Legendary actress, Julie Andrews voiced the revered scribe, Lady Whistledown in the 2020 Netflix series, “Bridgerton.” The precision and flow of her narratives were proof of her seven decades-long experience in showbiz.
Although her role came without appearance, the faceless Lady Whistledown remained the most revered character in Netflix’s “Bridgerton” thanks to her ever-updated newsletters. The roleplayer, Julie Andrews put together the powerful voice of the narrator successfully using her skills as a renowned Hollywood actress.
Andrews has graced the big screen since her days as Mary Poppins in the mid-sixties. Her success in “Mary Poppins” was followed closely by another award-winning drama, “The Sound of Music.”
Both movies, released back-to-back, plummeted the then-young actress to stardom. Since then, her reputation in the industry has preceded her, making her a Hollywood demi-goddess in her own rights. Her book, “Home Work” detailed some of her escapades since venturing into showbiz.
Looking to know more about this entertainment giant’s road to stardom and her journey up until her days on “Bridgerton?” You’re in luck.
JULIE ANDREW’S LIFE BEFORE FAME
Born Julia Elizabeth Wells in 1935, the “Sound Of Music” star spent her early life in Surrey, England. Her mom, Barbara Ward Wells conceived her from an affair with a family friend while married to Ted Wells.
Julie Andrews parents’ eventually divorced, each settling down with new partners. Her mother remarried in 1943, to Tom Andrews, prompting the actress to adopt the family’s surname. After the second world war, Andrews enrolled at Cone-Ripman School in London. Her stepfather also secured lessons with voice instructor, Lilian Stiles-Allen.
JULIE ANDREWS’ ROAD TO STARDOM
Julie Andrews began singing on stage with her parents from the age of ten. During such performances, her mom played the piano, while Andrews and her stepfather performed the solo or duet.
The singing trio continued for the next two years. At twelve, Ted Andrews introduced the actress to the MD of Moss Empires, Val Parnell. She soon began singing professionally, making her solo debut in London Hippodrome. She appeared as a solo singer before Queen Elizabeth and King George VI in a Royal Variety Performance at London Palladium.
The icon made her television debut in October 1949. In 1950, Andrews became a cast member in “Educating Archie,” retaining the slot for two years. She went on to appear in stage plays like “Aladdin,” “Humpty Dumpty,” “Jack And The Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood, ” and “Cinderella.” She made her film debut as the voice of Princess Zeila in the English version of the Italian animation, “La Rosa di Bagdad.”
Andrews’ Broadway debut came in 1954, with a role on “The Boy Friend.” She went on to star in other productions like “High Tor,” “My Fair lady,” “Cinderella,” and “Camelot,” further putting her in the spotlight.
CLIMBING THE HOLLYWOOD LADDER
Julia Andrews’ outstanding performance in “Camelot,” put her on Walt Disney’s radar. Before long, the production company called her up to star as the titular character in “Mary Poppins.” Despite declining the role continually due to pregnancy, the company insisted on waiting until she was ready to play the part.
Her role as Mary Poppins in 1963 earned the star an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe in the Best Actress Motion Picture Comedy or Musical category.
The next year, she starred in “The Americanization of Emily,” earning her a BAFTA nomination for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. In 1965, she played Maria Von Trapp in “The Sound Of Music,” which remains her most recognized role to date.
Due to her fame, beauty, and immense talent, many roles came her way through the 60s and early 70s. Julia Andrews played leading roles in movies like “Hawaii,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Torn Curtain,” “Darling Lili,” and “10.”
Additionally, she earned the opportunity to host her own TV shows including “The Julie Andrews Show,” “The Julie Andrews Hour,” and “The Muppet Show.”
THE LIFE-CHANGING ENCOUNTER
Through the 80s and 90s, Andrews landed roles in “Victor/Victoria,” “That’s Life,” “Duet For One,” “Our Sons,” and the short-lived sitcom, “Julie.” The success of most of her films strongly depended on the actress’s four-octave soprano.
It all came crashing down in 1997 when Andrews developed hoarseness in her voice requiring her to undergo surgery. The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York claimed she had non-cancerous noodles in her throat, hence the hoarseness. However, the surgery was a failure, causing permanent damages to her voice. She sued the hospital two years later for malpractice.
Following four rounds of surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation, the actress managed to recover her speaking voice. However, her iconic singing voice ended up as a fragile-alto.
HER CONTINUOUS WORKS IN HOLLYWOOD
Despite the loss of her famous four-octave soprano, Julie Andrews continued starring in notable movies and television. Some of her credits include “The Princess Diaries,” “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” “Eloise At The Plaza,” “Eloise At Christmastime,” and “Tooth Fairy.”
The icon went on to voice Queen Lillian in the animation, “Shrek 2,” reprising the role in the sequels. She also served as the narrator in the 2007 musical comedy, “Enchanted.” In 2010, she voice Malena Gru in the animation, “Despicable Me,” reprising the role in its 2017 sequel.