By Mario Casilli
23 March 1991
Julie Andrews Introduces Emma Kate
Though she has been an actress since she was very young, Julie Andrews is a very private person and rarely agrees to personal interviews. For her, family comes first, even above her glittering acting canes and she allows nothing to get in the way. But she invited us into her lovely home, to pose with her daughter Emma Kate and talk about what matters most to her.
Julie was born in London in 1935 and it was there that she made her acting debut at the tender age of 12. By the time she was 19 she was the darling of Broadway. It was there that she got her first real taste of life; she shared an apartment with another English girl and began to make an impact on the New York stage.
Her first theatre successes were in the musical My. Fair Lady in 1956 and Camelot in 1960.
Her film debut came in 1964 in Walt Disney's magical fantasy Mary Poppins which won her an Oscar. The film, half animated cartoon half real, was an instant success, and together with The Sound Of Music which followed hard on its heels, made Julie Andrews a household name around the world.
Her reward for these huge hits were various TV shows like Julie And Coral At Carnegie Hall, with Carol Burnett; An Evening With Julie Andrews And Harry Belafonte and Julie Andrews' Invitation To The Dance with Rudolf Nureyev. By 1973 she was hosting her own show - The Julie Andrews Hour, for which she received an Emmy award.
Julie's daughter Emma Kate, who appears with her in our photos, was the child of her first marriage to Tony Walton. In 1968, soon after the break up of that union, she married film director Blake Edwards, with whom she has a happy and very stable marriage.
Julie, what is most important to you, your family or your career?
My family, without a doubt. To accept a film role I have to be sure that the shooting schedule won't badly affect my private life. Blake and I hate being separated, for example. I personally think work is important, but if I have to work at the expense of my loved ones it's not worth it. It's just a question of priorities."
Were you disappointed that they didn't offer you the film role in My Fair Lady that you had played on the stage?
At the time I didn't see it as a disappointment, but I have thought about it from time to time over the years and I think I would like to have done it because it was a great role for an actress. But I didn't regret it, and it wouldn't have changed anything. At that time I wasn't really heard of and they wanted to give the public a well-known person. Anyway, they soon offered me Mary Poppins and I won an Oscar for it. On the other hand Audrey Hepburn - who was in My Fair Lady - wasn't even nominated!"
The Sound of Music was, of course, a huge success.
"Yes. of course, but I don't like to think the public only remembers me films these two films (Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music). I have made many more, like Hawaii, Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain. They have all been important for me, but it seems the public doesn't agree."
Do you think people see you as the perfect governess.
Yes and I think they also see me as the perfect nanny, who gives children a special type of education and they love her for it. On top of everything I have to remember that without Mary Poppins it would have taken me longer to get established."
Do you ever regret not having a conventional childhood like other children?
"My childhood has helped form my life. I don't think it was a bad thing, I mean while other children were playing in the street, I was acting. So I was a fortunate child. In 1948, when I was only 12 I sang in front of Queen Elizabeth, the present Queen Mother."
What sort of relationship do yon have with your daughter Emma?
"Very good. As well as being mother and daughter we are also the best of friends. We both know we can rely on each other for anything."