Julie Andrews On Why She Wasn't Cast In 'My Fair Lady' | The Dick Cavett Show (2023)


Julie Andrews discusses making her film debut in Mary Poppins and performing in My Fair Lady on Broadway!

Date aired - 12/10/71 - Julie Andrews

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Dick Cavett has been nominated for eleven Emmy awards (the most recent in 2012 for the HBO special, Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again), and won three. Spanning five decades, Dick Cavett’s television career has defined excellence in the interview format. He started at ABC in 1968, and also enjoyed success on PBS, USA, and CNBC.

His most recent television successes were the September 2014 PBS special, Dick Cavett’s Watergate, followed April 2015 by Dick Cavett’s Vietnam. He has appeared in movies, tv specials, tv commercials, and several Broadway plays. He starred in an off-Broadway production ofHellman v. McCarthy in 2014 and reprised the role at Theatre 40 in LA February 2015.

Cavett has published four books beginning with Cavett (1974) and Eye on Cavett (1983), co-authored with Christopher Porterfield. His two recent books -- Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets (2010) and Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic moments, and Assorted Hijinks(October 2014) are both collections of his online opinion column, written for The New York Times since 2007. Additionally, he has written for The New Yorker, TV Guide, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere.



My first guest is an incredibly talented woman, I think and a lovely actress, and she has starred in some of the most popular and financially successful movies ever made it's nice when movies are both, although it isn't necessary, they include as you must know, Mary Poppins in Hawaii and the Americanization of Emily and the Sound of Music.

And what have I left that star darling, Lily she's been in all lots of films and I'm.

Delighted that she's here tonight I met her once that she doesn't, remember, maybe it'll come to her during the evening I'll tease her with it.



The beautiful and wonderful, Miss, Julie Andrews.

What you said, that's, a dirty trick that I met once met, you Winston didn't, tell because I saw you the other night here in town, but I was outside the Dixie hotel.

And you came buying a cab and you whistle right? No that was someone else, no.

But you were outside the Dixie or death.

Does this Dixie? Those tails? Do it I? Guess it must be no I, I don't want to keep doing suspense at some point during the evening I'll, reveal it.

Let me know when the suspense gets so unbearable, how about ice cream right now? No I, wouldn't, wait, well, I'll, wait, what you're not gonna snatch off your hair like Carol Burnett did that was a great shock to say to a woman when what are you doing you, let your hair down, and she said this and pulled it off she's a good friend of yours, actually talking about the Dixie hotel.

We decided that if we ever did another special, we would do it in the lobby of the Dixie hotel.

Well, that's a good idea.

We thought it would be fun.

I know for people when I was a kid Oh way back on the Jackie Gleason show, there was Easter give this to a joke about memoirs of an elevator operator.

And the Dixie hotel it's been a joke for years, although the hotel is all fixed up now and well, we tried Filene's basement or something like what does that mean? Filings basement, it's, a bargain basement in a you know, shop called Filene's in Boston.

Oh I just did a commercial didn't I.

Oh, you may have, yes, you may get a bargain in the mail.

Your kids recognize you on the street as Mary Poppins, hmm, yes.

And they sometimes expect me to do something magical and then it's very hard.

Do you carry any tricks about with? You can do tough across the ear, usually it's touching Debussy feels well that was your first film, wasn't it.

Yes, nothing else from you'd never done any little films here.

No, no I did I did a commercial in England once for something rather nothing.

We prepared for the great success of it were you floored by the happen.

I had made Poppins and Emily and The Sound of Music.

And none of them had been released.

So I had all the great fun of making films.

And none of the responsibility of having released.

They were all in the can yeah.

So to speak, and then and then all came out, yes, well, kind of just not together.

Yeah, what is there a kind of role that you'd really like to get into to kind of get out of the pure image? You have do you know what I mean by the pure image kind of? Yeah, yeah, I mean, sweet and very nice and very proper and very lovely and well, if you could think of the opposite of that, it might help, you know, yeah, using everyone knows that you're, not really any of those things.

Oh, of course, and damn right? Why? Jen? No, but would you like to do a real lowdown? Wretched Tobacco Road tag, all right, really I wouldn't.

Mind doing a low-down kind of hokey thing.

You know, something really wacky and wild that would be great I'd love to do an out-and-out comedy and try that and I'd like to do a modern film, I've, never done anything that wasn't in a period costume.

You know, I was in the period film, I mean, even Emily, which sort of seems modern had was 1942 or some what about a hit to the head.

You guys, I'm, sorry, you're out.

No you're, right? You must be nice to be able to forget an entire mmm, you know, could you clear up one thing for me? And then we'll never have to discuss you tell me where we met? Okay? Well, right after right after this? Okay, why did you not make the movie of my fair lady? It's, never been completely explained to me.

It's, very simple.

I had never made a movie.

I was not a star.

I was not box-office.

But you were you were the star of it on me.

Everybody bought the record people on Broadway all around Broadway might know, but certainly people out in the middle of America and out here and didn't know me from Adam, you know, yeah.

And so I I understand you never forget wait.

So you must have been really silly.

Well, zoo certainly requires nice to have the kind of compensation that I had which was Mary Poppins.

And so I felt, you know, kind of was that decision, but made by one man or a group of people, I don't, really know, um, I, honestly I, don't know why maybe I was silly, but I didn't really hold out much hope for it.

I mean, I didn't think that I would get it just because I knew I'd never made a film, and how could I and all that kind of thing? Yeah.

So it wasn't that great a surprise.

Yeah, I'll, tell you where we met when your dressing room would wear, which dress are we on the air I was still in college.

When my fair lady opened, yes, and it opened in New Haven, yes and an opening night, which was a thunderstorm or a snowstorm or something, yeah.

And something went badly.



Remember must heart came out before the curtain and said, everyone went Oh cuz.

They heard all about this show, yes.

And he said, no, nobody's, sick it's.

But one of the turntables, those ten tables we had, neither of them are gonna work, and he just warned the audience.

But you came back after I was there and I.

There was a sense of just gigantic success about it that night people who went about an hour longer than normal because stagehands had to come on and turn the table, that's, right? Crank them by hand only show down about four hours.

And it was the first time we'd ever really done it.

Anyway, you know with an audience and I, remember I got my wig on backwards that night you did.

Yes, I had an incredibly fast changed and I've.

Just, you know, I had different hairstyles for different parts of the year play and I ran in and put on my wig and got in my costume ran out and did my number and came off.

And at the end of the show Cecil Beaton came back your is, and he said, not that way you silly girl this way and turned your hair around like should have been the same thing in him.

Yes, I think he does doesn't think I'm.

Not sure he forgave me later, yeah, what's funny I'm surprised with all the excitement of that night that you don't, remember Mike coming I was just a student and people were thronging backstage and I thought, I'm gonna see where they're going I don't, remember, any one particular student, you know, there were many of us.

Well, it's, probably because I didn't, either say anything to you or make myself known and I was still in a stew and stepped into the dressing room and stepped out you were wearing some sort of plaid pants was I.

Yeah, yeah, though you really were, they were I'll.

Never forget them.

They were trials, I mean, I'm, sick, I'll, give them to you if you're not stand up let's, see, well, I don't think really sit.

Well, that's all I've always wanted those pins.

No I'm, not even sure.


It was though it was.


It was the first night.

Sure you remember a pair of sort of red, plaid pants, I, remember, I wish I could say I remembered you, but isn't that cool.

Maybe if I were red and plaid.


Why didn t Julie Andrews get the part in My Fair Lady? ›

After starting out in British theater, Andrews had made a splash when she crossed the pond to star in “My Fair Lady” on Broadway when she was just 21. But she wasn't cast in the film adaptation, since the producers thought her lack of film experience would be an issue.

Why was Audrey Hepburn cast in My Fair Lady instead of Julie Andrews? ›

Hepburn got the part over Julie Andrews for the role of Eliza Doolittle, despite the fact she couldn't sing. She took singing lessons in an attempt to improve, but still couldn't cut it. As a result, Marni Nixon was drafted in to perform the vocals instead.

Was Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady? ›

My Fair Lady premiered on Broadway March 15, 1956, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. The production earned Rex Harrison a Tony Award and Julie Andrews a nomination.

Why didn t Julie Andrews cameo? ›

Despite the many callbacks to the original Mary Poppins, the sequel still lacked Andrews' presence. Director Rob Marshall recalled to Variety how quickly Andrews turned down the offer to appear in Mary Poppins Returns. Marshall stated Andrews felt the film was "Emily's show" and didn't want to hog the spotlight.

How old was Julie Andrews when she was in My Fair Lady? ›

Opposite him, as Eliza Doolittle, was a young (age 21) Julie Andrews, who just a season before had been a sensation in Broadway's “The Boyfriend.” Rounding out the cast was Stanley Holloway and Cathleen Nesbitt. The show opened on Broadway on March 15, 1956 and was an immediate smash.

Who actually sang in My Fair Lady? ›

Marni Nixon (Soprano) - Short Biography. The American soprano, Marni Nixon, was known in the popular world as the singing voice behind the stars of West Side Story, The King and I and My Fair Lady.

Who sang for Katharine Hepburn in My Fair Lady? ›

I could have danced all night and still have begged for more. GROSS: That's Marni Nixon on the soundtrack of the film "My Fair Lady." Audrey Hepburn played the role of Eliza Doolittle in the film, but Nixon did the singing for the role. In fact, she dubbed vocals for some 50 films.

Who did the singing for Eliza in My Fair Lady? ›

As the voice of Maria in 'West Side Story' and Eliza Doolittle in 'My Fair Lady', Marni Nixon should have been one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

What condition did Julie Andrews have? ›

Hollywood Icon Julie Andrews Fights Against Huntington's Disease.

Who turned down the role of Mary Poppins? ›

| The Graham Norton Show.

What does the ending of My Fair Lady mean? ›

In the end, Eliza finds the strength to explain her disquiet to Higgins, who listens but ultimately denies everything. When she realizes that she will never change him, Eliza says goodbye — permanently.

Why did Audrey Hepburn not get an Oscar for My Fair Lady? ›

5 | Audrey Hepburn 1964

Yet while My Fair Lady duly notched up eight Oscar wins, including best picture, Hepburn was shut out of the best actress race, allegedly penalised by voters for failing to do her own singing.

Why isn t Vanessa Redgrave in My Fair Lady? ›

Vanessa Redgrave has played her final performance in the West End production of My Fair Lady. The actress, who played Mrs. Higgins in the limited engagement, writes that she "needs a rest following a stretch of Covid." Heather Jackson takes over the role in the production's final weeks.

Who sang the part of Freddie in My Fair Lady? ›

It is sung in the musical by the character Freddy Eynsford-Hill, who was portrayed by John Michael King in the original production. In the 1964 film version, it was sung by Bill Shirley, dubbing for actor Jeremy Brett.

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