Rising Above: The Life And Times Of Doris Day

Actress and singer Doris Day was one of the biggest stars that the entertainment industry had ever seen. Her popularity in the ’40s and ’50s led to a successful career in both music and acting. But America’s most wholesome star has more to her than most people realize. Back-stabbing husbands and scandalous affairs played out in her personal life while Doris worked hard to keep her career moving forward. Here’s what you probably didn’t know about the incredible life and times of Doris Day.

She Was Named After a Song

Doris Day
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Doris Day was actually born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, the daughter of second generation German immigrants. Her stage name came after orchestra leader and jazz musician Barney Rapp saw her performing a version of “Day After Day”. Although it’s often confused with Doris’ hit single “Day By Day”, the two were entirely different songs.

The former was never recorded by the singer, despite becoming her namesake. The tune was so frequently requested by audiences that it simply made sense to dub her Doris Day – it’s certainly more stage-worthy than Doris Kappelhoff.

A Car Accident Changed Her Life’s Direction

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Getty Images

While it’s almost impossible to imagine a world in which Doris Day isn’t a singer, it almost didn’t turn out that way. Doris loved to dance, developing a keen interest from an early age. She formed a dance duo with friend Jerry Doherty and the pair were frequently booked around her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

While the youngster dreamed of becoming a professional performer, a car accident in 1937 badly injured her leg, ruining her chances of pursuing a career in dance. Her hopes and dreams were destroyed at the tender age of 15.

The Road To Recovery Is Paved With Gold

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During the long, lengthy recovery process following the car accident, Doris stumbled across the talent that would see her become a household name. To keep herself entertained, Doris would listen to the radio and often sang along with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller.

Her mother instantly recognized her daughter’s talent and arranged for her to have singing lessons with Grace Raine. Grace was so impressed with Doris’ voice that she gave her three lessons a week for the price of one, telling her mother that she had “tremendous potential”.

From Restaurants and Radios To Big Bands and Billboards

Doris Sings
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Metronome/Getty Images

When it started to happen for Doris, it really started to happen. Within the first eight months of singing lessons, the young beauty landed her first professional roles, working as a vocalist on the WLW radio program Carlin’s Carnival and singing in a local restaurant. It was there that she first caught the attention of Barney Rapp.

Rapp offered her a position in his band which then propelled her to work with other legendary bandleaders, including Les Brown. Working with Brown while in her early 20’s, Doris made the move that catapulted her to stardom. Things would never be the same for the girl from Cincinnati.

A Toxic Relationship When She Was Seventeen

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While working as a vocalist for Rapp, Doris met surly trombonist Al Jorden. Despite warnings from her bandmates and her own mother, the teenager fell head over heels in love and quickly married 23-year-old Jorden in 1941. The choice would be a devastating move and the union was toxic from the get-go. Her young husband would fly into fits of jealous rage, beating her brutally on regular occasions.

When Doris fell pregnant with their son Terry, Al implored her to get an abortion. Eventually, after a slew of awful and dangerous situations, the young mother divorced her tyrant of a husband just before her 18th birthday. Jorden would later commit suicide in 1967 with the same gun he had once threatened Doris with.

A Sentimental Journey

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Pinteret/Amazon
Pinteret/Amazon

It wasn’t long before Doris returned to work. In early 1945, Doris recorded “Sentimental Journey”. The song soon became a smash hit, with the lyrics “Gonna take a sentimental journey / Gonna set my heart at ease / Gonna make a sentimental journey / To renew old memories”. The track became the unofficial anthem of soldiers returning home. The phenomenal success of the record climbed to number one on the charts and Doris became a breakout star.

The song continued to be associated with Day throughout her life, and she recorded different versions of it on numerous occasions. Over the course of the next two years, Doris and the Les Brown Band had six other top ten hits. A star was born.

Another Man Distracted Her From Show Business

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Although her first marriage had been enough to put anyone off of men for life, Doris was a young woman in her prime with a son to raise. Not long after her divorce from Jorden, she began dating another fellow band member, George Weidler. The pair began sharing a hotel room – something still considered scandalous for unmarried couples at the time – and leader Les Brown was gravely concerned.

According to him, Weidler was just as obnoxious as Jorden had been. He ordered the pair to split, but they defied him and married in 1946. For the second time in a few short years, Doris declared she was going to quit showbiz to concentrate on being a mother and wife. Her pledge didn’t last long.

Doris Makes Her Hollywood Debut

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Pressefoto Kindermann

When Bob Hope and Hollywood came knocking, Doris couldn’t resist grabbing the opportunity with both hands. She became a regular on Hope’s extremely popular show and her career continued to grow, while her desire to be a homemaker waned. In 1948 Doris was cast to star in the musical romantic comedy Romance on the High Seas. When she auditioned for the role, Doris admitted to director Michael Curtiz that she didn’t have any acting experience.

It was this confession that garnered her first acting role, as Curtiz loved her honesty and thought she embodied his vision for the all-American girl. Her song, “It’s Magic” was featured in the movie and gave Doris her first hit as a solo artist.

Doris Ran Away From Her Marriage Problems

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Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

With her interest in Hollywood piqued, Doris and Weidler moved to Los Angeles so she could focus on movies. The best location the couple could find was in a less than desirable trailer on a road full of drug dealers. The marriage soon began to deteriorate as Weidler wasn’t fond of his stepson, Terry and resented his wife’s success.

When Doris insisted that her mother Alma move in with them to help, things went from bad to worse and Doris secured work in New York – as far away from her husband as possible. After Doris moved with her mother and child, Weidler demanded a divorce.

Doris Breaks Records

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Her first film role landed her a slew of other opportunities in Hollywood and Doris starred in several nostalgic period films for Warner Brothers over the next few years. On Moonlight Bay, By the Light of the Silvery Moon and Tea For Two were all relatively minor movies – but 1951’s I’ll See You in My Dreams was a box office smash, breaking records held for 20 years.

Not only was her acting career reaching unprecedented heights, but the song “Secret Love” from 1953’s Calamity Jane scored the Academy Award for Best Original Song, becoming her fourth number one hit in the U.S.

A Not-So-Sunny Disposition

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Doris had worked hard to become successful, but the grueling work schedules often left her in a foul mood. She was away from her young son for long stretches of time and it took its toll on the star, who had divided feelings about fame. Although Doris would be known for her glowing smile and her bright and sunny on-screen attitude, in reality, she had quite the tempter.

Her tantrums were legendary, often discussed among those who worked with her. When things didn’t go to plan, the songstress would stomp her feet, swear like a sailor and barge through the place, slamming doors and threatening to go back to her hometown and leave it all behind her once and for all.

Doris Wasn’t Loyal, And Things Got Complicated

Warner Brothers/Getty Images
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Despite having two failed marriages under her belt by the time she was 27, Day hadn’t given up on finding love – in fact, she was more romantically active than ever. At one point in the early ’50s, she was seeing her ex-husband George Weidler, leading actor Jack Carson and her manager Al Levy, all at the same time. Levy became obsessed with her and like most of the men in her life exhibited extreme jealousy.

When he found out Doris was sleeping with other men, he attacked her. Worried by his behavior, she approached his business partner Marty Melcher for help. Before long, Melcher was on her list of lovers too. The pair married in 1951.

Que Sera, Sera Almost Didn’t Happen

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Up until the mid-’50s, Doris had mainly played comedic characters. Her dramatic breakthrough came in Love Me or Leave Me, alongside renowned actor James Cagney. The role earned her widespread respect as a “serious” actress and Doris was soon cast in Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. The song “Que Sera, Sera” would become synonymous with Day and win an Academy Award.

It’s funny to think that at first, she refused to sing it, labeling it a “children’s song.” Doris recorded the song in one take under pressure from the studio, supposedly claiming “That’s the last time you’ll ever hear that song.”

Doris Turned Down Roles To Keep Her Wholesome Image

doris-day
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

With her agent now her husband, Doris had more work in the early ’60s than ever, but the world was changing. At the end of the decade, society was ready for more risque content thanks to the sexual revolution. However, Day’s movies didn’t evolve and neither did her wholesome image. For a woman who set the still unbeaten record for receiving seven consecutive awards as the top female box-office star, it was devastating when she slid out of the top ten completely in 1966.

Doris was given the chance to play Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, a role that would’ve undoubtedly revived her popularity but she turned it down, calling the script “vulgar and offensive.”

Her Late Husband Had Stolen Her Fortune

Garland Premiere
Jay Scott/BIPs/Getty Images
Jay Scott/BIPs/Getty Images

Although Doris had stayed married to Marty Melcher until his death in 1969, the union was not always a happy one. He was manipulative and many thought he was exploiting Doris for his own gain. When he died, the 47-year-old actress discovered that her late husband and her attorney, Jerome Rosenthal, had squandered away her fortune, leaving her with nothing but debt.

Not only had he ruined her financially, but Melcher had committed Doris to a series of contracts without her knowledge, one of which being The Doris Day Show. The widow detested the idea of going into TV, but had no choice.

The Doris Day Show And Retirement

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Worldvision Enterprises
Worldvision Enterprises

With nothing in the bank, a desperate Doris fast approaching her 50’s had no other option but to go ahead with the television show her husband had signed her up for. Doris’ one stipulation was that CBS relinquished full creative control to her and her son, Terry. Although her movie popularity had waned, The Doris Day Show ran for five successful seasons.

Every season had dramatic changes to its premise that baffled audiences, but it somehow worked. By 1973, Doris had come to realize she was largely considered ‘passe’ and a thing of the past. With roles drying up, the star mostly retired from acting, except two further TV specials.

Actress Turned Animal Activist

DorisDayAlbum/Facebook
DorisDayAlbum/Facebook

In the early ’70s Doris decided to use her influence for the greater good, founding Actors and Others for Animals. Her interest in animal welfare stemmed from an incident during her teenage years when her dog was killed by a passing car. Doris is also an avid anti-fur campaigner and founded the non-profit charity Doris Day Pet Foundation in 1978.

The charity supports causes throughout the U.S that share the DDAF’s mission statement of helping animals – and the people that love them. These days, the Pillow Talk star has many pets and frequently adopts stray animals that she feels are in need of help.

What Happened To Terry Mulcher?

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Doris was largely absent for the majority of her son’s early years. Her mother Alma mainly raised Terry as Doris was often on tour or filming. However, the two remained close throughout Terry’s life. Terry went on to find success in his own right, producing bands such as the Byrds and having a top 10 hit of his own with the duo Bruce & Terry.

Doris and her beloved son worked together frequently, as he was the executive producer of her television shows. He also helped his mom through her financial struggles following the death of his stepfather. Sadly, Terry died in 2004 aged 62.

She Turned Down The Sound Of Music

Doris Day poses for a photo in 1965.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In the early 1960s, director Robert Wise was searching for actresses to play Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Some of his initial choices were Grace Kelly, Shirley Jones, and of course, Doris Day. But Doris refused, claiming that she was “too American to play a nun from Austria.”

Doris likely turned down a role that would have advanced her career. However, she was well-known as a patriotic singer. After all, her first hit song, “Sentimental Journey,” became an unofficial World War II anthem. Perhaps she thought that the role would damage that reputation.

Doris Didn’t Know Her Birth Year Until 2017

DorisDayAlbum/Facebook
DorisDayAlbum/Facebook

Throughout her life Doris believed she was born in 1924. It wasn’t until her birthday in 2017- when she thought she was turning 93 – that the Associated Press presented the aging star with a copy of her birth certificate that Doris had never seen. Despite her previous notions, the document showed that Doris Day was born in 1922.

“I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays,” she said in a statement. “It’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Doris and her friend Betty White had often joked about White being two years older, but the joke was on Doris.

A Career Over, A Legacy Left

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There’s no doubt that while the actress bowed out of the biz years ago, she made a tremendous impact on the entertainment industry. Her influence goes well beyond a few hit singles. Modern-day artists still look to Doris’ music for inspiration – some of which have mentioned her by name in their songs.

The Beatles mentioned her in “Dig It”, George Michael sang about her brightness in Wham’s hit “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and Elton John lists her in “Wrap Her Up” alongside fellow silver-screen legend Brigitte Bardot. The list is endless – just like Day’s timeless legacy.

Doris Day Lived To Be 97 Years Old

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On May 13, 2019, The Doris Day Animal Foundation announced that the beloved star had died at her Carmel Valley, California, home. The official statement said that Day was surrounded by close friends when she passed away, and that she “had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia.”

Stars immediately took to social media to pay tribute to the singer. “For those of us in my generation, Doris Day was synonymous with Hollywood icon,” tweeted actor George Takei. “She would no doubt remind us, upon this day of her passing, ‘Que sera sera,’ but we will miss her dearly anyway. Rest now in our hearts forever, Ms. Day.”

Doris Grew Up Around Infidelity

Doris Day and her son, Terry Melcher, play checkers with Day's mother.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Doris’s history with infidelity may have been influenced by her childhood. Her mother, Alma Sophia, married William Joseph Kappelhoff, the son of German immigrants. Alma was a stay-at-home mom, while William taught music and choir. Doris’s father had allegedly cheated on his wife, resulting in their divorce.

Doris’s personal life eerily reflected her father’s. She was married four times, and she was often accused of having relationships with other men. Perhaps Doris became used to infidelity in the family, or it could have been a result of turbulent marriages.

Her Grandson Never Saw Her During Her Final Moments

Doris Day holds her young grandson, Ryan Melcher.
Paul Harris/Getty Images
Paul Harris/Getty Images

Doris’s son, Ryan Melcher, was also a famous musician. Her was the son of Doris’s only child, Terry Melcher. Because of tricky divorce papers, Terry never got to see his grandmother during his final years. After she died, Ryan claimed that he found out about it over social media.

“Sadly, due to a divorce that I was thrown into the middle of while still an underaged child, I have not been allowed to see my grandmother for quite some time,” Ryan wrote on Facebook. He claimed that Doris’s business manager did not even believe that he was her grandson.

She Got Into Christian Science And Then Left It

Doris Day poses for a photo.
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Getty Images

Doris Day grew up as a Catholic but did not adhere to the religion. In 1946, she married her second husband, George William Weidler. George introduced Doris to Christian Science, and she stuck with the religion for several years. The experience caused some medical issues for Doris.

According to Doris’s book, Christian Science does not outlaw all medical practices, but it emphasizes spiritual healing. Her resistance to medicine made her ignore cancer symptoms and get a hysterectomy at age 32. Later in life, Doris left Christian Science for her “own personal religion.”

She “Wasn’t Serious Enough” For Hitchcock

Doris Day and James Stewart look scared in a still from the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Doris was known as the queen of romantic comedies, she also starred in more serious roles, such as Storm Warning. But in 1956, producers thought she wasn’t “serious enough” for Hitchcock’s new film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. They wanted another actress such as Lana Turner or Grace Kelly.

Despite the pressure, Hitchcock adamantly sought after Doris for the role. He believed that her role in Storm Warning proved that she could star in a drama, and he was right. The Man Who Knew Too Much became one of Doris’s best-known roles.

A Sprinkler Cut Robbed Her Of An Oscars Presentation

Doris Day and Karl pose next to an Oscars cake.
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ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

In March 1989, Doris was scheduled to present the Best Original Score Oscar at the Academy Awards. But she never did. Shortly before the date, she was walking through her garden when she cut her leg on a sprinkler. The cut so deep that it required stitches.

Because of the injury, Doris could not appear at The 61st Annual Academy Awards. She left the job up to her scheduled co-hosts, Patrick Swayze and Marvin Hamlisch. Although Doris regretted being unable to attend that night, there was nothing she could do about her leg.

Animals May Have Ended A Marriage

Doris Day plays fetch with a poodle.
Phil Burchman/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Phil Burchman/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Doris Day was an enormous pet lover, having several pets and adopting stray animals. However, this love allegedly placed strain on her fourth marriage to Barry Comden. According to Barry, the couple divorced after six years because Doris’s love of animals outweighed her love for him.

That said, Barry knew what he was in for when they started dating. The two met when Barry worked as a maître d’hôtel at one of Doris’s favorite restaurants. He often gave her scrap meats and bones for dogs. Although he knew about her love for dogs, it apparently became too much for him.

She Dated Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan and Doris Day team up in the1952 movie, The Winning Team.
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Getty Images

Before Ronald Reagan became the 40th president of the United States, he and Doris briefly dated. The two met when mutual friends from New York visited her in Los Angeles. She claimed that she was charmed by his love of dance and intelligent conversations.

Although Doris was a lifelong Republican, Reagan wasn’t “wasn’t actually in politics” at the time. Instead, he had “a political personality,” according to Doris. The two dated in 1951, after she divorced her third husband, Marty Melcher. They also starred in The Winning Team together. But the relationship did not last long.

Her Son Was Friends With Charles Manson

Doris Day and Terry Melcher pose for a photo together.
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Doris had an indirect relationship with Charles Manson. Her son, Terry Melcher, encountered Manson through a music producer deal. Doris did not approve of the friendship, especially after Manson tried to take Terry to court over a record deal. Even so, Manson continued to visit the Melcher home on Cielo Drive.

Doris encouraged her son to move out of the residence, and eventually he did. On August 8, 1969, Manson encouraged his followers to invade the residence, even though he knew that Terry had moved out. Doris’s son narrowly escaped a deadly situation.

She Was A Child Performer

She Was A Child Performer
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Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images

Born in England in 1935, Julie Andrews began performing with her mother and stepfather at the age of ten. Two years later, she landed a spot at the London Hippodrome where she sang “Je Suis Titania” from the opera Mignon.

In 1948, Andrews, who was barely a teenager, performed for the king and queen at the London Palladium. She was the youngest soloist to be a part of the Royal Command Variety Performance. From age fifteen to seventeen, she was a cast member of the BBC comedy show Educating Archie.

She Played Several Princesses As A Teen

She Played Several Princesses As A Teen
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Greaves/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Julie Andrews’ first experience in voiceover work was when she was seventeen, in the role of Princess Zeila in The Singing Princess, an animated Italian movie. She also performed as Princess Badroulbadour in Aladdin and as Cinderella.

This photograph shows her at a dress fitting for her role as Cinderella in November of 1953. Around this time, she also performed in Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Humpty Dumpty. In 1954, she landed her first role in a Broadway performance. This completely shifted the trajectory of her success.

She Was The Original Star Of My Fair Lady

She Was The Original Star Of My Fair Lady
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Getty Images

After portraying Polly Browne in her debut Broadway show The Boy Friend, Andrews was urged to audition as the flower girl in My Fair Lady. She did, landing not only that part but also the role of Cinderella in the Rodgers and Hammerstein television special.

After being nominated for an Emmy for her role as Cinderella in 1957, Andrews went on to appear in several television shows and released her first solo album. Despite her growing recognition, she was passed over for the film version of My Fair Lady, and her part was instead given to Audrey Hepburn.

Disney Insisted On Having Her Play Mary Poppins

Disney Insisted On Having Her Play Mary Poppins
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Getty Images

In 1959, Andrews married set designer Tony Walton. The next year, she starred as Queen Guinevere in Camelot, a performance that convinced Walt Disney that she was the perfect person to portray Mary Poppins.

However, Andrews declined and returned to London due to pregnancy. Nevertheless, Disney insisted that they would hold production until she was ready. In 1964, Andrews won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in Mary Poppins.

She Didn’t Always Play Light-Hearted Roles

She Didn't Always Play Light-Hearted Roles
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Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1964, Julie Andrews secured the lead role in The Americanization of Emily. The dark dramedy is set in London near the end of World War II, a time and setting that Andrews lived through as a child.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune, the movie is the favorite of Andrews’ of the films she’s performed in. Andrews was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress in a Leading Role for her part in the film.

The Sound Of Music Wasn’t Always Easy

The Sound Of Music Wasn't Always Easy
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Unlike with Mary Poppins, Andrews had to audition for the lead in The Sound of Music against giants of the time like Grace Kelly. Though she snagged the part, filming the famous opening scene was a bit messy. She told the Hollywood Reporter that she was “spitting mud and grass and hay” as the helicopter flew by to film several takes.

Nevertheless, Julie Andrews earned her second Golden Globe for Best Actress for her leading role in The Sound of Music, the highest-grossing film of 1965. She was also nominated for a BAFTA and an Academy Award.

She Starred In Several 1960s Smash Hits

She Starred In Several 1960s Smash Hits
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Mondadori via Getty Images

In 1966, Andrews returned to the world of drama for her starring role in Hawaii. The epic film chronicled a Yale student from the 1800s and his wife, played by Julia. It was a major success in the box-office.

The same year, Andrews starred in the Alfred Hitchcock film Torn Curtain. The political thriller was yet another smash hit of the 1960s. Another successful film of the era was Thoroughly Modern Millie, a rom-com musical she starred in alongside Mary Tyler Moore.

She Was With Her Second Husband For Life

She Was With Her Second Husband For Life
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Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In 1969, Andrews married her second husband, Blake Edwards. The following year, she starred in Darling Lili, a film written and directed by Edwards. Though the film was not very successful, in part due to studio pushback, the pair went on to collaborate on other projects in the following decades.

The couple remained married until Edwards’ death in 2010. Speaking on their marriage, Andrews told Good Morning Britain, “Success in our marriage was to take it one day at a time and so, lo and behold, 41 years later there we still were.”

She Established Her Television Presence

She Established Her Television Presence
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Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

As the 1970s began, Andrews did a variety of television specials, including An Evening with Julie Andrews and Harry Belafonte and Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center. In 1972, she landed her own television series, The Julie Andrews Hour.

Despite winning several Emmys, the show ended after one season. During the ’70s she also appeared in two movies, both of which were written and directed by her husband, Blake Edwards. Both films were well-grossing, and one– The Tamarind Seed— even received a Royal Command Performance.

She Adopted Two Children

She Adopted Two Children
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McCabe/Express/Getty Images

Julie Andrews gave birth to one child from her first marriage, Emma, in 1962. Upon marrying her second husband, she became a stepmother to Jennifer and Geoffrey Edwards. As if three children and a bustling film and television career weren’t enough, Edwards and Andrews decided to adopt.

They adopted a daughter named Amy in 1974, and another daughter, Joanna, in 1975. Andrews now has nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Though she’s remained in the spotlight for quite some time, she’s kept her children predominantly out of it, which may be a testament to her own childhood in show business.

She Helped Raise Funds For Cambodia

She Helped Raise Funds For Cambodia
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Michael Daines/Daily Mirror/MirrorpixGetty Images

In 1980, Julie Andrews supported Operation USA’s mission to aid those starving in Cambodia. Then called Operation California, the nonprofit had yet to gain its notoriety. Their website states that Julie Andrews, a founding board member, was a “large part” of the reason that they had the opportunity to host a television special.

The special was called “Because We Care” and aired on CBS that January. The concert led by Julie Andrews and featuring various stars of the time generated funds through tickets and phone donations. The two-hour special raised more than a million dollars for relief in southeast Asia.

She Changed Her Image In The 1980s

She Changed Her Image In The 1980s
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Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images

Despite her roles in dramatic films, Julie Andrews still was considered a wholesome actress for much of her career. One thing that helped her evolve this image was her starring role in her husband’s 1981 film S.O.B.

In the comedy, Andrews is married to a despondent Hollywood executive who realizes through a series of mishaps why he has failed to gain the success he desires. Creating a movie within a movie, the film satirizes the Hollywood industry. Andrews’ role as Sally also has some parallels to her own image at the time, which was “squeaky clean.”

She Was The Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year

She Was The Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year
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Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images

The Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year is an annual award granted by a theatrical society at Harvard University. The first awardee was selected in 1951 and was actress Gertrude Lawrence, who Julie Andrews portrayed in the biopic Star! in 1968.

Julie Andrews was given the honor in 1983. Winners over the years have also included stars such as Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, and Andrews’ Princess Diaries costar Anne Hathaway, to name a few.

She Declined A Tony Award Nomination

She Declined A Tony Award Nomination
Barbara Alper/Getty Images
Barbara Alper/Getty Images

Julie Andrews was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Academy Award nomination for her role in Victor/Victoria in 1982. Her success with the film made it unsurprising that more than a decade later she would star in the stage musical version.

Returning to Broadway after a 35-year hiatus, the show debuted in 1995 and went on a world tour. However, Andrews was the only person in the production to be nominated for a Tony Award. According to the New York Times, she denied the nomination because she felt the entire production deserved recognition.

She Did An Emmy-Winning Christmas Special

Rmmy
Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Julie Andrews had her own Christmas Special that aired on CBS in 1987. Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas featured Julie alongside Placido Domingo (a Spanish opera singer and conductor) and singer-songwriter John Denver.

The special was both funny and informative, offering insight into the history of such greats as Mozart and Strauss. Filmed in Austria, the special received world-wide recognition and is today considered a classic. The event was so spectacular that it won a whopping five Emmy Awards.

She’s An Official Disney Legend

She's An Official Disney Legend
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Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Starting in 1987, Disney Legend Awards became an honor given to those who have made an impressive impact on The Walt Disney Company. The awardees are chosen by a committee that consists of historians and other top players in the company, headed by Roy E. Disney at the time.

In 1991, Andrews was made an official Disney legend. More than a decade later, she was named the Official Ambassador of the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth,” an on-going celebration of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.

She Sang For The First Time In Years In 2004

She Sang For The First Time In Years In 2004
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Lee Celano/WireImage/Getty Images

One of the defining moments in Andrews’ life was a damaging throat surgery she underwent in 1997. She later had reparative surgery done which was effective on her speaking voice, but not her singing. Nevertheless, she stayed active in her career, refraining from singing.

She returned to Disney Studios for the first time since Mary Poppins to star in The Princess Diaries in 2001. She later sang alongside Raven Symone for the soundtrack of the 2004 sequel. The specially-arranged octave melody was the first song she had sung since her surgery. According to the film’s music supervisor, she nailed it in one take.

She’s Done Voiceover Work

She's Done Voiceover Work
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

After portraying a live-action queen in The Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews went on to play the voice of Queen Lillian in the second, third, and fourth Shrek movies alongside Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas.

In 2007, she narrated the Disney film Enchanted starring Amy Adams. She then played the role of Marlena Gru in the Despicable Me series alongside Steve Carrell. Most recently, she voiced Karathen in the 2018 film Aquaman.

She’s A Children’s Book Author

She's A Children's Book Author
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

While many know Julie Andrews for her outstanding performances, less are aware that she has written a plethora of children’s books, many of them alongside her daughter, Emma. The mother-daughter duo is pictured here with a copy of The Very Fairy Princess, which reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller List.

In 2011, the pair also won a Grammy for Best Spoken-Word Album for Children. The album is called A Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies. They also have a pre-K television series on Netflix called Julie’s Greenroom.

She’s Won THREE Lifetime Achievement Awards

She's Won THREE Lifetime Achievement Awards
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Among Julie Andrews’ long list of awards and nominations, she is one of the few to win a Lifetime Achievement award, let alone multiple times over. The first was given to her by the Screen Actors Guild in 2007. Just four years later, she was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Most recently, she was given the Golden Lion Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement. This photo shows her glowing as she received the award. It was presented to her during the Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande in 2019.