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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Lifetime award for Julie Andrews
Dame Julie Andrews
Dame Julie has been unable to sing since a throat operation in 1997
Actress Dame Julie Andrews is to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

Dame Julie, 70, came to international attention when she played the role of Eliza Doolittle in the original stage production of My Fair Lady.

She won a best actress Oscar for her film debut, Mary Poppins, in 1964, but is perhaps best known as Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

The SAG Awards will be held in Los Angeles on 28 January, 2007.

Recent winners of the Guild's lifetime achievement award include Shirley Temple, Clint Eastwood and James Garner.

Dame Julie, who is married to director Blake Edwards, has been one of the world's best-loved screen and stage stars for more than 40 years.

Born and raised in England, she moved to the US in the wake of the success of My Fair Lady.

But she lost the lead role to Audrey Hepburn in the film version of the musical, and was given the part of Mary Poppins as a consolation.

That film and The Sound of Music helped to cement her in the minds of the public as a squeaky-clean leading lady.

It was an image she was keen to shed, and later she appeared in the risque comedy 10 and even switched genders in the film and stage show Victor/Victoria.

Vocal drama

But in 1997, she had to cancel several Broadway performances of the gender-bending comedy after suffering from voice trouble.

A subsequent operation to remove a small polyp from her vocal cords caused serious damage to her voice.

For years, the actress feared she would no longer be able to sing professionally, and she settled a malpractice claim with two doctors at New York's Mount Sinai hospital over the operation.

However, by 2004, her voice had recovered sufficiently to allow her to perform a musical number in the Disney film The Princess Diaries 2.

The song, called Your Crowning Glory, was written in a limited vocal range so it was not too demanding.

The actress was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2000 for lifetime achievements in the arts and humanities.

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