When God Closes A Door He Opens A Window
by Greg May
Julie Andrews and Robert Wise
Did you know Walt Disney played a role in the casting of Julie Andrews for 'The Sound of Music'?
Rumor had it in Hollywood Doris Day was in the running for the role of 'Maria' in the screen adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. At the same time, everybody in Hollywood just KNEW Julie Andrews would reprise her role of 'Eliza Doolittle' from the Broadway musical 'My Fair Lady' in the movie version. But the producers wanted a recognizable screen star and Andrews had not as yet been in a major motion picture.
So the role of 'Eliza Doolittle' went to Audrey Hepburn - a major disappointment for Julie Andrews and her Broadway stage fans.
One day while visiting the Walt Disney Studios Robert Wise was shown a film clip from the movie, 'Mary Poppins' which was under production. The Academy Award-winning director was searching for the actress to play 'Maria' in the film version of 'The Sound of Music'. Wise took one look at the rapport Julie Andrews had with the children in 'Mary Poppins' and said, "Let's sign her before someone else does".
Being both producer and director of the Twentieth Century Fox production, Robert Wise demanded - and received - ten percent of the films' profits. Wise signed Julie Andrews to a two-picture deal for a little less than a quarter million dollars. But his gift to his 'Maria' was a percentage of the sales of the soundtrack album.
So Julie Andrews earned more money from the sales of the 'original soundtrack recording' album than from her film salary.
Unfortunately, her second film for Robert Wise - 'Star!' - was a box-office disappointment despite her bravura performance as British music hall star Gertrude Lawrence.
Julie Andrews has been quoted as saying her roles in 'Mary Poppins' and 'The Sound of Music' have made people think she is a 'square' - well, what's wrong with that?