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Child Frealc. She and her husband both come from Walton-on-Thames* in Surrey, and have known each other since 1947, when he was 13 and she twelve. Julie, whose mother and stepfather were musical vaudevillians, was a professional singer even then.
She made her debut in London's Hippodrome, aged twelve, in a routine designed to sandbag the audience. In the middle of a revue, the M.C. walked down to the footlights and said, "Is there any little girl here who would care to sing to us?" Up shot a hand in the stalls. In a flap of pigtails, this little hoyden in a party frock climbed up on the stage. "Don't feel frightened little girl, just sing," said the M.C. So Julie Andrews opened her mouth and the vast hall filled with the "Polonaise" from Mignon. She had the voice of a woman. "I was a child freak," she says. "I had a four-octave range. It was a thin, reedy but very powerful voice. My parents carted me off to a throat specialist, who discovered that I had an adult larynx." Soon Julie became one of the youngest performers ever to give a Royal Variety Performance.
The day before her 19th birthday, she opened on Broadway in The Boy Friend, and overnight she was such a star that Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe thought they were simmering in luck when they got her to sign for My Fair Lady.
"The whole success of Fair Lady was so extreme and strange that it was hard for her to absorb it, and in fact she never did," says her husband. "You know, a hit like that becomes a fashion, and having Julie at your party became a catch. She never got used to that. She was dazed by it all. Her main memory of it seems to be how hard it all was." But not quite so hard as seeing someone else do the movie.
* The name of the town has no connection with his family.