For Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary today, several Disney Legends and Disney icons are being featured in the celebration–and the “Most Magical Story on Earth” kicked off with a special showcase that aired yesterday and included none other than the famous actress Julie Andrews! Julie Andrews is best known by Disney Guests for her roles as Mary Poppins and Queen Clarisse in The Princess Diaries, or perhaps for her excellent work as an author (you won’t regret finding her book “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” at the library!), but there’s actually one Disney-related role that many fans don’t know the actress had! Julie Andrews played Cinderella in one of the first-ever filmed versions of the fairy tale; it was the Rodgers and Hammerstein version, in black and white, and aired live (yes, live, much like tonight’s TV special!) in 1951.
This role has the usual Cinderella elements: Cinderella herself, the evil stepmother, the wicked and ugly stepsisters, Prince Charming, the ball, the Fairy Godmother, the glass slipper–all of it! Julie reminisced about the role in an interview with Instyle magazine, and in her own most recent memoir. “My first time on live television was in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s production of Cinderella, and I quickly learned you have a lot less time to embrace your costumes than in the theater. I did get to wear actual glass slippers, though,” she said with a laugh in the interview. “It was all very hectic, especially when it came to Cinderella’s big transformation ahead of the ball. As I changed from rags to riches, the camera was traveling up my body while I was throwing my clothes on and flinging a different hairpiece on my head. I knew that if anything went wrong, I’d only have one shot.”
Julie Andrews also revealed some fun fashion tidbits about Mary Poppins in the Instyle interview. “Soon after [Cinderella], I landed the role of Mary Poppins,” she remembers. “When Walt Disney offered me the part of Mary, he also offered my then-husband [Tony Walton] the job designing the costumes and principal sets. I was so happy to have someone I could trust so completely next to me. Through the wardrobe, Tony gave me so much of the character. He said to me, “I like to think that Mary has a little bit of a secret life.” And so, whenever one of her very formal jackets was open or if her skirt kicked up, he wanted it to reveal a scarlet lining or a wonderful lemon-lime flash of silk or some other little thing that would turn her on. Her clothes gave me that extra magical spark I needed to become Mary Poppins. Though, to tell you the truth, her wigs were uncomfortable to wear,” she confessed with a charming laugh. “The only piece of wardrobe I’ve ever asked for on a film was Mary’s shoes from the “Jolly Holiday” sequence. They were high lace-up boots in pink and white. I had them made into bookends.”
We’re sure that you’ve already seen Mary Poppins, but if you haven’t seen Julie’s portrayal of the Disney princess Cinderella (making her one of the original Disney princesses, in a way), then you can watch it below!