"She's shy with strangers, but once she accepts you - watch out. She's sweet, modest, kind to animals, completely wacky. She's a brilliant practical joker, a writer of naughty Limericks, a superb mimic, a collector of shaggy-elephant stories, a devotee of the bongo drum and a lover of soda fountains."
Good Housekeeping Magazine
By Carol Burnett as told to Helen Markel
My Friend Julie Andrews - America's favorite comedienne reports that her beguiling British friend is just as far out as Carol herself.
The first time I saw Julie Andrews close up she came into Whelan's drugstore at 44th Street and Broadway, the Sardi's of the unemployed actors, to buy a refill for her eyelash curler. Having stood through My Fair Lady four times, I rose as she entered out of force of habit - as thought Queen Victoria had just appeared. I bought the same refill for my eyelash curler, only I never could get it in straight.
Two years later I was doing my first play, Once Upon a Mattress and one night her manager, Lou Wilson, came backstage and suggested we all have supper after the show.
"Me and Julie Andrews?" I said on a rising note of panic.
"Why not?" he said. "You're both the same style. Kinda nutsy."
I kept telling myself on the way to the restaurant that when we run out of conversation I could always ask her how to refill an eyelash curler.
We met at Ruby Foo's (Julie thinks that Chinese food, like the Statue of Liberty, is one of the glories of American civilization). Lou was there, and Bob Banner of The Garry Moore Show. They're two very verbal types, but that night they never got in five words edgewise. Julie and I conducted a two-half filibuster; it was like open end without a moderator.
The only way I can explain that encounter is if you can remember back to what it was like when a new kid moved into your block and - voom! - straight off you know you had a best friend, so you both sat down and on the steps and told each other the story of your life.
Julie told me about her stage debut at three when the flap of her Dr. Benton's came unflapped and the whole first act featured her fanny, and then I told her about our family parrot, whom my mother taught to say, "Where the hell have you been?" whenever he saw my father.
Over the egg-drop soup we traded anxieties: We're both devout coward's about airplanes and opening nights and criticism (the least little bit makes me contemplate slashing my wrists)' and then we discussed our hair color, (Hers is natural - wouldn't you know - whereas mine is really so dark that when I let it grow in I look like I should break into Indian Love Call.)
During the sweet-and-sour pork we compared our hideous childhoods: Julie swears she was buck-toothed and piano-legged and faintly wall-eyed for years: I was so tall the only thing that boys admired about be was my ability to outrun them, which was not what I had in mind.
By the time the fortune cookies appeared, we were working out a plan to work together, some time somehow. The idea of teaming Miss Raggedy Ann Burnett, Girl Kook, with the remote, ladylike silver-throated Miss Andrews, 'ere from England to grace our 'humble U.S. shores, finally roused our poor escorts into calling for the check and stumbling out of the restaurant, holding their various heads.
On the way out Julie said she couldn't get her refill to work right either.
Two years later, and against everybody's better judgment, Miss Andrews and Miss Burnett made their first joint appearance on The Garry Moore Show, and if I say it myself, who shouldn't, it turned out to be pretty great.
In the first five minutes of rehearsal, as eyewitnesses have since reported, it became quite clear to the whole company that one of those things was happening on stage that hardly ever happens between tow female performers. There was no jealousy, no upstaging, no competition. Whether it' sour chemistry or simply that we're the same kind of nut - as Lou said that night - we seem to be at our best in each other's company.
The next morning everybody was on the phone persuading us to do a one-our TV Special, which eventually (in June, 1962 became Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall.
We had the time of our lives doing that show. (maybe that's why it was a success). even though the rehearsals were so grueling we wondered whether we'd survive. We lived on tea and pep pills and developed psychosomatic colds.
Julie hast weight and I gained it mostly in the bags under my eyes. We went so wild doing our spoof of the Moiseyev Ballet that I sprained my ankle and Julie blacked an eye.
But nothing fazed that girl. In the midst of one rehearsal she suddenly hiked up her satin gown and broke into Old Man River while doing a soft-shoe clog. she can sing high, low or bass baritone if driven to it. We worked a twelve-hour day toward the end and everyone was dropping in his tracks except Julie, who remained as fresh as one of those English springs she's always talking about.
Working opposite her is like having Winston Churchill for your copilot. She never panics. Her Fair Lady director, the late Moss Hart, once said "She has that terrible English strength that makes you wonder why they lost India." Among the cast she was know as The Rock, a reference to her sheer staying power.
I know what they mean. Julie also has the kind of physical "carriage" my grandmother likes to talk about; a tremendous composure and a professional invincibility which Mr. Hart described as "a kind of glacial charm, as though she came down from Everest every day to rehearse with the rest of us."
But that's the public Miss Andrews, a girl who can be pretty overwhelming. I myself have seen her, but I've never met her. My friend is Julie Walton, who has a baby called Emma and a husband called Tony (a talented set designer), and a wonderful happy marriage.
Should you meet Julie, you must not be deceived by that grande dame facade. Underneath her Rule-britannia face beats the spirit of a rampant lion cub.
This is a quality that's hard to document because it's elusive, so you'll just have to take my word for it: Julie Andrews is not Queen Victoria; she's an irrepressible British kook.
That dressed innocence masks a basic gustiness, a directness, a for-realness that's very rare, especially in women. Julie Walton can't fake anything, including friendship. When she likes you she calls you ten times a day (my little sister keeps threatening to put in a private line for us), and if she doesn't she refuses to come to the phone, but nicely.
She's shy with strangers, but once she accepts you - watch out. She's sweet, modest, kind to animals, completely wacky. She's a brilliant practical joker, a writer of naughty Limericks, a superb mimic, a collector of shaggy-elephant stories, a devotee of the bongo drum and a lover of soda fountains.
Her humor is direct, offbeat, and sometimes off-color. Some of her best lines are better not in print, but those pear-shaped British inflections make them sound line pure poetry. With that accent and those china-blue eyes she seems like an engaging child trying out some new words she picked up from her older brother.
There is no one else quite like her. She managed to weather one of the splashiest successes in Broadway history with her sense of humor intact, and a compulsive fear of getting "big-headed." The other night she asked Tony if her thought her head had been turned much since he first know her back home in England.
"Has it, love? Be absolutely truthful. It's very hard to tell about one's own head. y'know."
Tony tried giving it a few turns, just to check.
"No luck." he said, kissing her on the top of it. "It's stuck on too straight."
Tony Walton is a brunette and quieter that Julie, with a dry, subtle wit that's a perfect foil for hers. They both have that same squeaky-clean look, line a pair of proper prep-school kids who've decided to play house for the weekend. They prefer games to night clubs, avoid large parties when possible ("We loathe making Entrances") unwind after a hard day by having a banana split at the corner drugstore.
As a theatrical designer, Tony is in the same line of work as Julie without being in direct competition with her. That is a very good thing since two actors in the family are fated.
The fact that at times Julie makes more money that Tony doesn't bother either of them. If that was the basic problem in marriage, few women in show business would ever go to the alter. Julie earns more that President Kennedy, let alone her husband, but since female performers are known to have a short life and a taxable one, she just counts her blessings and saves her pennies and is taking up cost accounting.
It is Julie's opinion that the nicest thing about having money is that it can fly her parents over for visits and keep Emma in expensive stuffed animals. She still gets homesick for England - "Your t terrible Eastern springs are my worst time," she confessed last May before she left New York for Hollywood and work on the movie version of Mary Poppins. "But I am getting stiffer in the upper lip about it, wouldn't you say?"
She is always trying to be stiffer in the upper lip about something. Her latest resolution is to work on her rock garden and take tennis lessons (she is devoutly non athletic) and be neater and learn to make a souffle. Promise to tell me the moment you see me weaken," she said on the phone. "As we know, I'm not exactly, riddled with self-discipline, Wot?"
Maybe part of her infinite good nature is explained by the fact that she is the product of two happy homes. (See - even her family history is a little off-center.)
Her parents were divorced when she was quite young and they both made happy second marriages and remained chummy, in the bargain. Julie is so close to all four of them that she gave up letter writing and now rattles on into a dictaphone for an hour a week and airmails the tape back home. Since Emma's arrival, she has embarked on an elaborate plan to send over 8-mm. movies with the arrival of each new tooth.
the day Emma was born in England (Julie felt such an occasion called for British soil) I received a cable: SHE'S HERE, KNOWN OFFICIALLY AS EMMA STOP START LEADING A GOOD CLEAN LIFE STOP YOU'RE HER GODMOTHER MOTHER WALTON
She called me the next day from the hospital to report that she was nursing Emma. "It's heaven," she said, ocean to ocean.
Emma Kate Walton will be a year old in November and has a Kim Novak face, the world's most doting parents, an English nanny called Wendy and a household that revolves around her natural-blonde head.
Julie handles her with the confidence of Dr. Spock. I asked her the other day how she learned so fast.
"As soon as you have one," she said, burping Emma efficiently, "all those dormant maternal instincts start popping out all over you, like German measles."
I think Emma has changed Julie. You watch when she's holding her and you can see the difference. She's still Julie, but she's suddenly full-grown.
Although it is generally conceded that Emma's mother can do anything she wants in the theatre, there are some days now that she is not quite sure that she wants to do anything at all.
I remember a conversation last summer when I was visiting the Waltons in Hollywood. We had spent the day at Disneyland and gone on every ride (Julie has a passion for roller coasters). Then we had come home and polaroided each other to death (Julie holding Emma, Tony holding Emma, Emma holding us), and now we were all sitting around the pool cooing at Emma and talking lazily about the future.
"I'd like to take a year to do a picture and then have another child," Julie said dreamily, "and then a picture and then a child and then a pic . . ."
"And then a grandchild," Tony said, and slid into the pool.
Before all that happens, Julie and I are determined to work together again. If we do, I hope we'll both survive, because I'd hate to lose that girl. It's not every day you can run across a British kook in a chinese restaurant who turns out to be you best friend.