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Julie Andrews is one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons, a woman who has appeared in some fan-favorite blockbusters. Andrews, who rose to fame for her impeccable singing voice, made a name for herself on stage before effortlessly transitioning to a career in movies.

One of Andrew’s early-stage successes was as Eliza Doolittle in the ever-popular show My Fair Lady, originating the part well before Audrey Hepburn was cast in the film. Later on, when she became a movie star, Andrews allegedly remained a bit salty about not playing Eliza on-screen.

And when she went onstage to accept her Academy Award in 1964 for her work in Mary Poppins, she dropped a choice witticism alluding to her casting. 

When was Julie Andrews born?

movie star Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews | Noam Galai/Getty Images for 92Y

Andrews was born in England in 1935. As a child, Andrews’ incredible voice drew a lot of attention, and she began singing professionally, both on stage and on the radio.

All throughout the mid to late ’40s, Andrews sang for a variety of productions, touring around Britain with her parents. In 1948, Andrews made history when she became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance, singing for Queen Elizabeth.

 In the early ’50s, Andrews embarked on her Broadway career. When she was 19, Andrews made a splash in the Broadway play The Boy Friend.

Critics took notice of Andrews’ acting abilities as well as her fantastic singing voice, and she went on to land the sought-after role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady

Julie Andrews made a splash on stage in ‘My Fair Lady’

Andrews was very popular as Eliza Doolittle, and when talks started to make the long-running stage musical into a film, Andrews was taken into consideration. Unfortunately, even though Andrews had originated the role on stage, the part of Eliza ultimately went to Audrey Hepburn, who was already a major movie star.

According to The Southampton Press, studio boss Jack Warner wanted someone better known than Andrews to star in the film, which is why he settled on Hepburn.

Ultimately, Andrews got the last laugh when she was cast in the highly-anticipated Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins. The actress easily adapted to her role and when the movie was released in 1963, she was praised by critics as well as viewers. 

Julie Andrews went on to win the Academy Award for ‘Mary Poppins’

Julie Andrews (R) and Audrey Hepburn (L) stand after Andrews received her Oscar. 1965.
Julie Andrews (R) and Audrey Hepburn (L) stand after Andrews received her Oscar. 1965. | Getty Images

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Mary Poppins became one of Disney’s biggest success stories, and the vehicle that launched Andrews to stardom in the United States. Fans loved her performance as the practically-perfect nanny so much, that she is still closely identified with the role even to this day, nearly five decades after it was first released.

Critics loved Andrews’ work so much that she was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the movie — a nomination that she eventually won.

When she stepped onstage to accept her award, Andrews couldn’t resist the opportunity to throw a bit of shade towards Jack Warner, the executive who had blocked her from getting cast as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. As part of her acceptance speech, Andrews thanked Warner, saying: “and, finally, my thanks to a man who made a wonderful movie and who made all this possible in the first place: Mr. Jack Warner.”

Mary Poppins likely would have approved of Andrews’ sassy message and the classy way that she expressed her feelings about the project. Both Andrews and Hepburn went on to film stardom, and to this day, both actresses are considered to be cultural icons.