Julie Andrews on life: ‘Don’t Wish it Away’
-Mar 20, Hannah Hargrave , Living -
‘The Sound of Music’ is celebrating it’s 53rd anniversary and in honour of its birthday we’re paying tribute to it’s 83-year-old star Dame Julie Andrews.
Julie Andrews, who is an iconic Oscar-winning actress and broadway star can’t believe it’s been more than half a century since the musical was released and insists: “I keep thinking it must be a trick and any moment somebody will say, no, it was only 30 years ago.”
But no wizardry or time travel has taken place. Julie was only 30-years-old when she played the coveted role of Maria von Trapp in the legendary film.
It was just a year after her Academy Award winning success of ‘Mary Poppins’ and while she looks back at both roles with fondness the fame itself was tough to deal with.
“It was a very, very difficult time,” she admits. “[Success] really did rattle my brains. Lucky my mother always told me never to get a big head.”
What made it even harder was that she was juggling a career and motherhood. Walt Disney had postponed production of ‘Mary Poppins’ until she’d had her baby and by the time she filmed ‘The Sound of Music’ her daughter, Emma, was 18-months old.
Rather than leave her in childcare she brought her to set.
“As a mother, my children have always come first,” says Julie, who had Emma with her first husband, Tony Walton, then become a stepmother to her second husband Blake Edwards’ two children and they adopted their two other daughters from Vietnam too. “Even though I’ve always been a working woman, I have also tried to have them with me, as often as I could.”
She adds: “I tried to make things silly and funny, so we all had a good time.”
In the end though Julie made the difficult decision to step down from her film career and focus more on motherhood.
“I wanted to be there,” she says. “To make a proper protein breakfast for them before school in the morning. To go to parent-teacher interviews. It is important. I do admire women who manage to do both. I tried and it is extremely difficult.”
When she did decide to head back to her career though in the 1990s a botched throat surgery stripped her of her incredible vocals.
Julie could no longer use her voice for musicals but did continue her work in films with an array of voiceovers for animated movies such as the ‘Shrek’ Franchise and ‘Despicable Me’. She even successfully ventured into the world of writing children’s books with her daughter Emma too.
She was also very happily married to Blake for 41-years until he passed away in 2010 leaving her heartbroken.
Julie describes her marriage to the director of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and the ‘Pink Panther’ films as a true love story and continues to grieve for him.
But at the same time refuses to let life pass her by.
“We all have our setbacks in life, but we come back fighting,” she says matter of factly.
She admits that despite everything she has achieved, life and your children’s youth goes by in a flash which is why you should embrace it – even the tough parts.
“One minute, they are up to your hip and next they are grown women in their own right,” she says, “And I tell you, it goes like a shot.
“Don’t wish it away because it goes so fast. I would also say, stay curious. Whatever you do in life, develop a sense of awe and wonder. Then you will never be bored.”