For Dame Julie Andrews, June 9 was an evening of getting to enjoy more than a few of her favorite things.
The iconic star of “The Sound of Music,” “Mary Poppins” and many other projects added a major accolade to her Oscar, two Emmys, three Grammys and numerous other honors with — after a two-year delay, due to the coronavirus pandemic — her receipt of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Shown earlier on TNT, the ceremony will be presented by Turner Classic Movies on Friday, in an all-Andrews night that also includes her films “Victor/Victoria” and “The Americanization of Emily.”
“I’ve loved watching them,” the ever-gracious Andrews said of previous Life Achievement Award specials. “I’m very honored, and I know what it’s all about. It’s a very important evening for (AFI); all the proceeds go to their education programs, so it’s both worthy and wonderful.”
Those praising Andrews at her AFI celebration included Carol Burnett — her longtime “chum,” who presented the award to her; Steve Carell, whose “mother” Andrews voices in animated movies including the new “Minions: The Rise of Gru”; Bo Derek, of “10,” which Andrews also starred in for her filmmaker husband, Blake Edwards; Hector Elizondo, an Andrews colleague in the “Princess Diaries” movies; self-confessed Andrews super-fan Gwen Stefani; and the surviving actors who played the von Trapp children to Andrews’ Maria in “The Sound of Music.”
“The 48th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Julie Andrews” — in which the honoree reunites with actors who played von Trapp children in “The Sound of Music” — will be presented Friday on Turner Classic Movies. (Getty Images)
Biographical segments are spaced throughout the special, and Andrews reflected, “It’s just stunning to me that (my career has) gone this long, and that I seem to have done so much over the years. I realized, ‘Wow, I really did work very hard for a while!’ I learned a lot from just watching others and picking up on things.”
Andrews divides memories of her career among her professional times in London, on Broadway and in Hollywood: “Those were all the learning curves, really … and how lucky can a girl get, to be given all those opportunities?”
While she’s keeping busy by writing a third memoir, creating more children’s books with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton and voicing Lady Whistledown on the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” Andrews is pleased TCM also is showcasing a couple of her movies along with the AFI program.
She says “The Americanization of Emily” has “the most wonderful script, by Paddy Chayefsky, and I was so happy I was given the chance to do it. I didn’t think I could.” James Garner starred again with Andrews in “Victor/Victoria,” also directed by her husband Edwards, and she remembers the actor as “a great friend. We worked together three times, and they were all pleasures to do because of him.”