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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Julie Andrews
Aired December 26, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the one, the only Julie Andrews. Will one of the great voices ever, ever sing again? The legendary Julie Andrews for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One thing can be said about Julie Andrews. When she enters the room, the room is improved. And it's always great to have her with us. Julie Andrews, the Academy Award-winning actress and singer, author of children's books, the latest of which is called "Simeon's Gift" -- it came out last month. She's also going to be doing another -- a follow-up to her hit movie, "The Princess Diaries." The new movie set -- that comes out September of 2004. The new book is out of behind the scenes of Simon on Broadway (ph). And this was from a lady who supposedly had given up the -- what happened to retirement?
JULIE ANDREWS: I don't know. You tell me, Larry. You're just as bad as I am.
KING: They're going to drag us off, right?
ANDREWS: That's right. As you said a little while ago, it beats work.
KING: Are you doing any singing?
ANDREWS: No. I'm not.
ANDREWS: Can't. And actually, have never been so busy in my life. I seem to have opened up all these new doors, and I'm thrilled.
KING: Explain. Are you surprised at this?
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) first thing we thought of with Julie Andrews was singer.
ANDREWS: I know. I know.
ANDREWS: But I've been writing books for 30 years now, Larry, and I guess what's happening is it's all just gathering as I get a little older and become more passionate about it.
KING: Let's break down. First, "Simeon's Gift." This is a collection? You're doing a collection of...
ANDREWS: It's the Julie Andrews collection, which debuted in the fall. And it's the first of a series of books that I'll producing in- house with Harper Collins.
KING: All on the same theme?
ANDREWS: No, not at all. I have a mandate to produce up to eight books, ten books a year, if I wish. And I'm doing it with my daughter, whom I believe you spoke to the last time I was on.
KING: Sure did. Emma.
ANDREWS: Emma, that's right. And she's the editorial director of the imprint. An imprint is really an in-house production.
KING: It's your imprint for Harper Collins.
ANDREWS: That's right. Yes.
KING: They did a beautiful job for you.
ANDREWS: They've done a...
KING: The book is beautifully done.
ANDREWS: Isn't it lovely? Yes. I'm very, very pleased with it. We've got four books coming out this particular part of the year, and then there'll be about six to eight next year.
KING: What is the key to writing for children?
ANDREWS: If I knew that, I'd be doing a lot more. I think a rattling good adventure, perhaps some humor. I'm learning on my feet as I go, Larry. It's great fun. I'm just going with my gut instinct as to what I loved as a child. We're not only doing books written by me or by my daughter or by us together, we're also bringing in new authors.
ANDREWS: We're bringing back books that might be worthy of reconsideration that are out of print.
KING: All children's books.
KING: Is -- if it's not a secret, you can't write down to it, though, right?
ANDREWS: No, you cannot. And I try...
KING: You can't say -- this is, Hello, Dick, screams, you know, right?
ANDREWS: Well, it depends what age you're writing for. And our imprint is for all children, from, oh, 18 months to young adults. But we've got novels coming out. We've got picture books coming out. And it's the most tremendous fun. I'm just loving this new work.
KING: Now, interesting marketing device. Rather than having separate audiotape, you provide a read of the book with the book.
ANDREWS: Yes. In some cases, we do. Well, in a way, I think that this not singing that I'm doing at the moment is -- it's another way of introducing music to children, keeping in with the music myself, doing all the things I love and I'm passionate about. It's all kind of coming under one heading.
KING: Since this is December -- you're so associated with Christmas. Do you write any Christmas books?
ANDREWS: We have. You know, the Dumpy collection that I do?
KING: Oh, yes.
ANDREWS: The little dump truck book. I think I gave a couple to Chance and Cannon last time I was here. We have a "Dumpy Saves Christmas," which is actually last year's book, but of course, it's reissued again this year. We have "Dumpy and the Firefighters," which is out at the moment. We have a beautiful book that's come out called "Grateful," which is again packaged with a CD, and it's just a timeless anthem about the power of gratitude.
KING: Do you think your association with Christmas is due to "My Favorite Things"? That's so wintry a song.
ANDREWS: Yes, it's wonderful. It might well be, but I think I've done lot of Christmas specials in my life. I just think everyone associates with Christmas, in terms of coming together, in terms of -- you know, to be really hokey, in terms of love and goodwill.
KING: That's a great song to sing, "My Favorite Things," isn't it?
ANDREWS: It is. Yes, it is.
KING: It's so beautifully...
ANDREWS: But it's got such imagery, you know?
KING: Yes, you feel -- you feel cold when you sing it.
ANDREWS: It's true. It's true.
(VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE SOUND OF MUSIC") KING: Do you miss singing?
ANDREWS: Yes, very much. I miss singing with an orchestra because that's the most uplifting thing that I ever knew. It is just such a fabulous feeling.
KING: Miss Broadway?
ANDREWS: Yes, to a degree, although these days, it would maybe take an awful lot of my time and...
KING: What do you mean?
ANDREWS: Well, I mean, I could probably do a play if I found something that really turned me on, but I think you have to be there for a while, and I'm so wonderfully busy these days with so many different...
KING: I want to get to...
ANDREWS: ... projects.
KING: ... all the things. Explain to me, without being too technical, why you can't sing.
ANDREWS: Simply -- although I'm not supposed to really...
KING: At least you can talk.
ANDREWS: ... talk about it because I can talk. Singing is different. Singing...
KING: I know there was a lawsuit, right. I mean, there are certain things you...
ANDREWS: Yes. And I can't speak about...
KING: ... can't say.
ANDREWS: ... it too much. But technically...
KING: Technically, why can't you sing?
ANDREWS: ... a piece of my vocal cords was taken away. So instead of the vocal cords coming together, I get a kind of fried sound, and there are certain notes that just don't appear. They don't come...
KING: In other words, you couldn't sing the note.
ANDREWS: No, I couldn't sing the note. And I try to go up a certain way, and then it's finished.
KING: It affect speech at all?
ANDREWS: As I said... KING: A little raspiness.
ANDREWS: ... earlier, I can do a great rendition of "Old Man River," and it -- in a bass voice, and it wouldn't sound too bad. But as I -- I couldn't sing any of my old stuff. At least, not at the moment. But I'm still optimistic. You never know.
KING: Life is funny.
ANDREWS: It is.
KING: The most shocking thing is when you realized you couldn't sing, right? That had to be a terrible moment.
ANDREWS: It was a bad year, a very bad year. But it's...
KING: Did you try? Did you...
ANDREWS: Oh, my God. Did I try! You know, I went to see wonderful people, and I still am and -- but I'm beginning to be more reconciled about it, and I'm certainly having a ball right now.
KING: Do they still treat you? I mean, is there medication...
ANDREWS: Well, they still...
KING: ... is there...
ANDREWS: ... decap (ph) me from time to time. They go down and have a look and things like that. There's not much that can be done until they find some kind of magical substance that might perhaps help fill that gap up in the cords, so the cords could be...
KING: Like an appendage.
ANDREWS: Yes. Well, a little bit like that, yes.
KING: All right, what's "Simeon's Gift" about?
ANDREWS: "Simeon's Gift" is really -- it's about a musician who -- in the Middle Ages, who goes out to find his muse. It's really about creativity and the balancing of knowledge versus inspiration and...
KING: Where'd you get the idea?
ANDREWS: It's something that Emma and I -- when she was very young and her father and I were separated and she would visit him for the summer holidays, I would sometimes send her with a little story that I'd written for her or that we had written together, and then her dad, who's a wonderful illustrator, would fill in with the illustrations. And it started off that way. Needless to say, this particular book, these illustrations, are not by her dad, although a lot of my other books are. But when my publisher said, Do you have anything else in your package of goodies? And I said, Well, there's an old, old story that Emma and I did together when she was very young. We reworked it and came up...
KING: It's a story you used to tell to Emma?
KING: When she was a child.
ANDREWS: Yes. Yes, and...
KING: You're still friendly with your ex-husband, I gather.
ANDREWS: Very. I mean, he does all the Dumpy books for us, and really...
KING: And Blake doesn't mind.
ANDREWS: No, he doesn't. I mean...
KING: A little pause there.
ANDREWS: A little, slight pause, but I think, when all is said and done, he's so enamored of the books that, you know, he doesn't mind.
KING: He's so funny anyway.
ANDREWS: Oh, well. If he minds, it's done with enormous humor.
KING: Julie Andrews is our guest. Back with more right after this.
(CLIP FROM "ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "THE PRINCESS DIARIES")
ANDREWS: This was my very first tiara. I was rather fond of it. I'm hoping you will be, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Grandma, but you -- you had it all ready. How did you know I'd even be here?
ANDREWS: Because I recognize the same spirit in you as someone else I knew.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It's always a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE when Julie Andrews visits, and she's visiting with us tonight and it's a great pleasure to have her with us. And there's going to be a "Princess Diaries" sequel?
ANDREWS: Oh, yes.
KING: That movie did over $100 million...
KING: ... and no one expected that, right?
KING: It came out of nowhere.
ANDREWS: It's the magic of Garry Marshal, our director, and he just...
KING: Great director.
ANDREWS: ... patched it all together. He's wonderful.
KING: Are you shooting now?
ANDREWS: Yes, we are. We are going to be finished in about late February.
KING: What are we calling it?
ANDREWS: I don't know. We're just calling it "Princess Diaries 2" at the moment.
KING: "Son of Princess Diaries."
ANDREWS: Well, not quite.
KING: "Daughter of"...
ANDREWS: No, I think "Son of" comes from further down in the series, maybe. But it's "Princess Diaries 2," at the moment.
KING: You reinvent -- you come back as your same part?
ANDREWS: Oh, yes. Queen Clarice in the...
KING: What's the idea of part 2?
ANDREWS: This is really the further adventures or the misadventures of Princess Mia and all the trouble she gets into in her new country, that she has to marry to accede to the throne and -- to ascend the throne, I should say, and that she doesn't want to marry and the rules should be changed. And I have such fun with this character, though, because she's such a wacky, far-out lady.
KING: Does he let you play with it, Mr. Marshall?
ANDREWS: Yes. He certainly does, and invites one's input. And it's just -- working with him is just a sheer joy. KING: He's funny.
ANDREWS: Oh, funny!
KING: Were you surprised that...
ANDREWS: And joyous every day. I mean, you go to work, and it's just playing.
KING: That's nice.
ANDREWS: It is.
KING: Were you surprised at its success?
ANDREWS: Not after I'd seen it.
KING: But when you got the script.
ANDREWS: Received the script and thought, Fine. This will maybe make a charming movie. By then the time Garry had finished with it, it was like a funny, charming, delightful movie. And he just keeps layering and layering.
KING: Do you like acting?
ANDREWS: Yes, I do. I'm beginning to think that I like the behind-the-scenes work as much as I do in front of the camera, as I get a little bit older.
KING: You mean, you want to produce?
ANDREWS: I wouldn't want mind trying.
KING: Why do you like it?
ANDREWS: Because it seems to -- you know, as you get a little bit older, you have all these -- you have so much baggage that comes along with you. And I don't mean bad baggage, I mean good. You get all these wonderful things from your youth, and you remember this and you remember that and you have an instinct. And somehow, they're all coming together in the books. And I directed this past summer in Long Island for my daughter's theater, for Emma's theater.
KING: You directed a play?
ANDREWS: I had a ball. I directed "The Boy Friend," the musical, "The Boy Friend."
ANDREWS: And it was a joy. So yes, I love acting, and I just love anything to do with the theater, I guess is what it boils down to, and film.
KING: Is there the same kind of rewards backstage? ANDREWS: Yes.
KING: You don't hear the applause.
ANDREWS: But you do, and you see wonderful results from a cast that -- if you can make a slight difference in someone's performance, you can give back, really, is what it boils down to.
KING: Would you like to come to Broadway, direct something?
ANDREWS: Love to. Yes. Love to.
KING: Is "Boy Friend" going to be revived?
ANDREWS: There's talk of it. There's talk of that particular production coming to Broadway.
KING: The only thing, as a director, you couldn't sing for them, right?
ANDREWS: Well, as I say, I use my bass voice and I kind of explain what I wanted and mapped it out. And it worked.
KING: The director is really in charge most in film, though, isn't he? Because in stage, once the curtain is drawn...
ANDREWS: Well, once the curtain goes up, they're on their own. But before then, there's an enormous amount that a director can do. And I do think that, in terms of singing a lyric, making sense of a song, making sense of a line, having the right cadence, things like that, there's a lot of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: So you like projects.
ANDREWS: Love it, yes.
KING: Did you think, when the voice wasn't there, in that terrible year, that you'd be doing none of this? Did you think you were out of the business?
ANDREWS: Yes. I thought, Well, I guess retirement is on the books, and here's what's happening. But I truly -- two things happened. I never really gave up hope. And as I say, I'm still somewhere optimistic, not wildly so, but I'm not putting it to bed yet. And then the other thing is, is that, you know, all these other things have come up. And I might not have embraced them, Larry, if that hadn't happened.
KING: Sure. Some things are...
ANDREWS: So what -- I wonder what...
KING: If this didn't happen...
ANDREWS: ... I'm meant to learn out of all this, you know?
KING: And I was saying to you, it was not a nodule?
ANDREWS: No, it was not a nodule. Particularly, Broadway singers or singers who slap minute pieces of vocal cord together -- I mean, the cords are so tiny, people who slap those together at tremendous pressure eight times a week in a show for a very long run, you build up a kind of muscular tissue, almost a striation in the tissue, and it can be hardened. And eventually, it builds a lot of strength. It's like a runner running -- or a high jumper on his knees, and they get really strong.
KING: Like exercise. Your muscles.
ANDREWS: Yes. But eventually, if you did it to an enormous degree, they would get a kind of hardening of the tissue around the area. And that's what happens. It wasn't a nodule, and wasn't cancer, which a lot of people...
KING: Was this supposed to be simple surgery, by the way?
ANDREWS: Yes. Yes.
KING: In, out?
ANDREWS: Well, in, out by -- yes, out the same day. Yes.
KING: Really? What a tragedy. But in a sense, life ain't bad, huh?
ANDREWS: Life is very, very good and...
KING: Was Blake very supportive?
ANDREWS: Tremendously so. In fact, I think he was -- visually, he was more upset than I was. I think I went into a kind of slow mourning for a while, but I mean, maybe -- maybe I'm meant to learn something from all of this. Who knows?
KING: The new book, "Simeon's Gift," one of many, written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. She'll back again in part two -- we don't know the title yet -- of "The Princess Diaries." It'll be out the summer of next year. We're going to talk about her relationship with Carol Burnett, lots of other things, and also how Julie Andrews came upon the scene. It's mostly forgotten that it was "My Fair Lady" that brought her to Broadway. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - 1955)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julie Andrews of "Mary Poppins"!
UNIDENTIFIED: Julie Andrews played opposite Rex Harrison in the stage version of "My Fair Lady." Passed over for the movie role, she played "Mary Poppins" and parlayed the part of that bouncy governess into tonight's triumph. As Bob Hope put it, Hollywood is handing out foreign aid. Both winners are British.
ANDREWS: Oh, this is lovely! I know you Americans are famous for your hospitality, but this is really ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a year of many outstanding movies, it was a chore to pick the winners. The night of the Oscars was a huge success.
(CLIP FROM "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW")
KING: We're back with Julie Andrews. I said "My Fair Lady" brought her to Broadway. "The Boy Friend" brought her to Broadway. "My Fair Lady" brought her incredible success on Broadway. Who -- did someone see you in England to bring you over to do "Boy Friend"?
ANDREWS: Yes. You know, I was one of those child brats that performed in Vaudeville. My parents were in Vaudeville, in musical. And I would tour with them and had a couple of wonderfully lucky breaks in England. But I'd been touring endlessly in England, and they were bringing over a completely new company for "The Boy Friend." "Boy Friend" had run in London as a wonderful little piece of lace. And then they wanted a completely new company for the Broadway production.
KING: Was it a hit?
ANDREWS: Huge hit in London, which is why they did not bring the original London company but cast a fresh company for Broadway.
KING: And was it a hit in New York?
ANDREWS: Oh, huge, absolutely huge.
KING: How you -- did you get "My Fair Lady," the almost perfect show...
KING: ... maybe not one wrong thing.
ANDREWS: I think I would say, actually, the perfect show. That and a few others, but certainly, one of the top...
KING: Nothing missed.
ANDREWS: Nothing -- nothing missed. It was great and beautifully written, beautiful music, beautiful book. But I'll digress as quickly as I can. When I first came to Broadway in "The Boy Friend," I was very homesick and very scared about leaving my house and leaving home, terrible separation anxiety from England, for many reasons. And I said, I cannot sign a two-year contract, which is what they wanted. Let me sign one year. And I thought that would be the end of it, they wouldn't take me. Everybody else signed a two- year contract. And to my great surprise, the producers of "The Boy Friend" said, No, one year's just fine. We'd like to have you. So suddenly, there I was, coming to Broadway for the very first time.
KING: You were how old?
ANDREWS: I'd just turned 19 the day after we opened. And I played in "The Boy Friend" for a year, was about to go home. About two weeks prior to my returning to England, I received a phone call from a man called Dick Lamar (ph), and he said, I represent two people, Mr. Lerner and Mr. Loewe, and they are writing a musical based on Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion." And could you just answer one question? How long a contract do you have in "The Boy Friend"? And I said, Well, I'm going to home in two weeks. And he said, Oh, my God. Everybody thought you'd have a two-year contract, like everyone else. And I said to the fellows, Lerner and Loewe, Listen, I'll pick up the phone and ask her. It'll only cost a dime. And there I was, available to audition, and mercifully and happily, joyously got the role.
KING: Did many audition?
ANDREWS: For "My Fair Lady"? I know that long before I came onto the scene, Mary Martin had been considered for it. And I think -- I could be wrong. I think she wasn't enamored of the role, for some reason.
KING: Cockney? Too Cockney?
ANDREWS: I don't really know. But it just didn't appeal to her. And after that, I don't know how many they saw. I don't think they saw anybody but me.
KING: But you said you wanted to go home.
KING: Is it that you liked "Fair Lady" so much?
ANDREWS: No, I went home for a while and then found myself about three months later winging back to Broadway again. And of course, this time, I knew more people. I had more friends.
KING: Rex Harrison easy to work with?
ANDREWS: No! No, but mercurial and talented and...
KING: Couldn't sing, but...
ANDREWS: Couldn't sing but did such phenomenal things. I would find myself on stage with him, standing, almost forgetting that I was supposed to be Eliza, just mesmerized by the way he could control an audience and deliver a line and be different on certain nights.
KING: What was "My Fair Lady's" opening night like?
ANDREWS: Well, there were two, one in New York and one in London. The one in New York, I recall being -- I personally felt like a prizefighter that's been gotten ready for a great, great fight in Las Vegas.
KING: They did it first in London?
ANDREWS: No, they did it first on Broadway. We went first out of town, and the out-of-town opening was another thing altogether. That was in a huge thunderstorm and a snowstorm and...
KING: In New Haven?
ANDREWS: In New Haven. And people came down in droves, and Rex said he wouldn't go on, and then he did go on and -- but the opening night on Broadway was that -- being as ready as you'll ever be to do something incredible.
KING: I don't think there'll ever be reviews like that again. I mean, that was front page, almost.
ANDREWS: Well, it was. But you know, there are still some wonderful musicals out there.
KING: Oh. Mel Brooks -- did you like "The Producers"?
ANDREWS: Yes. Exactly. That's the kind of magnitude of the kind of hit that "Fair Lady" was.
KING: How disappointed that you didn't get the film? It turned out to be lucky. Things turn out to be lucky for you. You get didn't get the movie...
ANDREWS: I know. See...
KING: So you get "Mary Poppins."
ANDREWS: Yes, that's right.
KING: If you'd have done the movie, you couldn't have done "Mary Poppins."
ANDREWS: That's right. Yes. Audrey turned out to be a great friend of mine, Audrey Hepburn, and she said to me once, Julie, you should have done it, but I didn't have the guts to turn it down. And we got to be good chums. And I understand why she was cast. They needed a name in those days. I was just on Broadway.
KING: And Rex was not a film name.
ANDREWS: Well, he was in that he'd done "Anna and the King of Siam," and...
KING: But he was not...
ANDREWS: "Anne of the Thousand Days." I'm sorry.
KING: He was not "rush to the box office" Rex Harrison.
ANDREWS: Not -- no.
KING: And Audrey was. ANDREWS: Not by today's standards. And Audrey was and -- but he was pretty well known as an international star, and I was not.
KING: Who sang for Audrey?
ANDREWS: Marnie Nixon.
KING: Marnie Nixon. Who's the famous -- sing for other people.
ANDREWS: The famous, famous lady, yes, with the most beautiful voice.
KING: She could sing.
ANDREWS: Certainly, she could.
KING: What did you feel, like watching "My Fair Lady"? I mean, that was your role.
ANDREWS: You know, Larry, I can't say that I minded because I did have "Poppins." Three months later, Disney said, Would you like to do "Mary Poppins"? And I mean, that's just a gift, so how could I be upset, really? And it's the way it was.
KING: Yes, because you watched this movie, a part you made famous, but "Mary Poppins" did better than "My Fair Lady."
ANDREWS: Well, I don't know...
KING: Box office did better.
ANDREWS: I guess it did.
KING: Oh, it did.
KING: "Mary Poppins" was one of the all-time great hits.
ANDREWS: Certainly, Disney seemed very happy about it.
KING: You worked with Dick van Dyke.
KING: Who should get a Kennedy Center honor.
ANDREWS: Yes, he should. Thank you for mentioning it.
KING: We'll be back with Julie Andrews. Don't go away.
(CLIP FROM "MARY POPPINS")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREWS: Baby, jazz hot, may be what's holdin' my soul together, don't know whether it's morning or night, only know it's soundin' right, so come on in and play me, le jazz hot, baby, 'cause I love my jazz hot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Julie Andrews is with us. Lots of other things to talk about. The book is "Simeon's Gift." That's out now. You'll see her again in "The Princess Diaries." Will you direct again next summer for your daughter?
ANDREWS: I'm hoping to, yes or certainly if "The Boyfriend" goes to Broadway.
KING: And there'll be other books?
ANDREWS: There'll be lots of other books.
KING: Now if "The Boyfriend" goes to Broadway, you'll direct on Broadway?
KING: What's your relationship with Carol Burnett?
ANDREWS: Oh, my God. We're the best chums. We have been chums for so many years, it's ridiculous.
KING: Did it start by appearing on her show?
ANDREWS: Yes, it did. Actually, it started just before that. A great friend, a mutual friend of ours said, "you two are going to love each other" which is usually the kiss of death and we got together and Carol describes it as two kids who suddenly discovered that they live on the same block and fall in love and that's it.
KING: True, you were supposed to do a project together this year?
ANDREWS: Yes. We're hoping to do it next year.
KING: What kind of project?
ANDREWS: We plan to do another television show. And, it just unfortunately, our joint timing --
KING: A comedy?
ANDREWS: No. We were going to do one of those Carol and Julie -- remember we did "Carol and Julie" at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center.
KING: But you sang in those?
ANDREWS: Yes. This would have been more a retrospective plot, some added stuff.
KING: What is it like working with her?
ANDREWS: It's like playing in the same sand box together. She brings out the best and worst in me in that I become more ridiculous, funnier, bawdier with Carol around. I don't know what it is but we somehow spur each other on to greater and greater excesses and have a great time.
KING: Back to "Mary Poppins." When you got that script, did you like it right away?
ANDREWS: Yes. I'll tell you what I loved. I mentioned that I was raised in vaudeville and musicals. There was a kind of...
KING: Musical atmosphere.
ANDREWS: Yes, there was. You could sense it in the song. "The Chimney Sweeps" and "Jolly Holiday" and all that, "Supercalifragilistic."
KING: "Spoonful of Sugar."
ANDREWS: Yes and I instantly -- I didn't -- I thought, yes.
KING: Had you ever known -- did you know Dick before working with him?
ANDREWS: No, no. But God, we were rehearsing a whole late summer out in the heat of the valley under -- overhangs and my God, it was hot. We bonded very quickly.
KING: Boy, did that work and that great hint of a romance.
ANDREWS: Just a -- I think Mary Poppins had a secret life, you know.
KING: Do you?
ANDREWS: Yes, I do. I tell you why I know. First of all, I know because I was and am and secondly, my ex-spouse, who so beautifully illustrates some of our books, Sir Walter, did the sets and costumes mostly for "Mary Poppins" and he said, you know, beneath her very formal exterior, if you pull up the lining of the jacket or something, you'll see a bright, bright color.
The petticoats are a little lively and he said, "I think Mary Poppins had a kind of second life that not many people knew about. And just if you see a flash of her leg or a kick of her petticoat, you'll know."
KING: Do they ever want to do a follow-up to it?
ANDREWS: Yes, they did. And I think they're still talking about it. As a matter of fact, I've now heard that Cameron Mackintosh in London is doing a musical of it. A theater musical. KING: Should have been.
ANDREWS: Yes. It's perfect for it.
KING: You can't beat the music. You like the music right away?
ANDREWS: Yes, yes, absolutely. You couldn't not love it.
KING: Were you surprised at how big a hit that was?
ANDREWS: Yes. Very surprised. I mean, you always hope but you don't go in hoping to make a failure but you always hope you've got something good but I had no idea it was going to be that big.
KING: Was Walt alive then?
ANDREWS: Yes. He would down and sit on the set and pop in from time to time.
KING: What was he like?
ANDREWS: He was -- what -- I described him once as being rather twinkly. He had a little twinkle in his eye.
KING: He was a boy, right?
ANDREWS: Yes. He was forever young is the best description of him. He had a wonderful train set in his garden that he actually rode around on, in his private garden. He took me to see Disneyland, personally took me to see Disneyland which was a wonderful event and he would -- he had a phenomenal talent for people. For spotting good people. He, you know, he discovered so many people. If you think about it. He did so many wonderful things in terms of all kinds of talent.
KING: But he had all that fame for cartoons and then suddenly, he had all this success with real people.
ANDREWS: Yes. And now, look at him. My God, it's a vast, vast world of Disney.
KING: Were you part of the marketing of "Mary Poppins," when the dolls -- did you get a piece of that?
ANDREWS: You know, I don't know. I actually don't know. Probably not. Because it wasn't until "Poppins" was a big hit and "Sound of Music" -- that -- it's after you've made them and after you've signed those contracts that that kind of success gets solidified and then you're able to ask for things like that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREWS: The hills are alive with the sound of music
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: The opening scene of "Sound of Music," that famous scene, maybe the most famous scene, how long did it take to shoot that scene? Was it in Austria?
ANDREWS: Yes, indeed it was. On the mountaintop. It was rather chilly between rain clouds. It took about, I'd say, a good half a day to two thirds of the day.
KING: Now, you'd already sung the song...
ANDREWS: No, no. You prerecord and then these huge, huge playback machines -- it's a crazy story, Larry. That big scene when I turn around with my arms extended was filmed from a helicopter. They swooped down on one end and I start walking from the other end of the field.
And as I spun around, they'd signal, we got the take and then the helicopter would take off and go back to one end and I'd go back to the other and we'd do it umpteen times just to be sure it was right.
And every time the helicopter swooped around me to go back to the other end of the field again the downdraft from the jet engines would just level me and flatten me to the ground. It was terribly strong and I kept asking them to make a wider circle around me so I wouldn't be -- I was getting grass, and mud, and dust and things like that.
KING: Did you enjoy that score?
ANDREWS: Yes, enormously. I mean, how could you not enjoy Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein?
KING: You didn't get to sing one of the best songs, though -- "Edelweiss."
ANDREWS: I think it's one of the best, yes. That's -- people ask me what's my favorite from that show. And it is "Edelweiss" and probably "Favorite Things" but "Edelweiss" is beautiful.
KING: Did Christopher Plummer sing it?
ANDREWS: He did all the prerecords and then eventually, he opted to have somebody else do his voice and whose name I'm ashamed to say escapes me.
KING: We'll talk about Richard Burton and "Camelot" in a moment and more about "Simeon's Gift" with Julie Andrews. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREWS: My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees, my heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a church on a breeze, to laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way, to sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray, I go to the hills...
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Julie Andrews, what a career. The new book, "Simeon's Gift," beautifully done. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin.
ANDREWS: Gennady Spirin.
KING: Male or female?
ANDREWS: He's a male. He is Russian. And he is the most wonderful artist.
KING: And written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. How did you find him?
ANDREWS: We were researching the kind of look for the book that we wanted. And stumbled upon his work which we'd known from other books that we'd seen. We said, if we ever got him we'd be lucky to have him, because he's one of the best in the field.
And the wonderful story about that is he accepted "Simeon's Gift" without knowing who Julie Andrews was.
KING: Didn't know you?
ANDREWS: Didn't know me. Didn't know who I was. He just loved the story and would like to illustrate it which was a tremendous boost for me. Then when he found out, he had to go get all the videos and find out who I was.
KING: Burton, first of all, "Camelot." How did you that come to you?
ANDREWS: Having done "My Fair Lady," knowing Lerner and Loewe and Moss Hart as I did, I think when they were going to be doing "Camelot," they said let's just use Julie for Guineviere.
KING: Did you want that movie?
ANDREWS: I was asked to do that movie. And, you know, I actually said no, and I'll tell you why. Because I had not gotten "My Fair Lady" and I thought that somehow it would be a terrible comparison between the two in some way. I just thought it wouldn't be a wise thing. I do not know why I said no, but I did.
KING: Ask Lerner and Loewe too.
KING: Richard Harris did the film?
ANDREWS: That's right. And Vanessa Redgrave.
KING: He was wonderful.
ANDREWS: He was wonderful.
KING: What was it like to work with Mr. Burton, Sir Burton? ANDREWS: Oh, phenomenal. Well, think about Rex Harrison and Richard Burton as your leading man. I learned more from those two gentlemen. I mean, one right after the other. They were incredible. Each equally talented. Each equally amazing on stage.
Richard would say, I'll make the audience laugh tonight in this speech and then in the same speech the next night he said, I think I'll make them cry tonight in this speech, and he did.
KING: Great voice.
ANDREWS: Phenomenal. I think that was the greatest talent that brilliant voice and his timing. And...
KING: And even though he couldn't sing, he could.
ANDREWS: Yes. No, he had a kind of Welsh, lovely Welsh lyrical sound to his voice. Rex couldn't really sing at all and talked, song- spoke through all the songs, but Richard had a kind of sound.
KING: Of course, your lover...
ANDREWS: Mr. Goulet.
KING: Robert Goulet could sing.
ANDREWS: Oh, could he ever. No, he sang, believe me.
KING: He was so thrilled to get that.
ANDREWS: He was young tenor from Canada. Came down. Got the role. And was the most devastatingly handsome fellow and still is.
KING: People forget, "Camelot" got mixed reviews, did it not?
ANDREWS: It did to start with, Larry, and then everybody, Moss and Allen and Fritz went away for three months to recuperate. They came back and reworked the play while I was on Broadway. We got fortunate enough to do an "Ed Sullivan Show." And we did excerpts from the play, really big excerpts and lo and behold, the next morning, we had a line around the block as if we just opened on Broadway.
KING: Did you like doing both film and plays? I mean, they're different right?
ANDREWS: They are different. Yes. I like it very much. I mean, the amazing thing is I get allowed to do all those things and it's just such a joy to be able to -- it's such a turn on to do so many different things.
KING: Do you like working with your husband?
ANDREWS: Yes. I mean, how could you not? We speak short hand. We laugh a lot. And he is so -- he has 100 ideas a week. And he's so amazingly creative. KING: And you did that Broadway musical based on his film? Which you turned down the Tony.
ANDREWS: Oh, "Victor/Victoria." Yes.
KING: You asked not to be considered?
ANDREWS: That's right.
KING: Or were you nominated?
ANDREWS: I was nominated and...
KING: Asked not to...
ANDREWS: Please don't...
KING: Because no one else in the cast, right?
ANDREWS: Not only not the cast, but not the production design, not the score, not the choreography. And it was a phenomenal show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREWS: I have searched my conscience and my heart and I find that sadly, I cannot accept this nomination and I prefer -- I prefer, instead, to stand with the egregiously overlooked...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And so you did and you made that speech every night after the show. Knocking the Tonys.
ANDREWS: No, no. I did it one night, but it was shown a great deal.
KING: You were really ticked.
ANDREWS: I was angry.
KING: That was a great show, by the way. I cannot figure out the critics. "Victor/Victoria" was a great show.
ANDREWS: It was, it was. I loved doing it, too. I had such a good time. I knew it was going to be exhausting. And I thought, if I don't do it, I'm going to regret it for my whole life. I better do it now while I still can and I did.
KING: Back to Blake, is things okay for Blake, because Blake's had a tough life. He explained to us the depression. You lived with him through that.
ANDREWS: It's just part of Blake's personality.
KING: Manic? ANDREWS: Manic depressive but not exactly manic but he does have -- he deals seriously with depression. He had chronic fatigue syndrome. He's broken every bone in his body from time to time, poor fellow. But that black humor rises up and keeps him alive and he's doing fine.
KING: What was that great offbeat film you did?
ANDREWS: Really taking aim at the industry, too, yes.
Back with the remaining moments with the delightful Julie Andrews. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREWS: I'll have you arrested for grand theft, larceny, fraud, embezzlement you thieving, filching, son of a....
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
ANDREWS: You're going to give me my $8 million or so help me, I'll have you locked up for your unnatural life! Give me my money, Felix. Give it to me or I will kill you!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
ANDREWS: Oh, sh...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREWS: It's easy to say, easy as a, b, c, I love you, love you, love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Oh, we just learned something in our remaining moments. I'm glad you mentioned it. You have a novel coming? Not a children's book.
ANDREWS: Yes. No, it is a children's book.
KING: A novel?
ANDREWS: But it's a novel for young adults.
KING: So it's longer?
ANDREWS: It's much longer and it's a real action packed adventure story. And --
ANDREWS: "Dragon." It's not about a dragon but it is called "Dragon."
KING: But kids are going to think it's about a dragon?
ANDREWS: No, they're not. Not when they see the cover and it's about a -- it takes place in the Middle Ages. It's about a white wolf hound and it's based on a wonderful legend that I discovered.
KING: Where do you discover these?
ANDREWS: Oh, gosh. These things just -- you know, I think if you have your antenna up and you know what you're sort of looking for, these things float past once in a while and this particular legend came to my attention when I was researching something else and all of a sudden, I thought, my God.
KING: How do you work when you write with your daughter? She writes, you write? She writes, you write?
ANDREWS: We usually try to write together, in the room together. And it's wonderful. We laugh a lot and we drink endless cups of tea and then she usually will put it down at the computer and we correct and we work.
This particular one, I've been so busy that I've been doing a lot of it, sending it to her and when we can, we get together but if I can't, we'll get on the phone for four hours at a time.
KING: And when will "Dragon" be out?
ANDREWS: This spring -- next spring. In May.
KING: So you've got -- spring will be "Dragon." Summer will be the follow-up to "The Princess"?
ANDREWS: That's right. Well, spring will be "Dragon" and one beautiful book called "The Little Gray Man" which is one of those books that we're bringing back, which we're resurrecting. Then there's also "Shrek" is coming out.
KING: I'm in "Shrek."
ANDREWS: Are you in "Shrek"! So am I.
KING: You're in "Shrek." That's right. Wait a minute. You're the queen mother. I'm Doris, the ugly stepsister, the bartender.
KING: They're writing an extra scene for me.
ANDREWS: Well, then, I'll be seeing you.
KING: Your husband comes to the bar and I -- I wait on him. And then Eddie Murphy comes with Antonio Banderas and I'm a woman with suspenders.
ANDREWS: Oh, I love it, I love it.
KING: Wasn't it fun doing that? Have you done yours?
ANDREWS: Yes, I have done mine.
ANDREWS: We'll be seeing each other on the publicity tour.
KING: That's right. We're on the tour. It's going to be a big hit. A couple of other things.
ANDREWS: I love it, Larry, that you're doing that.
KING: Working with Dudley Moore. What was that like?
ANDREWS: Dear Dudley. The Sweetest, cuddliest Dudley, as you know. Cuddliest guy. Funny, played piano wonderfully. Great jazz pianist.
KING: Was "10" fun to do?
ANDREWS: Yes, tremendous fun. Again, directed by Blake.
KING: Bo Derek kind of humble you?
ANDREWS: Blake called me one day and said, "I just found her." He said, "I came around the corner and this woman came toward me," and he said, "I just skidded to a halt and said, that's it, I just found my 10."
KING: The most amazing thing, when you see that movie, you think Bo is 6 feet tall. She's kind of tiny. But boy, she don't look tiny.
ANDREWS: But so beautifully proportioned, who cares?
KING: When you're directed by Blake, is he your husband or is he Blake?
ANDREWS: In my case, obviously, he's my husband and he assumes most of the time that I know what he wants. So I'm sort of the last person that he gets to most of the time and I keep putting up my hand and saying, excuse me, Blakey, could I just have a word with you about this scene? What? Oh, oh, you know what we're doing. But, no. If I really need an answer, I can ask him or we'll chat about it or whatever but it -- we do talk shorthand. We sort of know what the other wants.
KING: Anything you haven't done you want to do? ANDREWS: Oh, God. Lots of things but they're all to do with those fantasies that you have like I want to learn this language and I'd like to learn more about botany and I'd like to plant my garden a little more and I'd like to write a million more books.
KING: Do you get to back England much?
ANDREWS: Yes, I do. I get in about -- certainly twice a year. It's not as much as I'd like because I have family over there.
KING: Still family?
ANDREWS: Not parents but brothers and sisters.
KING: You do?
ANDREWS: A stepmother, yes.
KING: Jolly old?
ANDREWS: Jolly old.
KING: Are you a citizen of both countries?
ANDREWS: No, I'm not. I'm a citizen of great Britain and but I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
KING: You've been here how long?
ANDREWS: Well, I've been in and out for a great deal of time. You know, I ask myself a great deal about it, Larry, and I have this strange feeling that I represent my country wherever I go. And there's this feeling that in a way, I might be doing -- almost a sort of unofficial hidden ambassador that I try to bring something Britain to America.
KING: Are you a dame? Do you have a title?
ANDREWS: Yes, I am a dame. I am a dame.
ANDREWS: What about Sir Larry?
KING: Yes. Sir Lawrence. He was...
ANDREWS: Well, there you are. And he was known as Larry.
KING: I say there is nothing like a dame.
ANDREWS: Thank you.
KING: See you in "Shrek."
ANDREWS: You bet. KING: Don't forget. "Simeon's Gift" is out now. "Dragon" is coming. The follow-up to "Princess Diaries" is coming. She might be on Broadway with "The Boyfriend." She's everywhere. She's Julie Andrews. Thanks so much.
ANDREWS: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Thank you for joining us and I'll be back in a couple of moments. Don't go away.
KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE with Julie Andrews. We'll be back tomorrow night with another great guest. Stay tuned for "News Night with Aaron Brown" from New York. Thanks for joining us and good night.
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