Julie Andrews “egregiously overlooked” Speech

By Jennifer Kiley

Julie as Victor/Victoria

It was 16 years today on May 8th, 1996 that Julie Andrews turned down her nomination for a Tony Award in her role of Victor/Victoria in the Broadway Musical of the same name. Was it really 16 yrs ago. Oh, my! I vicariously enjoyed Victor/Victoria through an email list created by a very special person named Harry Gold. He is no longer with us but his list lives on and those who are fans of Julie Andrews can follow her on Facebook on The Harry Gold Julie Andrews Discussion List.

The Sound of Music

I wasn’t able to travel to see the Broadway Show but wanted so much to see Julie live. I vicariously absorbed all the fun and enjoyment fellow Julie Andrew’s fans were having meeting her, joining each other for dinners and special events. It was a fantasy that I could appreciate and enjoy through other loyal fans. I thank them all very much for their many detailed stories of their experiences.

When she made her “egregiously overlooked” speech, while turning down the nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Victor/Victoria, I was so angry and felt her pain that all in her company including Blake Edwards, her husband and producer/director/writer of the show, were overlooked.

Julie with husband Blake Edwards

When watching the Tony’s that year I had misplaced anger toward Donna Murphy, who won the Best Actress Award for “The King and I,” as if she stole Julie’s rightful Tony Award. I remember making many comments while watching the Tony’s that year, but one in particular: “They are so scared they sent two Broadway Divas (Bernadette Peters and Liza Minelli) to present the award.” The air in the room and the tension during the presenting of Best Actress in a Musical could be cut with a knife. I am sure everyone there was thinking about what was Julie doing or thinking at that moment. The names were read off, Julie Andrews name was first to be announced to great applause. They showed a photograph of her which confirmed her absence. Then the winner’s name was announced: “Donna Murphy.” The look on Ms. Murphy’s face was that of an extremely stunned woman. All during the show before that moment I was wishing and hoping that the Tony’s would still go ahead with Julie’s nomination and the voters would make her the recipient of the Tony. Alas, it was not to be. Donna Murphy took the Golden Award, but they played her off rather abruptly. I am sure the members of the audience that night were relieved after that particular category was presented. Everyone could breathe again. I was still quite angry for a long time after that night.

Camelot with Julie and Richard Burton

The Tonys should have given Julie Andrews an Honorary Tony for all of the attention Broadway received because of her magnificent performances. It is hard to believe that she has never won a Tony Award. After all, she was in such shows as: “The Boy Friend” (her first appearance on Broadway and her introduction to the United States); “My Fair Lady”; “Camelot”; “Putting It Together” and “Victor/Victoria.”

Shortly after Victor/Victoria closed, Julie was to have her throat surgery which had notoriously bad results. It made it impossible for Julie to sing. The verdict was that she would never be able to sing again. It caused her to go into a deep depression. All her life, that is what she did: she sang on the stage, in films, even before the Queen of England. After losing her voice, she continued with writing books with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton and making films such as the Princess Diaries.

Academy Awards Julie won for Mary Poppins
with Audrey Hepburn who starred in My Fair Lady
Audrey took the roll only b/c Jack Warner was never
going to give it to Julie. He didn’ feel she had movie
star quality. She wouldn’t bring in the audience.

I have been a fan of Ms. Andrews since I was a young kid. The first thing I saw her in was: “Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall” – the funniest comedy/musical show I had ever seen. It was love at first sight.

Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall 1962

Following that came the film: “The Americanization of Emily” an anti-war film that showed the horror of war. It took place during WWII around the time of D-Day. It’s a comedy/drama worth seeing for Julie and James Garner’s performance and their love affair. The screenplay is brilliant, written by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted from a novel.

The Americanization of Emily

And then of course “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music.” These films made me fall in love with Julie Andrews even more. I have followed her career throughout the years and have seen all of her films and her TV specials. I was never able to see her live on Broadway. My parents were not into culture. When I was old enough I would travel to New York City frequently to take in a Broadway Show. The first one was “Hair.” I have been hooked on theatre most of my life appearing in plays and musicals, also playing an instrument in the orchestras. This all began with school productions starting in grammar school through high school.

Mary Poppins

But there is nothing like a live production of a musical and a play.

I have discovered the video on YouTube of Julie Andrews giving her speech to renounce her nominaton for Best Actress in a Musical for Victor/Victoria because the Tony’s had “egregiously overlooked” everyone in the production of V/V except her. So here it is. It, also, includes protesters and a statement by Carol Channing following Julie’s announcement. Just click on the underlined link or video below.

Julie Andrews turning down her Tony Nomination for Victor/Victoria
16 years ago today May 8th, 1996.

13 thoughts on “Julie Andrews “egregiously overlooked” Speech

  1. Hi there, I am a Julie’s fan and I have loved her work since I was a kid. I do hope she get an Honorary Tony, not only for the iconic roles she played, but also her extraordinary support to Theater, Musicals and Arts in general! I have the video of the whole speech … and I happily share it with you if you want it. Also, I am lucky enough to have the DVD of the Victor Victoria Broadway Show… and I LOVE IT. It also amazes me that Julie was 60 years old in that production and she’s absolutely stunning!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    • i apologize for taking so long to respond to your comment. time got away from me. it is nice to know another julie andrews fan. i’ve loved her since i was a child. the first time i saw her was in julie and carol at carnegie hall. love at 1st sight. i have never heard the complete “egregious” speech. i would love a copy of it. i don’t know how we would exchange it. as for the stage version of V/V, i think we have it in our collection of DVDs. i recall having seen it but that was awhile back. my s/o tried finding it but wasn’t successful. we have a great many DVDs with not enough time to watch them. julie did not even look like she was in her 50s when she did the stage version of V/V. i’m glad you found my post and hope to hear from you again. thank you, jennifer

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      • Hello Jennifer!!!!
        So happy to hear from you…! Here I am sending you the link so you can download Julie’s speech. I think it’s a memorable moment in Theater History: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3780938/Julie%20Saying%20No%20to%20Tony%27s%20Nomination%20Full%20Speech.wmv
        I still hope she gets her Tony. She really deserves it.
        Thank you! I am now familiar with your blog. Love your post about Bipolarity. I work with special kids!

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        • h! andreina, thank you for the link. i will follow it to download julie’s speech. she was so brave to stand with her people and deny her tony. who knows, maybe julie has a play in her – comedy or drama – that she could get an actual instead of an honorary tony. just a hope. thanks you again for following my blog. writing te posts on bipolar are written from deep inside of me. you are working in an honorable profession in your woring with special kids. you should be proud. i’ll get back to you after i have a chance to download and listen to the whole speech. i am looking forward to that. jennifer

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  2. Pingback: The Best and Worst of Girls Dressed As Guys in Film

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, Julie went through the ordeal of throat surgery for nodules and the surgeon screwed up the surgery. She did finally sing something in the second Princess Diaries film but at quite a low register. She went through an extreme depression, which is not surprising. Can you imagine losing an ability that identified the majority of your life and it was something that you loved doing. The thrill she got in front of an audience giving herself and her fans the excitement of seeing her perform. Victor/Victoria on Broadway really tried her vocal cords to the limits. It was traumatizing to her and it is so unfair that someone so good and marvelous should have this happen to her. It did shift her attention and began the more intense work of writing children’s books with her daughter Emma. Which she otherwise may not have found the time to do in the same capacity. Yes, she did turn down the Tony Nom for V/V. When I watched the Tony’s I still held out hope that the voters would still give the Tony to Julie anyway. It was so intense a mood up until they got to Best Actress in a Musical. When the presenters read the names, it was the most intense moments. Then they read the actors name who was honoured with the award, Donna Murphy. I was crushed. I did hold out hope. It made me angry that Donna Murphy won. She doesn’t hold a candle to Julie. No one does.

      Now as to the Carnegie Hall performance, I was so young when it was on that I had no idea who Julie and Carol were. I just knew from the moment the show started on the TV that I fell in love immediately with Julie and I thought they both were funny as Hell and worked great together. Julie became a major part of my life that night. From that point on, I followed her career with the utmost of super fan. I was so blown away every time I would see her. In anything. Her movies I saw multiple times in the theatres. The only thing I have never done is seen her in a live performance. I did talk to her on the phone when I was in High School. I called her at home. We had a very pleasant conversation and I proceeded to pass out after we both hung up. I follow her as closely as I can now. I wish she would do more films or TV. Miss having access to her acting side in films for an older audience. But I was a child and I enjoyed her book Mandy. Now I wish she would write more of YA (Young Adult) books. I would definitely read those. I am just happy she is still in the public eye and I want her to remain so and stay healthy for a very very long long time. Knock on Wood. TY again for reading my post on her. I should repost it so that others who would not necessarily go into my archives would be able to see it. It’s also quite curious but I just happened to recently, a few days ago, re-listen to her “egregiously overlooked” speech. That was very respectful of her to do that for Blake and her fellow cast members and crew. A true trooper. Carol Channing was so supportive. I loved that. Well, maybe I will write another post on her sometime in the near future. I am sure there are many things I could share. Peace to you and keep enjoying Julie. Jk the secret keeper Jennifer 😎

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