Voice of a generation! Julie Andrews has been stealing viewers’ hearts for decades, from Broadway stages to Disney movies.
Born Julia Elizabeth Wells, the award-winning actress came from humble beginnings. She began singing lessons at a young age and sometimes joined her mom, Barbara Ward Wells, and stepfather Ted Andrews on stage before making her official performance debut at age 12.
In September 1954, just before her 19th birthday, the multitalented star prepared to perform in her first Broadway show: The Boy Friend. Her role as Polly Browne caught the attention of both audience members and industry experts, kickstarting her wildly successful career.
Eventually, the singer found her way to the big screen, scoring the lead roles in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. In her 2019 memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, the British star admitted that she worried about being typecast as a nanny after making her movie breakthrough. However, her agent pushed her to take the leap.
“Arthur [Park] very much encouraged me to accept the job,” she recalled in the autobiography. “And I’ll be forever grateful for the nudge over the fence that he and Bob [Wise] gave this nervous and insecure young woman.”
Amid her successful performances on film, the three-time Grammy winner experienced highs and lows in her personal life. The Netflix star welcomed daughter Emma in November 1962 with her first husband, set designer Tony Walton. The pair split in 1967 after less than 10 years of marriage.
Andrews and her second husband, the late director Blake Edwards, wed in 1969 and adopted two daughters from Vietnam: Amelia in 1974 and Joanna in 1975.
“I always hoped the two worlds could coexist; I adored my family and enjoyed my work. But I don’t think I ever actually decided anything,” the dame told Business Insider in October 2020. “It was more just needing to find ways to juggle it all. The struggle to balance one’s professional life with family and personal life is certainly not unique to me, nor to my line of work. There were times when I was more successful at it than others, and it was always an ongoing challenge.”
While few fans got to see that part of Andrews, she was equally as dedicated to being a parent as she was to being a Hollywood star.
“I always felt that if my kids were OK, I could do anything. … What helped the most was holding onto the idea of quality of time over quantity of time,” she told the outlet. “I tried to make sure that the time we did spend together was meaningful, and that I was fully present and focused on them.”
Keep scrolling for a look back on Andrews’ career highlights, from Eliza Doolittle to Lady Whistledown:
(With Inputs from usmagazine)
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