Julie Andrews is a beacon of kindness, gentility, and class. Every film she stars in truly feels like she is gracing us with her presence and skill. With the same grace, she took low points in life and turned them into winning lessons. One of those moments was when she was denied the starring role in the My Fair Lady film.
After making her debut on Broadway at the age of 18, she auditioned for the musical adaptation of “Pygmalion” called “My Fair Lady”. At just nineteen years old she landed the role of Eliza Doolittle and worked on the show for over three years. When Jack Warner attained the rights to make My Fair Lady into a film, it was a shock when he picked someone else to play her part. The role went to Audrey Hepburn. Jack Warner later told her that, “I so wanted you to do it, Julie, but they wanted a name.” As it goes in Hollywood.
Andrews accepted another play on broadway, Lerner & Loew’s production of Camelot, and let Audrey play her role on the big screen. She’d been told from her early teen years that she wasn’t attractive enough for the big screen. So, she was surprised when Walt Disney came backstage at Camelot and asked if she wanted a part in his adaptation of “Mary Poppins”, originally by P.L. Travers. She turned down the role since she was three months pregnant. Disney told her they would wait for her to play the role and hired her husband, Tony Walton, a set and costume designer.
In 1964, the film version of Mary Poppins was released. It was both the first time Julie Andrews acted in a film and was the most successful movie of the year. She was awarded a Golden Globe for the year’s best actress in a musical or comedy. In her acceptance speech. She ended it with a final offer of thanks to Mr. Jack Warner because he “made this all possible”.
Later Andrews was nominated for best actress for Mary Poppins, but Audrey, in My Fair Lady was not.