Julie Andrews Says Therapy Helped Her Sort Out Her "Demons" And Made Her A Better Mum And Wife
The British icon — known for "Mary Poppins," "The Sound of Music" and "The Princess Diaries" — reflected on her career, meeting her late husband and how therapy made her "a better mum and a better wife."
"It sorted out my demons and what I call the garbage that clutters your head and you don't need," Andrews said.
"What would you say was the biggest obstacle that you had to sort out?" interviewer Anthony Mason asked.
"It helped me very much understand and put in perspective my childhood, of course. That was probably the biggest work I did," she said. "And it makes for a lot of compassion and understanding, and you realize that everybody else is in the same boat."
In a new memoir detailing her early successes in the movie industry, titled "Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years," Andrews writes, "Was I scared? You bet. Did I feel inadequate? All the time."
Hollywood was far from the small British town where she had been raised, the child of divorced parents and an alcoholic stepfather.
She started performing in vaudeville at age 12, made her Broadway debut the day before her 19th birthday in "The Boy Friend" and later starred in "My Fair Lady," creating the role of Eliza Doolittle.
But she was passed over for the part in the film version of "My Fair Lady." The producers preferred an established movie star, Audrey Hepburn.
"I did understand the choice," Andrews said. "The Warner Brothers Studios … they wanted big stars and big box office names."
"Was there any ounce of disappointment?" Mason asked.
"Yes, of course there was. I mean, I was sad," Andrews said.
But it meant she was free to play Mary Poppins, which was filmed at the same time. And when Andrews beat out Hepburn to win the Golden Globe, she playfully nodded to the studio head who had not cast her in My Fair Lady.
"Finally my thanks to a man who made a wonderful movie and who made all this possible in the first place, Mr. Jack Warner," she said in her acceptance speech.
Andrews also won an Oscar for that role in 1965.
"How do you live up to that?" Mason asked.
"You don't believe it. … I felt it was more of a welcome to this wonderful business than an accolade for the role, and I kept that Oscar kind of tucked away for quite a while up in my attic," she said.
Asked why she kept it in her attic, she said, "I wasn't sure why I had received it. But these days, it's front and center on the shelf in my office."
"How long did it take for that to happen?" Mason asked.
"Oh quite a while, honestly Anthony, really," she said.
Andrews was also nominated for an Oscar for her iconic performance in "The Sound of Music."
"You weren't a big fan of The Sound of Music, the musical?" Mason asked.
"No, I was very worried when I was asked to do 'The Sound of Music,'" Andrews said. "That it could be very saccharine, with the mountains, with the music, with seven children."
The stunning opening scene on the mountaintop took multiple takes. And Andrews could barely hear the music playback over the helicopter noise.
"That helicopter was coming over the treetops at me with a very brave cameraman hanging out of the side of it, and I was walking across the fields toward it," she recalled. "And the down draft from that helicopter … it just kept flattening me into the grass … but all I got from the cameraman was thumbs up. Let's do it again."
The next year, she made a film equally epic. In "Hawaii," she starred as the wife of an American missionary, played by Max von Sydow.
"There's a scene in there that's pretty terrifying where you almost get lit — you do get lit on fire," Mason said.
"It was a very terrifying moment. I was wired at the hem with a fuse. And that's about to explode, and although I had an asbestos skirt underneath, the dress was so flimsy and my hair was so long, and I thought, 'Well, it could all catch fire,' and damn near did," Andrews said.
Andrews met her late husband Blake Edwards on Sunset Boulevard. "How corny can you get?" Andrews said. Both were on their way to their therapists. "Not the same therapist," Andrews said. "But I mean, it is hokey isn't it?"
The acclaimed screenwriter and director of "The Pink Panther" was immediately smitten. They'd be together for the next 44 years, a partnership both personal and professional, making films like "10" and "Victor/Victoria." But Andrews' memoir ends just as she and Edwards return to Broadway to adapt "Victor/Victoria" into a musical.
"Do you prefer film over the stage?" Mason asked.
"Yes, although the reward from stage is so enjoyable. I mean, giving to an audience and sensing an audience every night is lovely. But I think I like the quietness of a soundstage and the detail and the discipline of getting it really right," Andrews said.
"And then it lives forever," Mason said.
"Well, if you're very, very fortunate," Andrews said.