‘Mary Poppins’ Star Julie Andrews Speaks Out About Celebrating Her 87th Birthday

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Turning 87 years old is definitely a big deal and it certainly was for Mary Poppins star Julie Andrews. Andrews, who also made heads turn in The Sound of Music, turned 87 in October. What was the birthday celebration like for the famed star? “It was an absolutely wonderful weekend,” Andrews said. “I had family at my house, and then the next night, we all went out. And so many well wishes and cards and things like that. I was very moved by it all.” 

Andrews, who was honored with the American Film Institute’s lifetime achievement award last summer, stays quite busy. These days, she is narrating a Netflix drama titled Bridgerton. Andrews also lends her voice to the Aquaman and Despicable Me movies. The movie star and Broadway actress finds time to join with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton to write children’s books.

Julie Andrews Shared Memories Of Queen Elizabeth

“In terms of COVID and everything shutting down, it really gave us a chance to just work together,” Andrews said. “I’ve had every shot that’s available!” She talked with USA TODAY about a number of different subjects. When asked about meeting Queen Elizabeth, Andrews said, “I met her and I sang for her at two Royal Command Performances for Her Majesty for a very, very good cause. The first one I did when I was 13. … I was honored to be made a Dame by her (in 2000), which was quite extraordinary. I have really lovely memories and I’m a great royalist. She worked so very, very hard and was very dedicated.”

What’s the favorite song that she’s recorded in her life? “One of my early favorites was the Kurt Weill song My Ship,” Julie Andrews said. “It had such beautiful lyrics. I was very much lyrics first: ‘What does the song mean? Who am I addressing?'”

Julie Andrews elaborates on her love of musical theater. She said that it really “captured me.” Andrews talked about her singing teacher who thought she should go into opera. Yet her discovering musical theater led her down that path. She also takes a minute and talks about recording one iconic song from Mary Poppins titled Feed the Birds. “Well, it was the first movie I ever made and you prerecord everything for musical films,” she said. “We put down ‘Feed the Birds’ but I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t know if I could get permission to do it again, given there was a full orchestra. But they very kindly said, ‘Yes, by all means.’ So I did it again about a week later and was much happier. I recorded it more than twice, but the second time was the best.”