'Mary Poppins' Child Actress Dishes on Experience

By ROBERT PACE

December 11, 2013

Nearly 50 years after she starred in Mary Poppins as Jane at age 8, Karen Dotrice reflects back upon her experience on the film and with producer Walt Disney.

"For us, it was just a really happy and exciting experience," Dotrice said at Monday's Saving Mr. Banks premiere of her and fellow child actor Matthew Garber's experience working on Mary Poppins, which was released 50 years from this coming August.

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The former child actress says that while she was close with Walt Disney, whom she referred to as "Uncle Walt," she was intrigued to learn a few tidbits about his life from the new film Saving Mr. Banks, which centers upon the lives of Disney and Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers.

"What suddenly made a difference to me was realizing why Uncle Walt had been so kind to me. ... I was eight, and as it turns out, in seeing 'Saving Mr. Banks,' Walt was eight when he was sent out to work for his father in snow and rain and [had a] horrible experience, and P.L. Travers was eight when her father died. So, I think there was the magic eights that made them give me and my family an incredible, magical experience."

Having known Disney personally, Dotrice commented on Tom Hanks' portrayal of the late animated film icon in Mr. Banks.

"If he could have cast somebody to play himself, I think he would've picked Tom Hanks," she opined. "Tom Hanks does a stellar job. I used to know Uncle Walt very well, and the thing that amazed me when I saw 'Saving Mr. Banks' the other week is that Tom and Walt have the same eyes, the same kind of sparkly eyes. There's something totally similar."

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Just in time for the holidays, the 50th anniversary edition of Mary Poppins has been released on Blu-ray for the first time.

Watch the video above to see clips from the Blu-ray release of Mary Poppins as well as interviews with stars of the 1964 musical fantasy film Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke on Tom Hanks' performance in Saving Mr. Banks, in theaters December 13.



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