Julie Andrews Celebrates Her 80th Birthday: 9 Times She Was Practically Perfect in Every Way

Star of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and so much more has been an international treasure for going on six decades

By Natalie Finn Oct 01, 2015 11:00 AMTags
Julie Andrews Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Happiest of birthdays to Dame Julie Andrews!

The British star of stage and screen unbelievably turns 80 today and we would be remiss to not pay tribute to her greatest moments—both as a character and as herself—as one of showbiz's most revered living legends.

Having spent six decades acting—from originating the role of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway in My Fair Lady when she was 21 to voicing Princess Fiona's mum, Queen Lillian, in three Shrek movies—Andrews has amassed quite the résumé, winning over multiple generations of fans in the process.

But while she's charmed in theaters for years, some of her most best scenes have come when she was "just" Dame Julie, charming as always. With both sorts of entertainment in mind, in honor of her milestone birthday, here are nine times she was nothing but an international treasure:

Walt Disney Pictures

1. Mary Poppins: "Practically perfect in every way," indeed! The veteran Broadway star, making her feature-film debut in the 1964 Disney classic, won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as the be-all and end-all of nannies. No one can consider themselves too old for a governess after watching this.

20th Century Fox

2. The Sound of Music: Riding high on all that Mary Poppins success, the four-octave soprano made those hills come alive in 1965 as perhaps the second-most popular governess of all time. She also later admitted that she cursed like a sailor during filming because of all the @#%$^&* wind in the #$&^@ Alps. Bless her.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

3. Making Lady Gaga's Night at the 2015 Oscars: Stephen Sondheim's grizzled criticism be darned! Gaga got the only seal of approval that was necessary after performing a surprisingly spot-on tribute to The Sound of Music at the 87th Academy Awards when Andrews surprised, well, everyone by joining her on stage.

Comedy Central/Viacom

4. Dishing With Stephen: Andrews has authored more than 20 children's books and, while promoting The Very Fairy Princess, she showed up where you had to go to prove your street cred: The Colbert Report. He asked her if, should the occasion arise that she was in the front row of a Broadway production of the Mary Poppins musical and the lead actress broke her leg mid-performance, she would be able to jump on stage and take over. "Damn right I could do it, are you kidding?!" she fired back. Minus the broken-leg part, how amazing would that have been?!

Metro-Goldwynn-Mayer (MGM)

5. Victor Victoria: "A woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?" Yes!


6. The Princess Diaries: Millennials presumably think that Julie Andrews is actual royalty and you can't blame them. She was a natural to play Queen Clarisse of Genovia, grandma of Anne Hathaway's Mia Thermopolis, in this modern-day fairy tale, and it seems as if she's been royal or magical—or both—in every movie she's graced since!

7. "Five Good Bass Notes": Listen to that ovation during her appearance on The Daily Show in 2010! "I cannot tell you how much of my life was spent watching Julie Andrews in movies," Jon Stewart told her. "I consider myself an honorary Von Trapp." "You, sir, are very good," she assured him right back before going on to say how great Dwayne ("The Rock" Johnson) was to work with in Tooth Fairy. "He's gorgeous to look at. From a lady's point of view you wish he would just stand there so you could enjoy it."

More importantly, in talking about an upcoming concert series she'd be doing, though others would be doing most of the singing, she joked that post-surgery (her throat was damaged during a 1997 procedure) she had "five good bass notes" and could do a bang-on rendition of "Old Man River."


8. Thoroughly Modern Millie: Have you seen this rollicking gem from 1967? You haven't? Well, see it. It was made into a Tony-winning Broadway musical but you can buy this version to have with you always! Andrews is a 1920s career gal, fresh out of secretarial school, who's planning to marry her boss but inconveniently falls in love with James Fox. But that's OK, because her boss falls in love at first sight with Mary Tyler Moore. Just watch.

9. It Takes Two: Any time Andrews and Carol Burnett share a stage is a good time. Here the musical theater stars and longtime BFFs thrill the audience at the 1999 Tony Awards with a show-tune medley. And yes, there is shimmying!

And One to Grow On: If you didn't have Dame Julie giving your commencement address as the University of Colorado, Boulder, graduating class of 2013 did, well... Were those four years even worth it?

Don't miss the grand dame talking to E! News about the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music:

Watch: Julie Andrews Talks Lady Gaga's "Sound of Music" Tribute