About Rex Harrison, cont'd.

When songwriters Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe approached him about a musical they wanted him to star in, Rex was doubtful. The new play was to be a musical version of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," and Rex, a Shaw-devotee, was not at all enthused by the idea. Beyond that, he'd never performed in a musical, and seriously doubted he was capable of doing so.

But Lerner and Loewe persisted and eventually "My Fair Lady" was born, and of course, Henry Higgins would become Rex's signature role and the one he is best remembered for today.

With Julie Andrews as Eliza, "My Fair Lady" would break all records in New York (1956-57) and London (1958-59), and the 1964 film version would win Rex the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Rex and Julie Andrews in the theater production of "My Fair Lady", 1956

 

The film version of "My Fair Lady", 1964, with Audrey Hepburn

When casting decisions were being made for the movie of "My Fair Lady", Julie Andrews was deemed not a big enough star for such an important role.  Warner Brothers chose the immensely popular Audrey Hepburn to play Eliza in the film.  Ironically, by the time the Academy Awards for that year came about, Julie Andrews had starred in the wonderful "Mary Poppins", and she won the Best Actress Oscar for it.

Academy Awards, 1965. Rex with his two 'fair ladies', Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews

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