/female role in Victor Victoria. It earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as a nomination for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Actress.

Since 1992, Andrews has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

During the early 1990s, she appeared in the musical revue Putting It Together. During the course of the show, she developed nodules on her vocal chords. Seeking to rid herself of them through surgery, her vocal chords were thought to be irreparably damaged. But her voice has since returned.

Andrews continues to explore new avenues of performance art.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 01 October 2014
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