On Saturday, I sat in a conference room at the University Bookstore (“Not very glamorous!” a staffer apologetically observed) and had a long, delightful one-on-one conversation with Julie Andrews. She was in town to promote her latest children’s book, and I was lucky enough to be able to arrange an interview with her. And yes, I was star-struck, more so than I can remember being with any other interview (among them Tom Cruise, Colin Firth, Jon Hamm, Penelope Cruz, Clive Owen . . .. ) — because this was the first time I’d interviewed someone who’d been a genuine presence in my life, since childhood. I remember playing my soundtrack albums to “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music” over and over, trying to imitate her inimitable voice. Years later, I read her memoir “Home”, and was struck both by her writing ability (she didn’t use a ghostwriter, and has a real gift with prose) and her graceful, humble persona that demonstrated, throughout an early life that was often difficult, a remarkable ability to understand and forgive. So I was a little anxious before meeting her on Saturday — what if she wasn’t the person I’d built her up to be? — but I needn’t have worried. She was utterly lovely: friendly, informal, thoughtful, engaging, funny, warm . . . in short, practically perfect in every way. I need to get busy writing up the interview for Sunday’s paper, so I won’t elaborate here, but Saturday’s interview is one I’ll long remember.
April 30, 2012 at 12:28 PM