British Icon of the Week: Dame Julie Andrews, the Actress Who's 'Practically Perfect in Every Way'
Dame Julie Andrews celebrates her birthday Friday (October 1), so we're celebrating by making this bona fide legend our British icon of the week. Here's a handy guide to some of her greatest – and most surprising – career accomplishments.
1. She won an Oscar for her movie debut in Mary Poppins.
Technically, Andrews had one movie credit before this – providing the voice of a princess in an English-language dub of the Italian animated film La Rosa di Bagdad – but Mary Poppins was her first live-action role. And it wasn't just super but, but supercali...
2. She has won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical a record three times.
That's a record she holds jointly with Rosalind Russell. Andrews' wins came for Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria, and she has been nominated in this category a further five times over the years.
3. She has also won a BAFTA Film Award, two Emmys, three Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors, and an Honorary Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival.
Let's hope she has a large trophy cabinet!
4. She put in a stint as a drag queen... sort of.
In the 1982 movie Victor/Victoria, directed by Andrews' husband Blake Edwards, Andrews plays Victoria Grant, a struggling singer who poses as the flamboyant female impersonator Count Victor Grazinski in a bid to boost her career. It's one of her most accomplished and ambitious performances.
5. Her career contains a few other surprises.
During her 2014 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Andrews discussed her role in S.O.B., a 1981 black comedy movie directed by Edwards which required a brief and "legitimate" moment of partial nudity. "It took 10 years to get the movie made," she recalled, "so I had 10 years to think about it!"
6. She has a second career as a prolific writer of children's books.
Andrews has written a range of children's books, many in collaboration with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, including the popular Dumpy the Dumptruck series and the memorably titled The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.
7. She is definitely a woman of principles.
In 1996, Andrews turned down a Tony Award nomination for her performance in a Broadway adaptation of Victor/Victoria because it was the production's only nomination. "I have searched my conscience and my heart and I am afraid I cannot accept this nomination," she said at the time, according to UPI. "I prefer to stand with the egregiously overlooked cast and crew."
8. In 2000, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts.
According to Andrews, when she visited Buckingham Palace for her investiture ceremony, the British monarch said to her: "I've been waiting a long time to see you here." Adorable!
9. She's gracious about being known most for her family movies.
"The thing is... Poppins and Sound of Music were so successful that they crowded out and eliminated the less child-friendly movies I did, like [1966's epic drama] Hawaii and [1964's war-themed black comedy] The Americanization of Emily," Andrews told The Guardian last year. "It's just the way things fell and I'd never knock it and I'm absolutely grateful for all I've been given."
10. She's still going strong.
Andrews lends plenty of gravitas to Bridgerton as the voice of Lady Whistledown, proving once again that when it comes to hiring a narrator, there's nothing like a Dame with impeccably crisp diction.
Do you have a favorite performance by Dame Julie Andrews?