Birth Name: Julia Elizabeth Wells
Born: October 1, 1935
Birth Place: Walton, Surrey, England
Born Julia Elizabeth Wells on October 1st, 1935, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, eighteen miles south of London. She was named after her two grandmothers Julia Morris and Elizabeth Wells.
Her father Ted Wells was a woodwork teacher and her mother Barbara Morris Wells gave piano lessons and was a part-time pianist for a dance school ran by her sister, Joan Morris. When Julie was two she appeared in the dance schools pageant as a fairy.
In 1939 Barbara Wells took a job as a pianist for a variety show. Also on the bill was a tenor named Ted Andrews. After a short while they became a double act. With the advent of World War II, Ted and Barbara Wells grew apart and were divorced. Barbara married Ted Andrews.
Julie's step father began to give her singing lessons in an attempt to get to know her better. To everyone's surprise Julie had a fully developed larynx, perfect pitch and a large four octave vocal range. Julie soon became part of Ted and Barbara's act. It was at this time that Julie changed her last name to Andrews simplifying the billing of their act.
At the age of eight Julie began to have singing lessons from Madame Lilian Stiles-Allen, who had once been a renowned concert singer. The two became close friends. It was thanks to Lilian's training that Julie ended up with perfect diction.
Julie was ten when World War II ended, and she was allowed for the first time to make unbilled appearances on stage with her parents. During the school holidays Julie spent most of her summer touring England with Ted and Barbara as part of their act.
Julie made her radio debut in 1946 singing a duet with Ted Andrews on a BBC variety show called "Monday Night at eight".
On December 5th 1946, Julie performed alone for the first time at London's Stage Door Canteen. The Queen (later the Queen Mother) and the late Princess Margaret were in attendance.
On October 23rd 1947, when Julie turned twelve she made her stage debut in Val Parnell's revue "Starlight Roof", which opened at the London Hippodrome, staring comedians Vic Oliver and Fred Emnley. The show earned a run of 649 performances. Julie remained at the Hippodrome for a full year. During this time she made her first appearance in a Royal Command Variety Performance at the London Palladium on November 1st, 1948. Julie became the youngest performer ever to appear before royalty at the Palladium. Julie was 9th on the billing and got to sing her big solo, The Polonaise from Mignon (in which she hit an F above high C), in front of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother).
In December 1947, Julie was given a screen test by the British division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Julie was not signed by the studio, who said she was unfilmable.
On October 8th 1949, Julie made her TV debut appearing in a BBC TV program called "Radiolympia Showtime", others in the cast were Vera Lynn and Stanley Holloway, who would later go on to play Julie's father in My Fair Lady.
In 1950 Julie regularly appeared on BBC radio with Peter Brough and his dummy, Archie Andrews, in the popular comedy program, "Educating Archie"'. Other regulars on the show were Max Bygraves and Benny Hill.
Around this time Julie toured the length and breadth of Great Britain making Music Hall appearances, and at Christmas doing pantomimes such as Red Riding Hood, in which she played the title role. At the age of thirteen Julie was cast as Humpty Dumpty in Emile Little's pantomime of the same name. It was at this time that Julie met Tony Walton, who she would later marry.
In 1951 Julie played Princess Balroulbadour in the pantomime Aladdin at the London Casino. Aladdin closed in February 1952 as Julie was cast in a touring revue called "Look In". In May of this year Julie joined Ted and Barbara Andrews in a variety show at the Victoria Palace in London. In the same year Julie was featured in a BBC radio series called "Here Comes the Pleasure Boat". Julie ended the year by playing Princess Bettina in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Coventry Hippodrome.
Julie's voice was used in an animated feature film, "The Rose of Baghdad", which was released in Britain in 1952. The Film has since been re-titled "The Singing Princess".
In 1953 Julie toured for three months in a revue called "Cap and Belles". At this time Julie was a regular guest on BBC radio, on the 5th June Julie sang with the Roy Terrey Orchestra, more than 3,700 people crowded Greenwich pier to see the broadcast for the BBC Showboat. In November Julie appeared on a BBC TV program called "Puzzle Corner". In December of this year Julie played the title role in Cinderella (her last pantomime). During the run of Cinderella Julie was seen by director Cy Feuer and composer Sandy Wilson.
After Cinderella, Julie appeared on BBC TV in a program called "Limelight" then made her debut as a dramatic actress in a play called "Mountain Fire" at the Liverpool Court Theatre. She played a winsome Tennessee belle named Becky Dunbar, who is made pregnant by a travelling salesman. Again Julie was seen by director Cy Feuer, who thought she would be ideal for his musical.
In 1954 The Boy Friend was running in the west end of London. American producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin bought the rights to the show to open it on Broadway. Cy Feuer wanted to keep as many of the cast as possible English, as not to lose the feel of the show. Vida Hope, who had produced and directed the London version of the hit musical, offered Julie the leading role as Polly Browne. After much hesitation Julie agreed to a one-year contract on Broadway. The show was an overnight success and Julie became a star.
In 1955 Julie had her American TV debut, playing opposite Bing Crosby in a musical version of Maxwell Anderson's High Tor for CBS. The show aired just five nights before My Fair Lady opened in New York. Julie has since been involved in many other TV productions.
Julie auditioned for Lerner and Loewe for the role of Eliza Doolittle in the musical version of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, which was renamed My Fair Lady. The show premiered in 1956 and was a critical success; it ran for two years in New York and for eighteen months in London's west end.
In March 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the musical Cinderella for Julie, commissioned by CBS.
On May 10th 1959 Julie and Tony Walton were married at St. Mary's Church, Otlands, Weybridge. Tony designed Julie's wedding dress.
In 1960 Julie was asked to play Queen Guinevere in the Lerner and Loewe production of Camelot. The show ran for two years. During the run of Camelot Julie was introduced to Carol Burnett, they became good friends. The two would later do many shows for TV together.
In the spring of 1962 Walt Disney went to see Camelot, he was impressed by Julie's performance and thought she would be perfect for the role of Mary Poppins. After visiting the Disney Studio's Julie accepted the role. Julie's daughter Emma Kate Walton was born on November 27th 1962 in London.
On April 5th 1964 Julie won an Academy Award for best actress in the role as Mary Poppins. On February 8th, 1965 Julie received her first Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture Actress in a musical comedy for Mary Poppins.
Julie filmed The Americanization of Emily straight after Mary Poppins; this was Julie's first straight dramatic role. Then came one of Julie's most important roles, Maria in The Sound of Music. This would end up being one of the most loved movies of all time. The film was a box office smash winning five Oscars. On January 31st, 1966, Julie received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in The Sound of Music.
Julie made many other films during the 1960's including Thoroughly Modern Millie, Star, Hawaii, Torn Curtain and Darling Lili. During this time Julie and Tony grew further and further apart ending in divorce, although the two are still good friends.
On February 15th, 1967, Julie was voted World Film Favourite Actress at the Golden Globe Awards. Julie received the honour again the following year.
After filming Darling Lili, on November 13th 1969 Julie married director-producer-writer Blake Edwards at a private ceremony in the garden of their Coldwater Canyon home. They worked on several other films together including The Tamarind Seed, 10, S.O.B., That's Life and Victor/Victoria for which Julie won her 4th golden Globe Award and was also nominated for an Academy Award. Julie was nominated for Golden Globe Awards for That's Life and Duet for One.
In December 1973, Julie gave a concert of Christmas Carols with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. Julie also performed a concert act at the London Palladium in 1976, performing most of her Broadway and Hollywood hits.
On October 7th, 1989, Julie won the British Academy for Film and Television Arts' special Tribute Award. (BAFTA) She was the first actress ever to receive this prestigious award.
In 1991 Julie made "Our Sons", an ABC movie made for TV.
In 1995, Julie made a triumphant return to Broadway in the stage version of Victor/Victoria, directed by Blake Edwards. A few years earlier she had been in an off-Broadway version of the musical Putting It Together by Stephen Sondheim.
In 1998 Doctor Dolittle opened at the London Apollo, Hammersmith, Polynesia the parrot was voiced by Julie Andrews, performing in her first West End musical for 40 years, without personally appearing on stage. Julie recorded some 700 sentences and sounds, which were placed on a computer chip that sat in the mechanical bird's mouth. In the song 'Talk To The Animals' Polynesia the parrot even sings.
In 1999, for the third time in her career Julie teamed up with James Garner to make a TV movie for CBS called "One Special Night".
In May 2000 Julie was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In the same year, Julie was back on the big screen, in a film adaptation of the NoŽl Coward Play Relative Values, using an adaptation of the original script. Also in this year Julie began work on a new Walt Disney film The Princess Diaries.
2001 saw Julie Andrews and Christopher Plumber working together for the first time since "The Sound of Music", in a live broadcast of "On Golden Pond". Later this year The Princess Diaries opened to rave revues and was a box office hit pushing Julie back into the limelight.
Under the name of Julie Edwards, Julie authored the first of her children's books entitled Mandy, published in 1971. The second, written three years later, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles takes its title from a word Julie found in the dictionary, and recently Little Bo, a story about a cat of the same name. Little Bo was originally to be named Babe but for obvious reasons the name was changed. Julie and her daughter Emma have just finished work on a series of other children's books, Dumpy the Dump Truck, Dumpy at School, Dumpy and the Big Storm, Dumpy's Friends on the Farm, Dumpy and His Pals and Dumpy Saves Christmas. All of the Dumpy books are illustrated by Tony Walton. Ms Andrews is also working on her autobiography and has launched her own imprint entitled "The Julie Andrews Collection".
In December 2001, Julie was honoured at The John F. Kennedy Centre for the 24th annual national celebration of the arts for her unique and extremely valuable contribution to films and the musical theatre.
Filming began on "Eloise at the Plaza" and "Eloise at Christmastime" in November 2002, both staring Julie Andrews, who plays Eloise's Guardian Nanny. Both films were shown in 2003 as part of ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney.
From 3rd to 21st December 2002 Julie toured 15 cities in America and Canada as part of "A Royal Christmas" with Christopher Plummer, Charlotte Church and 150 dancers, singers and musicians, the show featured popular Christmas songs, carols and readings.
On July 3rd 2003 in Southampton, England, Dame Julie Christened the cruse liner Crystal Serenity.
In August 2003 Julie Andrews made her directorial debut with the play 'The Boy Friend' the same show in which she made her Broadway debut.
In 2004 Julie played Princess Fiona's mother, Queen Lillian in the animated movie Shrek 2. In this year Julie also returned to the screen as Queen Clarisse of Genovia, in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
In October 2004 Julie played host to a six-part PBS documentary series on the history of the American musical.
Julie is the devoted mother of 5 grown children, daughter Emma, Blake Edwards two children, Jennifer and Geoffrey, as well as Amy and Joanna, two orphans the couple adopted in 1974.
Away from stage and screen, Ms Andrews is an unflagging worker on behalf of several charities, including Operation USA, UNICEF and Save the Children. In 1992 Julie served as Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM.