Julie Andrews, still sublime


Like the rest of the world, Julie Andrews misses her voice.

In a new interview, Andrews confesses that she still feels the loss of her “freak four-octave voice.” I for one consider it an extreme tragedy that her magnificent instrument was taken away when she should have had years of singing left. It’s an unimaginable injustice — no matter how big the settlement was. But she seems to be coping pretty well, I guess. She’s now writing children’s books and directing.

“My daughter, the one that I write with, said something so lovely. I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t singing and how much I missed it. And she said, ‘Mom, you’ve just found a different way of using your voice by writing.’ It made me feel so much better. … I do miss singing with an orchestra, the beauty of it all. I miss the music. But at least I am able to still contribute, which is lovely.”

Sigh. Yes, and Andrews herself is still lovely. When I was a kid, I was sure she was gay. She just had to be: I loved her too much. I thought the sheer force of my affection might make her a lesbian. Besides, how could she look this good in a tuxedo and not be gay? I wanted her to sweep me off my feet and teach me the do-re-mi’s of sapphic bliss.

I’m sure that if Google had existed when I first fell in love with Andrews, I would have Googled “Julie Andrews lesbian” every day. Now, that search brings you rumors of a long-term affair with Carol Burnett (that’s stupid — I think they’d happily acknowledge that if it were true) and lists of gay and lesbian icons.

She certainly does have icon status. I remember seeing a book years ago in which the author had spliced herself into scenes from old movies, including the “Something Good” dance in the gazebo in The Sound of Music.

I’ve since come to accept Andrews’ heterosexuality, but not the loss of her singing voice. I don’t think I ever will. And I don’t want crumbs like these:

Though her singing career is behind her, Andrews does get to hum a tune in “Shrek the Third.” In a dizzy moment for Queen Lillian, she trills through a few bars of “My Favorite Things,” one of the songs Andrews belted out in “The Sound of Music.” “It felt like a charmingly wicked thing to do,” Andrews said.

Sigh. Shrek the Third, which looks to be one of the most female-friendly summer releases, opens this Friday.

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