Dame Julie Andrews is a beloved icon in the worlds of stage, music, and film — but the award-winning soprano, Academy Award-winning actress, and children’s book author revealed recently that she sometimes has to contend with preconceived notions of her just like younger celebrities do!
The My Fairy Lady star is well known for her first big role in Mary Poppins back in the 1960s (in which she played Mary Poppins, an attractive and “nurturing” nanny) as well as her role in the 1965 Sound of Music movie as the governess and former nun Maria von Trapp.
Julie Andrews went on to do many more well-received movies, plays, and musicals throughout her career — and is still going strong with a role in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, not to mention a solid fanbase from The Princess Diaries — but the AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Tony Award-winner is often still defined by her first two big roles in the 1960s.
In her own actual life, Andrews (who was married to director Blake Edwards for many years until he passed away) has been described as a “cheekier version” of her most famous characters, and on the Awardist podcast the star of Mary Poppins emphasized the difference between her and her characters (who often have a sort of fairy princess or Disney princess demeanor) that so many of her fans miss.
“It’s true that, you know, the most successful movies are the ones that people remember the most. And so I don’t think [movies like Mary Poppins and Sound of Music] are necessarily — they’re part of me, and I’m thrilled to be a part of them — but it’s not who I am in total,” Andrews said. “I hope I’m not as squeaky clean as some of them, and I hope I’m more raunchy than others. But truthfully, it’s all about which film has been the most successful [and] who remembers you for what.”
“If you think about Clarke Gable, what’s the movie you think about? You think about Gone with the Wind. It is because it was the most successful and [it] promoted that image of him and so on,” Andrews explained. The Oscar winner did try to shift away from her “squeaky clean” image after playing Mary Poppins and Maria von Trapp. “I was very aware from Poppins onward that I had to be careful not to be cast too often in a nanny role,” Andrews said, adding that “I did try to diversify but they weren’t as successful as the really big ones”.
Andrews emphasized again that people’s perception of a celebrity is inextricably linked to the characters that they’ve seen the celebrity portray. “The image that remains… [is] usually from the way that people remember you or want to remember you,” she summarized concisely. Many younger celebrities from Disney shows or movies (including Cole Sprouse, Selena Gomez, and Austin Butler) have spoken about the challenge that the public eye brings as well. Nevertheless, Disney fans will agree that the Disney legend Dame Julie Andrews is a pro who seems to have her own iconic status well in hand!