TODAY   |  October 22, 2013

Julie Andrews on 50 years since Mary Poppins

The legendary actress and singer talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the 50th anniversary of Mary Poppins, and the opportunities it opened up for her and her new legacy as an author for young readers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> roker. julie andrews is a triple threat in the truest sense, an actress, singer and author and she keeps busy behind the scenes directing and producing. she is out with a new book in her popular series for kids. this is called the very fairy princess sparkles in the snow.

>> you just said it all matt.

>> thank you. off we go. you love these stories, don't you?

>> i do. well, i love this little character. they're so sweetly illustrated and i write them with my daughter emma and i'm having a ball.

>> you love to have them focus on an event and a message and the event in this one is the winter festival because she knows she is the perfect person to sing the solo.

>> well, you've done your homework. yes, she is. she loves to sing and she is sure they're going to pick her and of course they're going to bring in a special guest star instead. a professional singer which they think will be a big, you know, thing for the school.

>> a big draw .

>> and she thinks it will be a big drag.

>> so clearly jerry is disappointed. here's the message. it's how we deal with moments like that.

>> this little girl has such get guts and it's about identity and your inner strength and your core and how you overcome disappointments in life and each book deals with a different particular form of that.

>> and without giving anything away, the title suggests that jerry find a jerry finds a way to sparkle despite her disappointment. you're back working with actors and actresses as a producer.

>> right.

>> you're dealing with young talent. you have been around this business for awhile. they're all going to face disappointment and look at hardship and be told they're not good enough.

>> we've all been.

>> what do you say to them?

>> if you're passionate about it keep doing your homework and keep persevering. because if you really want it, chances are something wonderful is going to slide under your nose any day. be ready.

>> the business is not the same today as compared to the business you came up in and cut your teeth in or is it?

>> no, i don't think it's quite the same, matt. i think that these days if you're not immediately successful it's over so quickly. you're not given time to hone your craft. i toured endlessly as a child learning how to be on stage, really. and these days people are so immediately successful. and they don't have much time.

>> and as a result maybe not the perseverance they should have. do they give up faster?

>> well, it depends on how badly they want it. but there's so much talent out there. so much talent, particularly on broadway.

>> yesterday on the show i had christ christie brinkley on and she was talking about the 50th anniversary of the swimsuit issue. what does it tell you about my stage in life that i'm more excited about the 50th anniversary of mary poppins . i have three kids.

>> how old are they now?

>> 12, 10 and 6.

>> in will be great for the littlest.

>> when you look back, though, 50 years ago.

>> it's mind boggling. i cannot believe it's been 50 years since then. cannot.

>> as a young actress.

>> i lost about 20 years somewhere.

>> as a young actress, having the chance to play that character, which, by the way, garnered you an academy award . we saw a little of sound of music as well.

>> that was lovely too.

>> not to bad.

>> when you get to grab on to roles like that at an early stage in your career, is it tough to follow them?

>> well, you always set a bar for yourself that's high. and people -- people are so lovely and you want to give them pleasure. it's not that you -- you do the best you can and you hope that any movie you do is going to be what people will enjoy and love to see. some are. and some are not.

>> but isn't it nice to be able to look back and know that a role you brought to the screen is so much of a part of the fabric of the lives of people.

>> do you know how lucky i am? i'm the lucky lady asked to do those fabulous movies and i learned.

>> you're also the lucky lady who could kick back right now and go enjoy tea somewhere yet you keep pushing yourself.

>> i really worked my entire life and i love what i do. i love writing with my daughter. i love -- i mean, i'm busy no matter what i do. whether it's in the public eye or not. a bit like you i suspect.

>> well, keep doing it, please.

>> thank you, matt.

>> congratulations on this new book, the very fairy princess sparkles in the snow. a great message.