DVD Release DateJulie Andrews shares memories of meeting Dick Van Dyke at Mary Poppins...

Julie Andrews shares memories of meeting Dick Van Dyke at Mary Poppins rehearsals

  • Julie Andrews recalls her first meeting with Dick Van Dyke during Mary Poppins rehearsals.
  • Mary Poppins was a significant Hollywood film for Andrews, earning her a Best Actress Oscar.
  • Van Dyke’s joyful presence made filming Mary Poppins a happy experience for the entire cast.

Mary Poppins star Julie Andrews recently shared memories of her first encounter with co-star Dick Van Dyke during a tribute event for the actor. Andrews discussed her memorable first meeting with Van Dyke during Mary Poppins rehearsals for the 1964 Disney musical, in which she played the titular character while Van Dyke portrayed the chimney sweep Bert and the old bank director Mr. Dawes Sr.

Andrews described the rehearsal setup at the Disney studio, saying, “It was a very hot early September if I recall correctly, and the Disney team had built a big stage outdoors on the backlot of the studio and created a roof for shade from a giant tarpaulin.” She detailed how Van Dyke was already working with the choreographers and dancers when she arrived on her first day.

Mary Poppins marked Andrews’ first major Hollywood film role, and she described feeling daunted by the project, as well as meeting the “young, fit as can be, and really gorgeous to look at” Van Dyke. Andrews recalled, “I’d never made a movie before, and I’d given birth to my lovely daughter Emma nearly six weeks earlier, and I quickly realized that I had better pull my socks up and get in shape.” She added that Van Dyke “could not have been kinder, more genuinely sweet and helpful,” and that the two of them bonded instantly.

Upon its release, Mary Poppins became a box office and critical success, earning Andrews a Best Actress Oscar. The film’s music also received acclaim, winning Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and Grammy Awards for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture and Best Recording for Children. In 2013, the film was inducted into the Motion Picture Hall of Fame.

Andrews also discussed the joy she experienced working with Van Dyke on the film. “It was so delightful to watch him imitating the animated penguins or attempting to ride the pony from the carousel. Becoming a magical chimney sweep. Actually, it was a very happy film for, I think, the entire company,” she said, concluding, “How lucky I was to have him by my side for my first venture in Hollywood.”