Today, our Queen Julie Andrews turns 85 years old. I feel so stupidly lucky that her birthday falls on a Thursday this year so that I have a completely acceptable reason to make a puzzle that centers wholly around Julie, which every puzzle should probably do though even I can see how that could maaayybbee alienate some solvers. If you don't love Julie Andrews, I kind of don't know where you've been and I also have some pretty serious questions about your taste. I'm tempted to write a short biography here in this post, but instead I'll just choose to point out some highlights from Julie's career that are worth celebrating:
- Born October 1, 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
- Made her professional solo debut at the London Hippodrome singing the aria "Je suis Titania" from Mignon as part of a musical revue called "Starlight Roof"
- At age 13, she became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance before King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the London Palladium
- Appeared on the West End in the London Casino, where she played one year each as Princess Badroulbadour in Aladdin and the egg in Humpty Dumpty in 1949
- In 1954, on the eve of her 19th birthday, she made her Broadway debut playing Polly Brown in The Boyfriend. Near the end of this contract, she auditioned for and got her role in My Fair Lady
- During her run of My Fair Lady, she was cast by Richard Rodgers to star in the TV version of Cinderella, for which she was nominated for an Emmy
- 1960 cast in Camelot
- 1963: cast as the titular Mary Poppins. She then got pregnant, but Walt Disney told her he would wait for her to give birth so she could play the role (QUEEN!) PS: she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe. In an acceptance speech, she thanked Jack Warner, who had chosen to cast Audrey Hepburn in the My Fair Lady film over her, freeing her up to play Mary Poppins.
- 1965: cast as Maria in the film version of The Sound of Music, which remains the third highest grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation)
- In 2000, Julie Andrews was made a 9-Across (see puzzle) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts.
- There are honestly too many other films, TV shows/appearances, books written, and achievements to list ("Julie's Greenroom" on Netflix is very cute, by the way), but I encourage you to check them out for yourself. YouTube also has a host of incredible things to watch. Her career has been truly insane.
- In short, Julie Andrews is a treasure and quite possibly the best human ever to live.
I hope you enjoy the puzzle, and please feel free to share with me all the ways that you are celebrating this blessed day of Julie's birth. Also, in case you missed it, a pack of Musical Theater Midis that I wrote are now available in the NYT crossword app! Happy solving! 🎭🧩