HIFF: Julie Andrews Talks Career, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award - 27 East

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HIFF: Julie Andrews Talks Career, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

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Westhampton High School Principal Christopher Herr presents his proposed building budget to the Board. ERIN MCKINLEY

Westhampton High School Principal Christopher Herr presents his proposed building budget to the Board. ERIN MCKINLEY

author on Oct 8, 2017

She’s been everything from a whimsical magical nanny to a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. On Saturday, she was just Julie Andrews and that’s all the crowd at Guild Hall in East Hampton needed to give her a standing ovation.

The Academy Award-winning actress was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hamptons International Film Festival. Before she was presented with the award by the festival’s executive director, Anne Chaisson, Ms. Andrews sat down with festival co-chairman Alec Baldwin for a conversation about her career in film. Leading into the conversation was a special screening of “Victor/Victoria,” the 1982 musical comedy written and directed by her late husband, Blake Edwards, in which she plays a soprano singer in 1934 Paris who finds fame posing as a man impersonating a female singer. The film deals with public perception of homosexual relationships and Ms. Andrews described its larger theme.

“The movie is about love of all kinds,” she said. “Blake was able to take that theme and stand it on its head.”

She went on to talking about the challenge of playing a man on screen, and said she wasn’t sure if the audience would believe her performance. But she started to crystallize her character after studying the mannerisms of co-stars James Garner and Robert Preston.

“Men are much more still, ladies are all about crossing their arms and legs,” she said. “There was one day when I was standing with the other men, and they never treated me like a lady. I had to drop my voice as low as I could, which was not easy. But I trusted Blake so completely and thank God I did.”

Mr. Baldwin asked Ms. Andrews about her quick rise to fame, regarding how she won her Oscar for her iconic performance in the title role of “Mary Poppins,” her first major film role. She admitted to thinking she would lose the coveted award to Anne Bancroft in “The Pumpkin Eater.”

“After I had won, I didn’t show off the Oscar for the longest time. Now, it’s front and center in my home,” she said with a hearty laugh.

As far as her future plans, Ms. Andrews said she’s currently working on the second part of her memoir. She said she has written her life story only up to “Mary Poppins” and hopes to fill in the gaps. When an audience member brought up the fond memories of her concerts with Carol Burnett at Carnegie Hall in 1962 and Lincoln Center in 1971, Ms. Andrews said she’d love to do another project with Ms. Burnett in the future.

“We’ve been trying to do it for a long time,” she said. “We often wanted to keep doing it at different places, like Julie and Carol at the Great Wall of China or Julie and Carol at the Red Square! There’s so many wonderful things going on that I keep thinking to myself, ‘Are we lucky or what?’”

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