Sadly, Julie Andrews wasn’t chosen to play Eliza Doolittle in the movie adaptation of My Fair Lady. The person they chose made the singing part of the role a little challenging. Find out why Andrews wouldn’t have made the movie the same way as Audrey Hepburn.
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Andrews originally played Eliza Doolittle on Broadway. But once it was time to make a movie adaptation she was ultimately passed over for Hepburn.
Jack Warner reportedly told her, “I so wanted you to do it, Julie, but they wanted a name” according to Rare. Andrews returned to the stage to be in Camelot. Hepburn starred in the 1964 movie and it won eight Oscars.
Andrews starred in her first movie, Mary Poppins, which was released in the same year. She won for Best Actress in a Leading Role for playing the titular character. The movie won five Oscar and beat My Fair Lady in the box office.
Andrews said she wouldn’t have made the movie the same way
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Andrews didn’t hold back when sharing her thoughts on My Fair Lady. Hepburn recorded her songs for the movie reportedly because her singing wasn’t “up to par” according to Variety.
Andrews made it known she wouldn’t agree to recording them if she was asked. The Oscar winner told a reporter she would have “spat in someone’s eye” if she had.
It was later revealed that Marni Nixon did some of the singing for Eliza in My Fair Lady along with other iconic roles like Maria (Natalie Wood) for West Side Story. Nixon told NPR that actors weren’t always told whether someone else would dub the singing scenes for them so it made things awkward. Wood was one of those surprised actors.
“They didn’t tell her that gradually, I guess, as they worked with her that maybe it wasn’t going to be good enough because they were afraid to upset her. And it created an atmosphere of – I felt very uneasy,” Nixon said.
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It sounds like the people making Mary Poppins were very impressed with Andrews’ singing. Songwriter Richard Sherman talked about working on the film with The Guardian.
“But the best moment came when I first heard Julie Andrews singing ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. I was crying because she was articulating the whole essence of the movie – which was about the power of love,” Sherman said.
It sounds like the making of Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady played out very differently. In the end, it seemingly worked out for everyone. Both movies made a lot of money and won awards. But Andrews certainly didn’t want to not to sing the role of Eliza herself.