Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews Crossed Paths and Bonded in 1961 Through a Serendipitous Set-Up

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Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews have been BFFs for more than 50 years. The iconic singing actresses first crossed paths in 1961 after a serendipitous set-up in New York. They shared dinner together at a restaurant while accompanied by “poor men [who] didn’t stand a chance.” Burnett and Andrews immediately hit it off, becoming one of the world’s first beloved female performing duos and lifelong gal pals.

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Carol Burnett Met Julie Andrews When They Were Both Performing On Broadway

“She’s my chum,” Burnett said of Andrews while speaking on the podcast Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa. “She was a guest on The Garry Moore Show, but first, there was an agent and a manager that I knew who knew Julie. And he also knew the executive producer of The Garry Moore Show. And he said, ‘You two girls have to meet.’”

Burnett said she was hesitant at first. “That’s the first sign of ‘Oh gosh, no, come on.’”

“But she was doing Camelot and I was doubling. I was doing Once Upon a Mattress on Broadway, which was a Broadway musical. And I was doing the weekly Garry Moore Show,” Burnett recalled.

Carol Burnett had just been nominated for a Tony for Once Upon a Mattress and was about to receive an Emmy Award for The Garry Moore Show. Meanwhile, Julie Andrews was on the verge of her big break-out. She hadn’t done Mary Poppins yet, but she’d already been nominated a Tony for My Fair Lady on Broadway and was about to receive another nomination for the Broadway musical Camelot. She’s also been nominated for an Emmy for Cinderella, in which she starred in the made-for-TV musical.

It goes without saying, these were two phenomenally talented women.

Burnett and Andrews “Never Stopped Talking”

“So, she came with her manager to see a matinee of Once Upon a Mattress,” Burnett continued. “And we went to a Chinese restaurant afterward. And those poor men didn’t stand a chance. Julie and I never stopped talking. It was like we’d known each other forever.”

“And then she was a guest on The Garry Moore Show, and we did a number together where the audience in the studio — the television audience — stood up and it was a standing ovation. I’ve never seen that for a taping you know, then. So, the idea was born that we should do a special together… In 1962 we did Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall and ten years later we did one at Lincoln Center. And ten years after that we did one in Hollywood at the Pantages Theatre.”

Andrews Joined Burnett for Her 90th Birthday Special

Carol Burnett turns 90 on April 26 and her old friend reunited once again for a pre-recorded special. The special, Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love, comes out on Burnett’s birthday at 8 pm on NBC and will also stream on Peacock.

“We did this recent taping just last week for my 90th. Julie [who is now 87] came out and we were together, and she sat with me.”

Burnett clarified that “it’s not a birthday party and it’s not a roast. It’s a variety show, it’s entertainment.” The special will include a variety of clips from early shows and new ones, most recently for example Better Call Saul. The show will also feature live entertainment from artists like Katy Perry and Cher.

Julie Andrews Says She and Carol Burnett Bonded Over Their Pasts

Julie Andrews previously spoke to People about her special relationship with Carol Burnett.

“From day one, we both seem to know and understand where each one of us is coming from,” she said. “Although we come from different countries, we recognized in each other things that were of mutual understanding.”

Andrews said that she and Burnett bonded over their respective “tough beginnings.”

“It was instant the day we met,” she said. “And from then on, it’s been nothing but one hugely funny, joyous ride with a lot of understanding.”

Carol Burnett Is Julie Andrews’ Daughter’s Godmother

Andrews said that Burnett, who is her daughter Emma’s [now 59] godmother, and she share a friendship of “deep mutual respect.” When the two are together, they share “an awful lot of girlish giggles.”

“She’s been a long-time chum and I adore her,” said Andrews. “She’s wonderful to work with, and she’s loyal and kind, and it’s never changed. It isn’t that we speak every day, to be truthful. But it’s the kind of friendship that the minute you meet up again, it’s exactly as it was.”

Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett seem to have kept each other young in a way. To hear The Sound of Music star speak of her old friend is like listening to a schoolgirl talking about her first bestie.

“Having that fresh, open mind that she has is so lovely,” Andrews told People. “[Carol is] always available, always open, and generous. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t respect her as I do, because she’s rock solid as a friend, believe me. There’s been massive laughter between us, and I become more bad and she eggs me on. But it’s a lovely friendship.”

Read More: Meet Julie Andrews’ Big, Blended Family

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