The Religious Affiliation of Actress
Julie Andrews was born and raised near London. Her first marriage took place in an Anglican church. Despite these facts, there is little indication that she was even nominally Anglican. Robert Windeler's biography of Julie Andrews states the only prayers she ever says are cursory ones before going out on stage, and that she had "no religious upbringing whatsoever." However, as an adult, Julie Andrews did find a religion, as she became a devout convert to Freudian psychoanalysis.
From: Robert Windeler, Julie Andrews: A Biography, St. Martin's Press: New York (1983), page 13:
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, eighteen miles south of London, on 1 October 1935.
Windeler, pages 9-10:
...before she was thirty, Julie Andrews was the best-loved, highest-paid entertainer in the world... At the peak of her fame she was unhappy enough to submit to daily psychoanalysis in an attempt to overcome the insecurities brought on by a grim Second World War childhood and 'to purge oneself of guilt for suddenly having been given so much'. After five years of analysis, she felt she had done that. She married [Blake] Edwards and said, 'For the first time in my life I was truly happy.'
Windeler, page 25:
Christmas pantomimes in London [which Julie Andrews appeared in while growing up] were much more fun thtn touring in vaudeville, which was 'on its last legs when I came on the scene. I mostly sang bastardized versions of operatic areas.' In 'pantos' however, 'I was always the principal girl who was rather wet and makes goo-goo eyes at Our Hero and gets him in the end.' She was Princess Balroulbadour in Aladdin, and played the title role in Cinderella. During Humpty Dumpty at the London Casino, when she was thirteen and playing the egg ('very Freudian'), Julie met Tony Walton [who would many later years become her first husband]...
Windeler, page 26:
'As a young girl she bottled up her feelings, like the trooper she is,' said her real father, Ted Wells, 'and got on with the business of living. But then, nearly a quarter of a century later, all the pent-up unhappiness of that period suddenly caught up with her -- so she sought the advice of a psychoanalyst.'
...on May 1959, during a three-week vacation from My Fair Lady, Julie Andrews married Tony Walton at St Mary's village church in Oatlands, Weybridge, Surrey.
Windeler, page 114:
To get those answers Julie went into five-day-a-week psychoanalysis for the five years, form 1963-1968, which represented the peak of her career. 'It is the only decision,' she said, 'that I have ever made, totally, 100 per cent. It was also the wisest.' For years after, she went back to analysts for 'refresher courses'.
Windeler, pages 128-129:
Blake [Edwards, who Julie Andrews began dating seriously after her separation and divorce from her first husband] was himself in five-days-a-week psychoanalysis -- in his case it lasted for seven years -- and he encouraged Julie's sessions with the analyst. She had also been influenced strongly towards it by John Calley and by a London friend, Masud Khan, Svetlana Beriosovo's husband, himself a psychiatrist. 'One day I just did it,' Julie recalled. 'I rang up everybody I knew who had a psychiatrist and asked who would be good.'
At first she tried to keep her analysis a secret. Julie told co-workers on The Sound of Music and Hawaii not to say anything about it, for fear her mother would find out. Eventually, of course, Mrs Andrews did find out, and she pronounced the whole psychiatric profession and Julie's alleged needs of its services 'bloody nonsense. You understand, we still looked on them as quacks in England.'
Julie's friend Elsie Giorgi, a medical doctor and dissatisfied subject of analysis, was equally sceptical. 'In analysis she has become a student of it, rather than a patient,' Dr Giorgi said. 'I sometimes wonder who's treating whom. Julie was great intuition, as well as a great intellectual curiosity about everything, and I think this is just one more thing she's learning about.'
But Julie, who has no religious upbringing whatsoever (her only prayers were just before going on stage: 'Oh, God, don't let me fall on my face'), proved to be a zealous convert to psychoanalysis. 'I'm only beginning to crystallize the bits and pieces of my life,' she said, 'and analysis helps. I think I'd have beena rotten mother without analysis. I do have phobias, and there's no doubt about it. I have enormous phobias about singing, stemming from the Broadway days when I was trotted out every night and was pretty much mixed up.
'Some of the neurotic ideosyncracies of worry about my throast during the Broadway run of My Fair Lady really hung me up. I was in an absolute tizzy. I got phobias and complexes and everyghing else. The same was also true of Star!...'
Windeler, pages 131-132:
With The Sound of Music secure as the new box office champion of the world, and an Oscar to certify her acting ability, Julie's only professional problem was 'that I'll be considered the nanny of all time'. There was nothing to do but marry Jesus in New England and go to Hawaii on a long honeymoon -- and do it all for a real movie-star price, $400,000.
Max von Sydow, the Swedish actor who had played Christ in George Stevens's The Greatest Story Ever Told, was cast as a Fundamentalist missionary who hopes to convert the Polynesian natives in Hawaii to Christianity, in the film Hawaii. Julie was cast as his unwilling wife by an arranged marriage. The story, based on a third of James Michener's rambling novel of the same name, appealed to Julie, who was anxious to try another straight, non-musical character.
'Oh, marvellous publicity -- can't you see it?' she chortled just before the start of shooting. 'Marry Poppins married Jesus. Gorgeous! She must have flown up to him and said, "Listen, with my magic and your talent, we'd make a great team. I can fly. You can walk on water. What more do we need?" Actually, come to think about it, who else could Mary Poppins have married? It's the clasic mother and father image for our children.'
About Torn Curtain, in which Julie Andrews starred, from: Windeler, page 138:
For the first time in her life on stage or screen, Julie was playing a contemporary woman, Sarah Sherman, a secretary-mistress to an American scientist [played by Paul Newman], who has supposedly defected to the Communists... The movie opens with Julie and Newman, who are not married and not contemplating it, in bed together, albeit far from nude.
This was a shock to many admirers of the Mary Poppins image, and entirely unacceptable to the National Roman Catholic Office for Motion Pictures, the successor to the Legion of Decency, which condemned the picture as 'morally objectionable in part or all', for its 'gratuitous introduction of pre-marital sex between its sympathetic protagonists'. The Catholic Office also said that the movie's 'detailed treatment of a realistically brutal killing [was] questionable on moral ground', and concluded with a warning: 'Parents should b aware that the "Marry Poppins" image of the female lead (Julie Andrews), shattered in this film, can not serve as any criterion of the film's acceptability for their children.'
Julie, of course, took a different view. 'As it was necessary to the story to establish our close relationship, I saw no harm in it,' she said.
The final page from Windeler's biography about Julie Andrews. Windeler, page 206:
After twelve years of her second marriage and her expanded family life, Julie's priorities were clear at last. While she would undoubtedly continue to make forays into the show-business world that had been with her literally her whole life, she said, 'I certainly wouldn't compare the rewards of watching one's children grow up and mature with that of money piling up at the box office. Both are pleasant, but to varying degrees.
'As the old saying goes, you can't take the audience home with you. You can't depend on the loyalty of fans, who, after all is said and done, are just faceless people one seldom sees. And few stars have their fans forever. But a child is forever; that bond and relationship is timeless and doesn't depend on your looks, age or popularity at the moment.'
Webpage created 31 July 2005. Last modified 2 August 2005.
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