Skip to content

Julie Andrews Was "Condescending and Mean," According to This Co-Star

The actors worked together on a 1966 film, and according to a biography, didn't get along.

She's known for playing sweet and comforting characters in movies such as The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, but according to one of Julie Andrews' co-stars, her actual personality didn't always match that of her famous roles. In a biography of the co-star, Andrews' fellow actor claimed that she was "condescending and mean." The actor even said he had "rarely, if ever, experienced such hatred for a person." Read on to find out who spoke about Andrews in such a way and to learn more about their time together.

READ THIS NEXT: Aretha Franklin Feuded With This Star for Years: "We've Never Been Friends."

They starred together in a 1966 film.

Richard Harris and Julie Andrews in "Hawaii"
United Artists

In 1966, Andrews' film career was still very new, but she had already made what would be two of her biggest movies. She moved from theater to film in 1964 with her debut, Mary Poppins. Then, in 1965, she starred in The Sound of Music. The following year, she was in the drama Hawaii, which co-starred Richard Harris and Max von Sydow.

Harris was not fond of Andrews.

Richard Harris at the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in 2001
Everett Collection / Shuttestock

As reported by the Mirror, Harris talked about working with Andrews with his biographer, Michael Feeney Callan, for the book Richard Harris: The Biography. Harris said that he had "rarely, if ever, experienced such hatred for a person" as he did for Andrews.

The Gladiator actor continued, "She was condescending and mean. I'm sure she saw how much I was enjoying myself, and I thought that annoyed her." He added, "She would say something, all quiet and conspiratorial, to the director, and I would shout 'Did you say something, Jules?' which just [expletive] her." Harris died in 2002.

For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Andrews responded to his comments decades later.

Julie Andrews at the 2019 Venice Film Festival
Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock

During a 2015 interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Andrews was asked about Harris, particularly about him reportedly saying her "steely ambition" was "ugly to behold." The reporter said that it seemed like something a man might say about a successful woman but not a successful man. Andrews laughed and replied, "I guess you're right about that. Indeed, you are right."

The reporter then wondered if the comment might have been fueled by jealousy, to which Andrews responded, "I think at that time he was probably knocking back the beer quite a lot. It could have just come out of that."

She had tension with another star, too.

Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in "My Fair Lady"
Bettmann / Getty Images

Harris isn't the only actor who had an issue with Andrews early in her career. As reported by the Mirror, Rex Harrison, Andrews' co-star in the original production of the musical My Fair Lady, threatened to quit because of her. "If that [expletive] is here on Monday, I'm quitting the show," he said, according to the book Showstoppers!: The Surprising Backstage Stories of Broadway's Most Remarkable Songs by Gerald Nachman.

Andrews wrote about the tension between them herself in her memoir, Home. "He was tall and thin, his clothes exquisitely tailored. He was sophisticated, with a clear sense of himself, albeit somewhat egocentric. He was definitely the center of attention," she wrote of Harrison (via Tatler). "He was, quite rightly, making a stink about this silly little English girl who couldn't manage the role. Apparently he once said something like, 'if you don't get rid of that [expletive], you won't have a show." As we now know, Harrison and Andrews both stuck around, and the show was a big hit and later a movie, though Audrey Hepburn was given the film role over Andrews.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
Filed Under