For sale: Julie Andrews’ £16.5m Wimbledon mansion

For sale: Julie Andrews’ £16.5m Wimbledon mansion

Dame Julie Andrews’ rise to stardom may have seemed predestined, but she did receive one major early snub.

To her credit, she gave back much better than she got.

In 1956, Andrews starred as Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway musical production of My Fair Lady to great critical acclaim – even more so once she toned down her cockney accent for the unaccustomed American ears.

The lyricist Alan Ray Lerner had hoped that she would return to the part in the 1962 film adaptation. But he was shot down by Jack Warner, the studio head of Warner Bros. He deemed Andrews too low-profile to be a certain financial bet.

Andrews was spurned in favour of Audrey Hepburn, even though most of her singing had to be dubbed. Warner’s defence was that “Audrey Hepburn had never made a financial flop”. The 12-bedroom house was divided into three separate wings but has since been reconverted to a single family home A movie producer named Walt Disney had a very different approach. He asked Andrews to play the title role in his film Mary Poppins . When Andrews turned down the role because she was pregnant, Disney said: “We’ll wait for you.”

P. L. Travers, the book’s author, called to woo her. “Well, you’re much too pretty of course. But you’ve got the nose for it,” he said.

Disney’s gamble paid off. Mary Poppins became the studio’s biggest box office hit. Andrews received awards for best actress both at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, trumping the direct competition from My Fair Lady . The house is £16.5m with Knight Frank In her acceptance speech at the latter, Andrews took pleasure in taking cool revenge. She said: “And, finally, my thanks to a man who made a wonderful movie and who made all this possible in the first place, Mr Jack Warner.”

Homebuyers who would perhaps like to imbue some of Andrews’ flair can purchase her former London home, a Grade II-listed mansion on Wimbledon Common in south-west London .

West Lodge was designed by the Victorian architect Edward J May and has 12 bedrooms. It is so large, that when The Sound of Music star lived there in the 1960s, she only occupied a portion of the house. It had been divided into three separate wings.

It has since undergone a reconversion back into a single family dwelling . The grand, gabled property has stone mullioned bay windows, a mature wisteria growing across the back of the house and a chim chim cher-ee of chimneys that would make Dick van Dyke weep. It is £16.5m with Knight Frank.

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