It was Maria who taught us the very classic do-re-mi. It was Mary Poppins who reminds us that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way; it was also her who taught us the longest word we can speak – supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! And it was Victoria who brought us the sounding rhythm of Le Jazz Hot. But it was Julie Andrews who made it all happen.

Julie Andrews was the darling of two major motion-pictures musicals of the 1960s. Her iconic voice has made multiple generations of Americans grow up singing songs she made famous. But it was in 1997 that the famous voice, which millions of children around the world have sung along, has been irrevocably damaged by a throat operation. Andrews went through a surgery to remove a non-cancerous polyp on her vocal cords but the result goes against her favor. She was defeated by the hands of the surgeons in the alleged medical malpractice in a 1999 lawsuit. And though she can still speak pretty well and can still hit a few bass notes, her soprano voice was long gone.

Photo by Harper’s Bazaar

Andrews still sang publicly several times since then but called those ‘speak-singing’. Now, decades after the botched surgery, Andrews reveals that her vocal trauma forced her to develop other creative outlets: rediscovering her voice in her books and in directing theater.

Paraphrasing a line from her Sound of Music character Maria von Trapp, Andrews noted that “when one door closes, another window opens.”