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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 11:38 GMT
Andrews sues over lost voice

Andrews has not been able to sing since having throat surgery

Sound of Music star Julie Andrews has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a New York hospital for damage to her singing voice during vocal surgery.

The 64-year-old claims that the operation in 1997, to remove a small nodule from her vocal chords, ruined her ability to sing and "precluded (her) from practising her profession as a musical performer".

She is asking for "substantial damages" to be paid by Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital to compensate for her subsequent loss of earnings.

Andrews is also seeking punitive damages from Scott Kessler and Jeffrey Libin - the doctors who performed the medical procedure.

"Singing has been a cherished a gift, and my inability to sing has been a devastating blow," said the star.

Lost talent

British-born Andrews, who has been married to US movie director Blake Edwards for 30 years, shot to international stardom in the Sixties movie musicals Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

Julie Andrews in her heyday
She was in the original Broadway versions of Camelot and My Fair Lady and the stage version of Victor/Victoria.

In 1997, after missing more than 30 performances of the show, she quit to have surgery on a non-cancerous nodule in her throat.

Jennifer Edwards - Blake Edwards's daughter from a previous marriage - told the US magazine People that doctors at the Manhattan hospital had assured Andrews she would be singing again within six weeks.

"Now it's been two years, and it (her singing voice) still hasn't returned," said Ms Edwards.

Acting work

In August, Andrews told the Los Angeles Times that she has not given up the struggle to regain her voice.

Her most recent projects however have been as an actress, not a singer. She has just finished work on a British film version of the Noel Coward comedy Relative Values.

Last month, TV viewers in the US saw her in the 1999 movie One Special Night on CBS which reunited her with James Garner, her co-star in 1964's The Americanisation of Emily and the movie Victor/Victoria.

Andrews's other films include Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Tamarind Seed, Duet for One and A Fine Romance, in which she played opposite Marcello Mastroianni, in 1992.

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See also:
19 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Ovation for ailing Dudley
31 Aug 99 |  Entertainment
Andrews voices singing hopes
14 May 99 |  Entertainment
Andrews denies 'painkiller addiction'
20 Nov 98 |  Entertainment
Andrews 'may never sing again'
03 Sep 99 |  UK
Cinemas alive with the sound of music

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