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She's an academy award-winning actress and singer. Dame Julie Andrews is the archetypal musical theater star, known for her role as the singing nun in The Sound of Music (1965). Still popular today, this was one of the biggest box office successes of all time and the highest-grossing movie of its day.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/14/andrews.art.jpg caption="Julie Andrews"]
Starting out on the vaudeville stage, Andrews was discovered as a child to have an incredibly rare range: the ability to sing four octaves.
While she played the original Eliza Dolittle in the Broadway musical My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn played the part in the movie adaptation in 1964. Studio executives did not want Andrews because she hadn't had any experience in film and thought Hepburn would be the better choice.
That same year, Andrews accepted the role of Mary Poppins in the Disney film alongside Dick Van Dyk – for which she scooped a best actress academy award.
Sadly, an operation on her vocal chords left her voice badly damaged in 1998.
No longer able to take singing roles, Andrews went on to star in the Princess Diaries and Shrek, proving that even without her singing ability she is one of the most loved actresses of her generation.
While co-authoring children's book Simeon's Gift with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, Andrews worked hard to recover her famous voice, and returned to the stage after a 30-year absence with a comeback musical performance in 2010.
Her latest children's book installment, The Very Fairy Princess, has just been released.
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