Julie Andrews on finding her voice again, as a children’s book author

Julie Andrews, renowned for her roles in timeless classics like “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music,” began her illustrious career with these iconic films.

Her enchanting portrayal of Mary Poppins and Maria von Trapp solidified her status as one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.


Even if these had been her sole contributions to cinema, Andrews would have left an indelible mark, with generations continuing to cherish her performances.

Transition to Writing Children’s Books

However, Andrews’ journey in entertainment was just beginning.

Now in her eighth decade in the industry, she has ventured into a new realm as a writer of children’s literature, collaborating with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.

Together, they have authored numerous books, the latest of which explores the enchanting world of theater through the eyes of… a duck.

Hamilton shared the inspiration behind their latest work, revealing how they stumbled upon a pair of nesting ducks at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor.

This real-life encounter became the muse for their theatrical duck characters, bringing an imaginative twist to their storytelling.

The Power of Adaptation and Resilience

Andrews’ foray into writing came after a significant personal setback.

Over thirty years ago, a surgical mishap tragically altered her famous soprano voice, leaving her devastated and struggling to redefine her identity.

However, her daughter’s wisdom proved transformative.

Emma’s insight that her mother had discovered another avenue to share her voice resonated deeply, shifting Andrews’ perspective towards resilience and adaptation.

Reflecting on her experiences, Andrews embodies the spirit of her characters—resourceful, optimistic, and empathetic.

Both Maria and Mary Poppins, roles Andrews is synonymous with, navigate challenges with a blend of whimsy and wisdom, never talking down to their young charges but instead empowering them to rise.

A Childhood Shaped by Adversity and Artistry

Julie Andrews’ resilience stems from a childhood marked by hardship and artistic discovery.

Born in 1935 during the tumultuous era of World War II, she vividly recalls air raid sirens and seeking shelter during the Blitz.

Raised in a fractured family environment, Andrews’ stepfather recognized her prodigious vocal talent, propelling her into the world of vaudeville at just nine years old.

As a teenager, Andrews shouldered familial responsibilities, supporting her family financially through her performances.

Despite the early pressures and doubts about her future, fate intervened when she was cast as the lead in “The Boy Friend” on Broadway at the age of nineteen, propelling her towards stardom.

From Stage to Screen: A Star is Born

Andrews’ rise to fame accelerated when she assumed the role of Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” on Broadway, followed by a captivating performance in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” on television.

However, it was her portrayal of Mary Poppins that captured Walt Disney’s imagination and garnered her an Academy Award.

Embracing her newfound cinematic success, Andrews seamlessly transitioned between stage and screen, enchanting audiences with her grace and charisma.

Despite setbacks, she exemplifies a quintessentially British resolve—grateful for opportunities while remaining stoic in the face of adversity.

Finding a New Voice Through Literature

Today, Julie Andrews’ artistic expression has evolved beyond acting and singing.

Through her collaboration with Emma Walton Hamilton, she has discovered a new voice in writing.

Their prolific partnership has yielded numerous children’s books, imparting valuable lessons with the same charm and elegance that defined Andrews’ performances.


Julie Andrews’ remarkable journey—from a childhood marred by war and familial strife to Hollywood superstardom and literary acclaim—is a testament to resilience and reinvention.

Her ability to transcend personal challenges, embracing new forms of creativity, inspires generations to find solace and strength in adversity.

In a world where voices are sometimes silenced, Andrews’ story reminds us that true artistry transcends limitations, echoing her characters’ enduring optimism and grace.

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