don dagradi

Originally Walt Disney had considered Mary Martin, Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury for the part of Mary Poppins based on the cold characterization portrayed in the P.L. Travers books. The Walt Disney Studio (with the Shermans and co-writer Don DaGradi acting as the studio’s sort-of ‘advance’ team) first considered 'Julie Andrews’ after seeing her on Ed Sullivan's The Ed Sullivan Show  in January 1961 do excerpts from 'Camelot’, the show she was appearing in on Broadway. About a month later, Walt Disney himself went to New York, caught the show, and sounded out Julie backstage after the show. (The show was of double interest to Disney because his The Sword in the Stone animated feature was based on the first book of T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King.” “Camelot” was based on the 4th book of the same novel.) It was at that February 1961 backstage meeting that Disney first sounded Andrews out, including inviting Julie’s husband at the time, designer Tony Walton, to check things out in California relative to doing “Mary Poppins”. While there was an open offer to Andrews, she of course, did not commit until the day after Warner Brothers announced that Audrey Hepburn would be doing My Fair Lady for them.