- The Disney classic “Mary Poppins” is 54 years old.
- “Mary Poppins Returns” premieres this holiday season and is a continuation of the Mary Poppins universe.
- INSIDER looked back at the original film and cast to find out what they were up to before the movie was released.
The Disney classic “Mary Poppins” may be 54 years old, but its influence has withstood the test of time, so much so that Disney chose to carry on the magic by creating “Mary Poppins Returns.” The film is a continuation of the Mary Poppins universe starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
INSIDER took a trip down memory lane to remember the cast of the original version, what they were doing before the film was released, and what they are up to now.
Julie Andrews became a household name in her first box office role.
While many may know her from “The Sound of Music” or “The Princess Diaries,” “Mary Poppins” was actually the role that skyrocketed Julie Andrews’ fame. Before she took it on at 29 years old, Andrews only had a few television movie credits to her name. “Mary Poppins” was her first hit, and the next year she went on to star in “The Sound of Music” as Maria.
She recently returned to acting after a seven-year hiatus.
Andrews continued to perform consistently throughout the years until 2010, earning herself an Oscar for “Mary Poppins” and several Academy Awards, Golden Globe, Emmy, and BAFTA awards.
Following the death of her husband at the end of 2010, Andrews significantly decreased her acting work, only making sporadic guest appearances until she re-entered the Hollywood scene in 2017. Most recently, she lent her voice to 2018s “Aquaman” and 2017s “Despicable Me 3.”
Dick Van Dyke was in the midst of his titular sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” before being cast as “Bert” in the movie.
Dick Van Dyke was arguably the most famous cast member when he took on the roles of Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. He was the star of his own sitcom, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” at just 36 years old and was nominated for his first Primetime Emmy the year before for his contribution to the series.
His role in “Mary Poppins” would also bring him a slew of other accolades, including a Grammy and a Golden Globe nomination.
His most recent acting credit is a reprisal of one of his roles in the original “Mary Poppins.”
Dick Van Dyke is still active in Hollywood today at 93 years old. He’s consistently held roles in major titles, including “Night at the Museum,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” and “Diagnosis Murder.” He’s even contributed to the new version of Mary Poppins, appearing in a cameo role.
David Tomlinson had been acting for 23 years before taking on Mr. Banks.
At 47 years old, David Tomlinson was an institution in the film community with a whopping 46 credits before taking on the role as the Banks family patriarch in 1964. Shortly after “Mary Poppins,” he would go on to star in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and “The Love Bug.”
He stopped acting in 1980 and passed away in 2000 at the age of 83.
By the time Tomlinson retired from acting in 1980, he had been in the business for 40 years. Twenty years later, he died at the age of 83 after a series of strokes, according to the BBC. Of his character, Tomlinson’s son James said, “He was always an actor and that was his passion. Although he chose to give it up in 1979 and enjoyed spending time with his family, he stayed in touch with the actors of today.”
Glynis Johns was at the height of her career when she played Mrs. Banks.
Film and stage actress Glynis Johns was the most experienced actress at the time of the “Mary Poppins” release in 1964. She had been acting for nearly 30 years at that point and had been nominated for a Golden Globe the previous year for her lead role in “The Chapman Report.”
Johns retired in 1999 and recently turned 95 years old.
Johns rounded out her acting career in 1999 with her role as “Grandma” in the Molly Shannon romantic comedy, “Superstar.” At that point, she had been acting for 61 years and had just turned 76 three days before the movie’s premiere. She is now 95 years old.
Matthew Garber’s second of three acting credits was as young Michael Banks in the movie.
At just 7 years old, Matthew Garber played the mischievous Michael Banks in the original production. He starred alongside Karen Dotrice as the little brother of her Jane Banks, which was his second time co-starring with the fellow child actor.
The two previously worked together on “The Three Lives of Thomasina” in 1963, and would later work together in 1967s in “The Gnome-Mobile.”
Garber died at 21 from pancreatitis.
Matthew Garber only had three acting credits to his name and followed up “Mary Poppins” with “The Gnome-Mobile” in 1967 when he was 11 years old. But 10 years later, he contracted hepatitis, which later progressed into pancreatitis, according to Glamour. He died at age 21 in London.
One of Karen Dotrice’s very first roles was Jane Banks at just 9 years old.
At just 9 years old, Karen Dotrice embodied the elder Banks child, Jane. It was only her second acting role at the time, with her first role in another Disney movie “The Three Lives of Thomasina” in 1963.
She only has a few acting credits to her name, but made a cameo in “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Dotrice acted on and off between 1963 and 1987 before taking a break until 2005 when she appeared in two episodes of “Youngblades” as a schoolteacher. She’s made a brief appearance for “Mary Poppins Returns” as the character “Elegant Woman.” According to HelloGiggles, she retired to commit herself to her three children and now spends her time as a “Disney Legend” and often meets young fans.
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