Oct. 1, 2012 at 10:52 AM ET
Happy birthday to Julie Andrews, who turns 77 today! She was Mary Poppins, she was Maria von Trapp, and for many of us, she was the best mother figure in the movies.
Really, just one of the two major movie-musical roles in Andrews' life would have been enough to assure her position in classic cinema forever.
If she'd only ever played Mary Poppins, the wonderful nanny who came to the Banks children just when they needed her, with her bottomless carpetbag and her spoonful of sugar, she could have retired right then.
Ditto if she'd only ever played Maria, the music-loving postulant who turns the motherless von Trapp family upside-down as World War II breaks out. One of those two roles would have been plenty for Andrews' legacy.
But she not only did both, capturing the hearts of children and adults alike, she added other roles to her resume. Andrews starred in "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Torn Curtain," "Victor/Victoria," "The Princess Diaries," among others, has numerous TV credits, and can claim a Broadway resume as long as the Great White Way.
She's the perfect combination of charm and sass, and her oh-so-familiar voice still surprises us today, peeking out from behind animated characters in movies like "Despicable Me" and the "Shrek" series.
One of the many catchy songs from "Sound of Music" asks the question: "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" With all due respect to the nuns at her abbey, anyone who's seen and loved "Sound of Music" doesn't see Maria as a problem to be solved. We think of her, and of Andrews, more along the lines of a lyric from "Mary Poppins," which claims, "it's a jolly holiday with Mary, no wonder that it's Mary (er -- Julie) that we love."
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