Actress Julie Andrews, who famously sang "Do-Re-Mi," has settled her malpractice lawsuit over a 1997 throat operation that she claimed ruined her professional singing career, Reuters reported Sept. 7.
The terms of the settlement against two doctors at New York City's Mt. Sinai Hospital were not disclosed. She filed the lawsuit in Manhattan in Dec. 14, 1999.
"I am glad to have settled this case in a favorable manner and am glad to close this chapter on an event which was unfortunate for all concerned,'' Andrews said in a statement.
Andrews, 64, who made her fame in the stage version of My Fair Lady and the films "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music," charged last year that doctors botched her throat surgery to remove a small polyp in 1997. She was left, she said, with hoarseness, vocal chord damage and other complications, Reuters reported.
"I think she's still doing rehabilitative exercises,'' Andrews' publicist, Gene Schwam, said. "She's continuing to do what she can under medical supervision to improve her condition.'' "Singing has been a cherished gift, and my inability to sing has been a devastating blow,'' Andrews said in a 1999 statement.
In fall 1998, Andrews' husband, Blake Edwards, told the world that he didn't think Andrews would ever sing again.
Andrews publicly dismissed Edwards' negativity about her hoarse condition, and was reportedly angry over the breach of privacy.
However, on ABC’s "20/20" Feb. 12, 1999, the legendary musical theatre and film actress Andrews (My Fair Lady, Camelot, "Mary Poppins," "The Sound of Music") told Barbara Walters that, in fact, she can't sing and doctors don't give her much hope of doing so.
She will try, she said at the time.
"To not sing with an orchestra, to not be able to communicate through my voice which I've done all my life and not to be able to phrase lyrics and give people that kind of joy, I think I would be totally devastated," Andrews told Walters in the interview.
Will she sing?
"Well I can only say I hope so," Andrews said. "I have to be optimistic. I think to some degree I'm in… a form of denial about it."
Andrews has performed on stage since her childhood in England. She won acclaim in The Boyfriend in London and came to the U.S. where her clarion soprano voice in Broadway's My Fair Lady and Camelot earned her Hollywood offers and subsequent international acclaim for films of "The Sound of Music" and "Mary Poppins."
She returned to the stage for Victor/Victoria in 1995, reprising her 1982 film role. The film and stage show were both directed by Edwards. She missed several weeks of performances due to various health problems.
Prior to Victor/Victoria she had earlier performed Off-Broadway's Stephen Sondheim revue, Putting It Together, which yielded a cast album. She has also recorded two solo albums, "Julie Andrews Broadway: The Music of Richard Rodgers" and an Alan Jay Lerner disc, in the past several years.
Recent non-singing appearances for Andrews included the June 8, 1998, Cameron Mackintosh tribute, "Hey, Mr. Producer," in London and a Sept. 28, 1998, Carnegie Hall Diva Concert.
-- By Kenneth Jones