On Wednesday night, Diane Sawyer celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music with a special in which she and Sag Harbor resident Julie Andrews visited Austria and the von Trapp home. It is mind-boggling, but true, that this American classic was panned by the The New York Times and every other major paper in 1965, when it originally came out.
How Andrews wound up with this coveted role of Maria von Trapp shows how fate does step in. She had just completed Mary Poppins and was up for the role of Eliza Doolittle in the movie version of My Fair Lady, a role she had done on Broadway to rave reviews. Andrews lost the Eliza role to Audrey Hepburn, who couldn’t sing a note, but had the box office star power producer Jack Warner wanted. Because Hepburn couldn’t sing, Marni Nixon, the voice of the day, dubbed the singing as she had done for Natalie Wood in West Side Story. But losing the My Fair Lady film turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for Andrews. She won the role of Maria von Trapp allowing her vocal trills to echo over the hills of Austria. The rest, of course, is history.
Congratulations, Julie Andrews, for being the real deal. You filled the movie theatres with the voice of an angel, you floated through the air as you moved and danced, you enchanted us with your acting and we were magnetized by your radiant smile. Best of all, you showed all of the naysayers what’s what by winning a Best Actress Oscar for Mary Poppins, an Academy Award nomination for The Sound of Music and a Golden Globe for The Sound of Music. You have continued adding to your body of work with additional rich characterizations.
Good for you, Ms. Andrews—sometimes rejection leads to the best opportunities.
Barbara Anne Kirshner is the author of Madison Weatherbee-The Different Dachshund. She is a regular contributor to DansPapers.com.