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84-Year-Old Julie Andrews Shows She’s Still a Force in Houston, Brings Quips and Magic to Barbara Bush Event

This Hollywood Memoir is No Reading Disappointment

BY // 10.29.19

It was the kind of book tour happening that only a major author, such as those featured each spring in Barbara Bush’s Celebration of Reading evening, could command. The ballroom of The Post Oak Hotel brimmed with 800 guests, all eager to hear the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Power of Literacy luncheon.

And the iconic Julie Andrews, author of Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, did not disappoint.

In the deft hands of Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse, Andrews and her co-author, daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, wandered through an enchanting maze of memories. Even though the book focuses on her Hollywood years, Andrews took guests briefly back through her early start at age 12 singing in vaudeville. Her life, she said, has played out in three stages: vaudeville, Broadway and movies, adding, “It was a vast journey to Broadway from England” at age 19.

This second memoir, her first Home: A Memoir of My Early Years (2008), begins with her iconic Mary Poppins and “Walt” (as in Disney) visiting her backstage on Broadway to convince her to come to Hollywood.

“I was an absolute basket case,” she recalled of considering the move to Hollywood. Then came The Sound of Music.  “We all tried very hard not to wallow in the saccharin, syrupy, treacly story of nuns and children,” she quipped.

Andrews and her daughter have co-authored 32 books, 30 of them best-selling children’s books. Hamilton joined in the interview with insights and recollections, mother and daughter congenially completing each others thoughts. They talked of family life, Andrews’ entertainment career, Operation USA, which she help found with her late husband, famed director Blake Edwards.

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Looking to the future, the witty, still glamorous 84-year-old says she is relishing her next role as a society reporter in a new Shonda Rhimes series for Netflix.

“It’s kind of a nice bitchy role,” she gleefully says.

The Ladies for Literacy Guild’s luncheon raised more than $600,000 for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation with kudos to chairs Lilly Andress and Vicki West and guild president Donatella Benckenstein. The program included announcement of a second Curiosity Cruiser mobile library, which hit the streets earlier this month and was made possible by Citgo and Houston Children’s Charity.

PC Seen: Nancy Ames and Danny Ward, Maria Bush, Julie Baker Finck, Cynthia Allshouse, Sarahbeth Bush, Thurman Andress, Ralph Burch, Paige Fertitta, Fred Benckenstein, Laurel D’Antoni, Cynthia Allshouse, Linda McReynolds, Laura Ward, Sidney Faust, Cathy Cleary, Susan Sarofim, Betty Hrncir, Limor Smith, Leslie Blanton, Alice Mosing, Ginger Blanton, Bobbie Nau, Trish Morille, and Stephanie Tsuru.

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