In a recent CBS special titled “Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic,” Julie Andrews shared her memories of meeting the iconic actor for the first time. The two-hour special celebrated Van Dyke’s illustrious career, and Andrews took the opportunity to reflect on their initial encounter during the rehearsals of the beloved film Mary Poppins.
Van Dyke was characterized by Andrews, who took home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as the musical’s lead character in 1964, as “young, fit as can be, and really gorgeous to look at.” However, she also admitted that their meeting was “daunting.” Having never made a movie before and having recently given birth to her daughter Emma, Andrews felt the pressure to get in shape and perform at her best.
Despite her initial apprehension, Andrews fondly remembered Van Dyke as the “sweetest, most helpful, and kindest person” she had ever met. She believes that they clicked right away, forming a bond that would enhance their on-screen chemistry.
As Andrews recounted, the first meeting took place on a hot September day. The Disney team had built a large outdoor stage on the backlot of the studio, providing shade with a giant tarpaulin roof. Van Dyke was already working with the choreographers and dancers when Andrews arrived.
During the rehearsals for the iconic “Jolly Holiday” dance, Andrews found herself laughing at Van Dyke’s antics. His attempts to ride the carousel’s pony and mimic the animated penguins brought endless joy and laughter to the entire company. Andrews mentioned how Van Dyke’s unique style and talent made her feel incredibly lucky to have him by her side for her first venture in Hollywood.
Reflecting on the CBS special, Van Dyke expressed his surprise at the recognition he received. Initially expecting a typical press interview, he was taken aback by the magnitude of the event. After 75 years in show business, he realized the extent of his accomplishments and felt grateful for the acknowledgment.
Both Andrews and Van Dyke’s reminiscences serve as a reminder of the enduring impact of their collaboration on Mary Poppins. The film continues to be beloved by audiences of all ages, and their performances have become iconic in the world of cinema.
As fans of the classic film, it is heartwarming to hear the fond memories shared by Andrews and Van Dyke. Their genuine connection and shared experiences during the making of Mary Poppins undoubtedly contributed to the magic that has captivated audiences for decades.
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke’s meeting may have been daunting at first, but it ultimately led to a lifelong friendship and a legendary cinematic partnership that will forever be cherished.