After nearly two-years wait, Mary Poppins receives the award of her life in AFI gala

She was promised her Life Achievement by the American Film Institute almost two years ago, then came COVID-19. But this week Malibu’s Julie Andrews finally got her due.

Her gala event took place in the heart of Hollywood as the celebrated actress was feted by the AFI. From “Mary Poppins” (with longtime Malibu resident Dick Van Dyke) to “The Sound of Music” to “The Princess Diaries,” she has been a cinematic icon who has given us so many memorable moments on celluloid. 

She received her first Oscar for “Mary Poppins” and went on to collect more hardware from the Grammys, the Tonys and the BAFTA awards. Malibu’s Jane Seymour was among the many paying homage, as well as Carol Burnett, Steve Carell, Gwen Stefani, and Hector Elizondo. Taped messages came by way of Van Dyke, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Kristin Chenoweth and Kelly Clarkson. 

In talking about the movie “10” with Julie and Blake Edwards, star Bo Derek said “Julie and Blake made seven films together. As impressive as that is, it’s nothing compared to 41 years of marriage. What they had onscreen and off, was a perfect 10.”

As for Gwen Stefani, she added, “I would not be me without the inspiration of Julie Andrews.” Gwen then launched into “Wind it Up,” which included a sample of “The Lonely Goatherd” from “The Sound of Music.”

She wrapped up by saying you have brought so much joy into my life and all of our lives. Thank you.”

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To honor Andrews’ iconic role, Cynthia Erivo performed a stirring rendition of “Edelweiss.”

Julie, meantime, has said that the first time she stepped on the set of Mary Poppins “was truly daunting.” Who knew she was walking on to the set that would make movie history.

She is was nervous and is quoted as saying, “I don’t know if I was acting enough, or what I was supposed to be doing. But honestly, it was a great learning experience; I learned about cameras and close-ups and lenses and all those kinds of things.”

Who knew she would be stepping into a role that Malibu parents still play for their kids today almost as required reading or in this case viewing.

In any case, she is a living treasure, but remains humble to the end. As she said recently, “If I stumble on something I’ve made, I might look and say, Oh gosh, I wish I had done it better.” No worries Julie you are doing just fine and on behalf of American filmgoers, congrats. It is a Lifetime award well received. 

In accepting the award, Julie summed it up this way: “This night reminds me with great clarity how many people are involved in making movies. My husband Blake never liked it when people referred to filmmaking as a business or industry. He insisted that film was an art form and should always be called that.”

The starry, A-list night served as a reminder of how great one woman’s base of fans and friends can be.

In honoring her pal of six decades, Carol Burnett declared, “This award is so very much deserved. Julie has constantly given us her all. And her all is awe-inspiring. Congratulations, chum.”

UPCOMING FILM HIGHLIGHTS

Malibu’s Adam Sandler is hustling his way back into screens as he plays a basketball scout who has become a bit burned out by his job. That is until he meets a strong streetball player in Spain who reignites his passion for the game. “Hustle” can be seen on Netflix beginning June 8. The flick also stars Queen Latifah and Ben Foster.

VERY BERRY

It’s hard to miss Malibu’s Halle Berry these days. She is sporting a new short blond ‘do on the set of “Our Man from New Jersey.” She stars opposite Mark Wahlberg. Last set sighting was in London. Jolly good!

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