This superstar is famous for her eloquent voice and stellar articulation (think “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”) but during the 1960s this woman was actually a triple threat! She could sing, she could act, and boy could she dance!
Care to take a guess who I’m talking about? If you guessed Julie Andrews, you’re correct!
Known famously for roles as the loveable, magical nanny in “Mary Poppins” and the stubborn singing governess in “The Sound of Music”, Julie Andrews epitomized innocence and positivity through her characters. Her vivacious roles have shared joy and laughter through the years, which serves as a nod to the actress’ personal strength when you remember that her own upbringing lacked much of the magic she brought to the big screen.
Born on October 1, 1935 in a small town outside of London, Julie Andrews’ childhood was set in a war-torn Europe. Like all Londoners, her family braved wartime rationing and German bombings; they battled poverty, divorce and challenges brought on by alcohol abuse. Andrews dealt with “creepy” advancements from her stepfather and the shocking revelation that her mother’s first husband, the man she believed to be her father, was not her father after all. Despite these family issues, she credits her mother and stepfather for her early beginnings in show business. She began touring with her mother, a pianist, and her stepfather, a singer, at a young age and turned to the performing arts as a means of escaping her troubled upbringing.
Andrews experienced great success as an actress on Broadway, but it was her “cheery disposition” in the role of Mary Poppins that elevated her to star status. She took home the Oscar for Best Actress in 1964 and in 1965, she was back to work after scoring what was arguably her most famous role, and was again nominated for Best Actress in her starring role as Maria in “The Sound of Music”. The movie took home the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year and would eventually go down in history as the most successful musical movie ever made.
Despite the fact that Hollywood stopped producing the musical movies that made Andrews famous, she has remained an international treasure on the strength of her 1960s success. Andrews’ film career has recently been revived with the successes of “The Princess Diaries,” its sequel “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, the animated “Shrek” films, as well as “Despicable Me.”
Her acting and singing may have taken mainstage, but her dancing was as much an element of her glamor and star status as anything! As you reminisce about some of those lovable Hollywood musicals, check out some of Andrews’ most memorable dance scenes from the 1960s:
“Maria and the Captain dance the Laendler” in The Sound of Music – 1965
What is your favorite Julie Andrews dance scene? Do you have any “Dancers Who Defined a Decade” requests?