Although Julie Andrews began her career on the stage, she didn’t become a superstar until she appeared in Mary Poppins, one of Disney’s most famous movies. She was able to work with Walt Disney himself. Here’s a look at what he said to her — and what she had to say about him.
What it was like when Julie Andrews transitioned to Hollywood to star in Walt Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins’
Firstly, a little background. Mary Poppins was Andrews’ first movie. Prior to that, she was primarily known for playing Eliza Doolittle in productions of My Fair Lady. According to Vanity Fair, Andrews revealed going from the stage to Hollywood was a significant transition for her.
“Now, here I was, with three shows—The Boy Friend, My Fair Lady, and Camelot—and several thousand performances on Broadway and in London behind me, beginning yet another journey into a new unknown: Hollywood,” she recalled. “This time, thankfully, I was not alone. My husband, Tony, was with me. We were embarking on this new adventure together, along with our baby daughter, Emma.”
Andrews added “We were green as grass, had no knowledge of the film industry, and could not possibly envision what lay ahead—but we were industrious, open-minded, and we had each other. We were also blessed to have the great Walt Disney to guide us.”
Julie Andrews opens up about Walt Disney’s personality
In an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Andrews discussed Disney with Kelly Rippa. Disney “was lovely,” she said. “He was exactly as you would imagine him. [Disney] was a kind of twinkling personality and very dear and very smart, of course. He was the first one in the studio every morning; he was so proud of it! But, honestly, he spoiled me and when he asked me to come into Hollywood I said “Ug! Mr. Disney, I’d love to come but I’m pregnant!’”
Andrews recalled Disney told her they could wait until she had her baby. Andrews later realized pre-production on movies takes quite some time so there was no major issue for the production to wait to begin until her child was born.
How the world reacted to ‘Mary Poppins’
So how did Andrews’ collaboration with Disney work out? According to Box Office Mojo, Mary Poppins earned over $103 million. It is one of the most famous and beloved films from the Walt Disney Company which is not primarily animated.
In addition, the Walt Disney Company continued to capitalize on the success of the movie for years. For example, Enchanted includes a number of references to the film including a musical number inspired by its aesthetic. In 2013, the studio released Saving Mr. Banks, a fictionalization of the making of Mary Poppins. In 2018, the studio released a belated sequel called Mary Poppins Returns. Andrews enjoyed working with Disney and the public continued to enjoy the Mary Poppins franchise for years to come.
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