Friday, February 18, 2000

Julie Andrews hits highlights of life

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Julie Andrews did not sing a note Thursday night at the Aronoff Center. Still, she charmed a sell-out audience of more than 2,000 with memories of her long, distinguished career as a musical star, mother and charitable ambassador.

        Noting that she last visited Cincinnati for a concert more than a decade ago, she joked, “Your ballplayers were only getting tens of millions in those days instead of hundreds. Mr. Lindner, I wonder if you have room for a ballgirl?”

        Appearing in the first of this year's “Unique Lives & Experiences” series sponsored by The Cincinnati Enquirer, the 64-year-old actress did not address the post-surgical medical problem that reportedly robbed her of her singing voice.

        Instead, she spoke about the charity endeavors that have taken her around the world, such as the Operation USA disaster relief fund and the United Nations International Fund for Women.

        She attributed her career to a series of “miraculous” breaks — singing at age 12 in a variety show in London, a Broadway musical that paved the way to her defining role in My Fair Lady, and Walt Disney's choice to make her the star of Mary Poppins. That led to her most enduring role, in The Sound of Music.

        “With the movies I've made, it's no wonder that I developed my squeaky-clean image,” she said, then cited “the earthier moments in my film career:” The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria and 10.

        This year, she'll be invested as a Dame Commander of the British Empire, a royal honor announced at the end of 1999.


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