Julie Andrews, the star of much-loved movies Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, said on Monday she was “blessed” to have had a long, illustrious cinema career as she was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival.
The 83-year-old, who won an Oscar in 1965 for playing the strict but kind-hearted nanny Mary Poppins, held up and kissed the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award to an applauding audience.
“I consider myself so blessed to have spent a large part of my professional life in the cinema arts,” she said.
“I still marvel at the fact that I was the lucky girl who was asked to play those wonderful roles.”
Andrews got a 10-minute standing ovation after accepting her award from Italian director Luca Guadagnino of Call Me By Your Name fame.
Andrews began her career as a child actress on the London West End before heading to Broadway.
Mary Poppins turned her into an international star, and she has gone on to feature in movies such as Victor/Victoria and The Princess Diaries, and most recently lent her voice to 2018 blockbuster Aquaman.
Venice Festival Director Alberto Barbera lauded Andrews for going “out of her way to avoid remaining confined as an icon of family movies.” She accepted roles that were diverse, dramatic, provocative and imbued with scathing irony, he said.
“For example, The Americanization of Emily by Arthur Hiller, and the many movies directed by her husband Blake Edwards, with whom she formed a very profound and long-lasting artistic partnership, a marvellous example of human and professional devotion to a captivating esthetic project that prevailed over the commercial success of the individual movies,” Barbera said.
“This Golden Lion is the well-deserved recognition of an extraordinary career.”