A warm, entertaining memoir covering the actor’s Hollywood years, from Mary Poppins to That's Life!
In this follow-up to Home: A Memoir of My Early Years (2008), the author devotes equal time to home and work in the period from 1963 to 1986. Her home life was anything but serene. During this period, her marriage to production and costume designer Tony Walton broke up—mostly, writes Andrews, because they were never in the same place at the same time. Their daughter, Emma, co-author of this book, split her time between her parents, and Andrews remarried, this time to director Blake Edwards. His children didn't assimilate easily into the new blended family, and he had a number of problems of his own, including hypochondria, an addiction to prescription pills, a hot temper, and a tendency to be drawn toward “lonely, fragile and usually very pretty young women.” The couple went on to adopt two children from Vietnam while Andrews attempted to deal with an alcoholic mother and stepfather. Meanwhile, she was making movies both successful—notably The Sound of Music—and less so, such as her husband's remake of The Man Who Loved Women. While Andrews is too discreet and canny to settle any scores or burn any bridges with her Hollywood colleagues, and she remains guardedly respectful toward most of her co-workers, she knows how to spin a yarn. Even her experience with the notoriously difficult Alfred Hitchcock comes off as remarkably pleasant, as she describes him explaining which camera lenses would make her look best. Andrews does let loose in her memories of a horrific day during the filming of Hawaii, during which director George Roy Hill seemed to be “getting a slight kick” out of repeated takes of her skirt being set on fire. Entries from the author’s journals add a sense of immediacy, and she ends her account on an up note: “I am profoundly blessed.” That may be true, but it’s also hard not to admire the grit that took her through some taxing personal and professional struggles.
An insightful treat for Andrews' fans.