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January 16, 2022

26 Vintage Photos of Julie Andrews in Her Feature Film Debut as Mary Poppins in 1964

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, based on P. L. Travers’ book series Mary Poppins. The film, which combines live-action and animation, stars Julie Andrews in her feature film debut as Mary Poppins, who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family’s dynamic.

Mary Poppins was released on August 27, 1964, to critical acclaim and commercial success. It became the highest-grossing film of 1964 and, at the time of its release, was Disney’s highest-grossing film ever. It received a total of 13 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture – a record for any film released by Walt Disney Studios – and won five. Mary Poppins is considered Walt Disney’s crowning live-action achievement, and is the only one of his films which earned a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime.

In 1963, Walt Disney had seen Julie Andrews’ performance in Camelot and subsequently offered her the role; Andrews initially declined because of pregnancy, returning to London to give birth, but Disney firmly insisted, saying, “We’ll wait for you.” After the birth of her daughter, P. L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins book series, later called Andrews, telling her: “Well, you’re much too pretty of course. But you’ve got the nose for it.”

Disney rented a house in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles for her family to reside in during production. Andrews relied largely on instinct for her portrayal, conceptualizing her background and giving the character a “particular walk” and a turned-out stance to suit her ladylike sensibility. Andrews referred to production as “unrelenting” given the physical exertion and technical details, saying that she “could not have asked” for a better introduction to film.


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