"Do I curse? Oh, believe me I do. I'm very human. Mary Poppins doesn't swear; Julie does if the occasion arises"

Julie Andrews

Chicago Sun Times - 21 January 2007
By Cindy Pearlman


When Andrews utters an R-rated word, it's in the most delightful way

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens -- please! Those are not a few of Julie Andrews' favorite things. The 71-year-old screen legend isn't as much of a simp as some might think.

"Do I curse? Oh, believe me I do," she says. "I'm very human. Mary Poppins doesn't swear; Julie does if the occasion arises."

But no four-letter words when Andrews wins a lifetime achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards next weekend.

"I look back and think, 'I cannot believe where I am," she says. "I feel hugely blessed and grateful because I've had the most extraordinary life.

"But it has gone so fast. When you get a little older, it's an acceleration as you head towards a great age. Don't take a moment of it for granted."

1. How do you feel about the lifetime achievement award from SAG?

I'm immensely flattered and somewhat stunned that I'm being given this award. I'm thrilled and honored. I'm also interested to see all of my old movie clips. I'm sure that will create mixed feelings. I know I'll sit in the audience watching the clips thinking, "If only I would have done that a bit differently." But I guess that's fine because you always have to be striving to do it better.

2. Is it true that when you won the Oscar for "Mary Poppins" in 1964 you were so overwhelmed that you kept the statue in your attic for years?

Yes! Receiving an Oscar for the very first film I ever made was quite overwhelming. I felt somewhat unworthy. But now I think of it as a beautiful, welcoming gift to this business. But at the time, I was very shy, and I've always been very modest. That's why I put the Oscar in my attic. You can bet now that it's in a much better spot in my house in Brentwood.

3. What are your memories of making "Mary Poppins"?

I'll never forget that they saved all the flying for the end. These were very difficult stunts for the time, and they waited until the end of the shoot in case they dropped me. At least most of the film would have been in the can! I'll never forget that the last day of the shoot, I had been hanging in the rafters in the Poppins dress with this excruciating harness under my clothes. I felt myself dropped a foot, and then someone let a rope go and I fell all the way down to the stage. Believe me, I let out some four-letter, Anglo-Saxon words never heard before on a Walt Disney movie. But the gentleman working the ropes at the back of the stage just replied, "Well, I guess, she's down now."

4. Can you give us a glimpse of next summer's "Shrek 3"?

"Shrek 3" is being put to bed as we speak. I can tell you that King Arthur is coming in this film. And Queen Lillian sort of gets all the ladies together and unites them. It's so much fun. I have grandchildren, and they're thrilled about this movie. It's funny that a lot of kids out there know me better for "The Princess Diaries" and "Shrek" rather than "Mary Poppins."

5. OK, this is a weird question. In "The Princess Diaries," you have a throwaway line where you look at a cable car in San Francisco and, as the queen, say in the most royal voice, "Goodbye, trolley people." Are you aware this line has actually entered the culture?

It has actually become a household thing. I don't know why, but it's so funny. I write children's books, and when I'm done with signings, children will wave and beg me to say it. "I'll say, 'Goodbye, Chicago people' or 'Goodbye, New York people.' I think that line connected because the queen is being friendly, but she's totally out of touch with reality. Everything she says is so grand. It does give me so much pleasure that people remember such a small moment.