When it comes to Julie Andrews‘ health, she knows better than anyone that just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The 82-year-old singer and actress — known for her timeless roles in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and of course, her illustrious Broadway career — has been outspoken about her health ever since undergoing vocal chord surgery in 1997.
When she awoke from the surgery — the goal of which was to remove noncanerous nodules from her vocal chords — her gorgeous singing voice was all but destroyed. “If it had happened earlier, it would have been really devastating,” she once told People of her trauma. “As it was, it was devastating.”
Julie posing with Ken Berry.
“I thought at the time [of the surgery], my voice was what I am. But it seems it’s not all that I am,” the actress, who went on to star and sing in The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2 with Anne Hathaway, added.
And what’s more, Julie learned to rise out of her health nightmare by becoming an advocate for vocal health. Earlier this year, she attended the Raise Your Voice Gala alongside vocalists like Sam Smith and Roger Daltrey in order to bring awareness to the importance of vocal health.
“[It’s important to be at the Raise Your Voice Gala] because for all of us, we use our voices,” she said at the event. “Vocal health is unbelievably important, so many people don’t think about it. We take them for granted, if we weren’t able to speak or use our voices, then where would we be?”
Julie with singer Sam Smith.
The Academy Award winner continued, “When you think about it, to have cancer, to be a child that’s had a tracheal tube placed down his throat because it couldn’t breathe. To be a teacher or an auditor who speaks, or a clergymen — they all use their voices and without them, it would be an extremely difficult thing to do their work. I’m just trying to focus more attention on that and how important it is to keep a voice healthy.”
Aside from campaigning on the behalf of vocal health, Julie seems to be doing very well as she approaches her 90s. In fact, she’s still working — her latest project is a Netflix show, Julie’s Greenroom, in which puppets put on their own musicals, using Julie as their mentor.