It’s been 57 years since practically perfect Mary Poppins flew onto our screens with her magical umbrella and spoonfuls of sugar.
It became the highest-grossing film of 1964 and, at the time of its release, was Disney’s highest-grossing film ever.
The beloved children’s film received 13 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture – a record for any film released by Walt Disney Studios – and won five: Best Actress for Julie Andrews, Best Film Editing, Best Original Music Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Song for Chim Chim Cher-ee, chimney sweep Bert’s famous tune.
In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Mary Poppins is considered Walt Disney’s crowning live-action achievement, and is the only one of his films which earned a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime.
While many cast members went on to become Hollywood royalty, others were blighted by illness, depression, and one died incredibly young.
Here is a look at where the cast of Mary Poppins are now.
Dame Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews played the practically perfect Mary Poppins, and since then has gone on to have a successful career spanning almost eight decades.
A year after Mary Poppins, Julie landed the lead in The Sound of Music, which earned her an Academy Award.
But shortly afterwards, she was tragically robbed of the singing voice that had made her a star in a botched operation.
“If it had happened earlier, it would have been really devastating. As it was, it was devastating,” she told People magazine.
“For a while, I was in total denial… I thought at the time, my voice was what I am.”
She later sued the two doctors and her case was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2000.
The actress continued to perform consistently until 2010, appearing in films like Star, Victor/Victoria, A Fine Romance, and The Princess Diaries series, opposite Anne Hathaway.
She has won a British Academy Film Award, an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards.
Julie was made a Disney Legend in 1991, and has been honoured with a Honorary Golden Lion as well as the AFI Life Achievement Award.
In 2000, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts.
Julie also had a successful voice-acting career, with credits in Shrek films, Enchanted and the Despicable Me series.
Following the death of her husband Blake Edwards at the end of 2010, Julie took a break from acting before returning in 2017 for the Netflix series Julie’s Greenroom, which was nominated for two Emmys.
More recently, she voiced a role in Aquaman, as well as Lady Whistledown in Netflix’s Bridgerton.
Dick Van Dyke – Bert
Bert was the one-man band, chimney sweep and kite seller with a terrible Cockney accent and a big crush on Mary.
But during their days on set, actor Dick Van Dyke was hiding a dark secret – he was in the grips of alcoholism.
He was so desperate to get sober that he entered rehab twice, and when that failed he fell into a suicidal depression.
“We moved to a neighbourhood full of young families with the same age kids and everyone drank heavily, there were big parties every night. I would go to work with terrible hangovers which if you’re dancing is really hard,” he told the Telegraph.
“I was in deep trouble, you get suicidal and think you just can’t go on. I had suicidal feelings, it was just terrible. But then suddenly, like a blessing, the drink started not to taste good. I would feel a little dizzy and a little nauseous and I wasn’t getting the click. Today I wouldn’t want a drink for anything.”
After finally winning his 25-year battle with addiction, he returned to screens with Diagnosis Murder in 1993.
Dick would go on to appear in films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dick Tracy, and the Night at the Museum series with Ben Stiller.
He would also host a variety of CBS shows including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and The Van Dyke Show.
His acting prowess has won him five Primetime Emmys, a Tony, and a Grammy Award, and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995.
He received the Screen Actors Guild’s highest honour, the SAG Life Achievement Award, in 2013, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard and has also been recognised as a Disney Legend.
In 2018, he surprised fans with a cameo in Mary Poppins Returns as Mr. Dawes Jr, and during filming the cast members were all reduced to tears by how emotional his return was.
Most recently, Dick, now 95, appeared on several episodes of Jim Carrey’s Showtime series Kidding.
Matthew Garber – Michael Banks
Brit star Matthew Garber played Michael Banks in Mary Poppins but retired from acting aged 10.
He unknowingly contracted hepatitis while in India in 1976, but by the time his father managed to get him home in 1977, it had already spread to his pancreas.
He tragically died from hemorrhagic necrotising pancreatitis at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London, aged just 21.
His brother Fergus, who was 13 when Matthew died, denied claims his brother contracted hepatitis by using drugs and said it had probably come from eating infected meat.
Garber was posthumously named a Disney Legend in 2004, and his brother accepted the award on his behalf.
Karen Dotrice – Jane Banks
After playing Jane Banks in Mary Poppins, Karen Dotrice, now 65, appeared in five television programmes between 1972 and 1978, when she made her only feature film as an adult.
Her life as an actress concluded with a short run as Desdemona in the 1981 pre-Broadway production of Othello.
In 1984, she retired from show business to focus on motherhood – she has three children from two marriages – though she has provided commentary for various Disney projects and has resumed making public appearances, including a cameo in Mary Poppins Returns in 2018.
She was named a Disney Legend in 2004.
Speaking on the Mary Poppins 40th anniversary DVD, Karen admitted she regretted not staying close to Matthew before his death.
“I remember his mum, Margot, calling […] to let us know that Matthew had died. That was – so unexpected,” she said.
“I wished I had picked up the phone over the years, I wished I had treated him more like a brother; but he’s indelibly printed in all of our minds, he’s eternal. An amazing little soul.”
David Tomlinson – George Banks
After his role as George Banks, David Tomlinson appeared in The Love Bug and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Throughout the rest of Tomlinson’s film career, he never steered far from comedies. His final acting appearance was in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu in 1980, which was also the final film of Peter Sellers.
David retired from acting at age 63 to spend more time with his family – though in 1992, at the age of 75, he appeared on the Wogan talk show hosted by the late Terry Wogan.
David was widowed aged just 26 when his wife jumped from a hotel with her two sons just weeks after they’d married.
Popperfoto via Getty Images)
Mary Lindsay Hiddingh’s first husband had been killed in action, leaving her to raise her two boys, Michael, eight, and John, six, alone.
Reportedly despondent over not being able to bring her children to the UK to be with David, Mary and the children plunged 15 floors on December 2, 1943, leaving him devastated.
He later married actress Audrey Freeman in May 1953 and they stayed together for 47 years until his death from a stroke in his sleep in 2002, aged 83.
Glynis Johns – Winifred Banks
Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Glynis Johns was at the height of her career when she played Mrs Banks.
Now 97 years old, Glynis is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
Aside from her Mary Poppins role, she is best known for creating the role of Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music on Broadway, for which she won a Tony Award.
She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 1960 film The Sundowners, and upon the death of Olivia de Havilland in 2020, became the oldest living Academy Award nominee in an acting category.
Her last film appearance to date was as the grandmother of Molly Shannon’s character in the 1999 film Superstar.
Glynis has been married four times – her first husband was Anthony Forwood from 1942-48, with whom she had her only child, actor Gareth Forwood, who died in 2007 from cancer complications.
She was married to David Foster, a Royal Navy officer and later president of Colgate-Palmolive, from 1952-1956.
She married Cecil Henderson, a businessman, in 1960 – but their marriage lasted less than a year.
Glynis then married writer Elliott Arnold in 1964, and they were together until his death in 1980.
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