Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Julia Elizabeth Wells, 1 Oct. '35, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, UK) Actress, singer. Performed in music halls as a child in Ted and Barbara Andrews's family act. In London show Starlight Roof '47; on radio late '40s-- 50s especially in series Educating Archie, co-starring with ventriloquist Peter Brough's dummy. Very English voice ideal for typical British musical roles: played Polly Brown in NYC prod. of The Boy Friend '54, then a major triumph in Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady NYC '56, London '58, introducing songs 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly', 'I Could Have Danced All Night'. Played Queen Guinevere in their Camelot '60. Ignored by casting dir. when My Fair Lady was filmed '64 (in favour of Audrey Hepburn, whose singing voice had to be dubbed by Marni Nixon); gained lead same year in Walt Disney film Mary Poppins, won Oscar for Best Actress. Many other films incl. Sound Of Music '65 (one of the biggest grossers of all time), Thoroughly Modern Millie '67, Star! '68 (playing Gertrude Lawrence), Darling Lili '69 etc. ABC-TV variety series flopped '73; had hit Las Vegas nightclub act '76. Second husband, dir. Blake Edwards, once described her image as so sweet that people think she probably has violets between her legs; she challenged that image by appearing nude in film S.O.B. '81, then played woman passing as female impersonator in Victor/Victoria '81. Once wore badge 'Mary Poppins is a Junkie'. She did a show called Julie And Carol At Carnegie Hall (with Carol Burnett); became country singer '83 with LP Love Me Tender (title cut duet with Johnny Cash); other albums (besides soundtracks etc): Cinderella on Columbia is from CBS-TV prod. '57 of Rodgers and Hammerstein show; Broadway's Fair Julie '62 was on Columbia, on Cameo UK '84; now A Little Bit Of Broadway is a CD; Love, Julie '87 on USA had her backed by a quintet. Turned down an offer to do Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard; starring in hit NYC musical version of Victor/Victoria '96, prod. and dir. by Edwards, she refused nom. for a Tony because she was the only one in the cast so honoured, Julie Andrews Sings '97 on Philips collected songs by Loewe, Lane, Weill and Previn, all with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, catching all sides of her personality, the voice as good as ever.