Mary Poppins cast now – addiction, botched operation and murder-suicide tragedy

Iconic Disney movie Mary Poppins was based on the book series of the same name, and told the story of a sweeter than sugar nanny and the children she looked after.

Sadly, a number of the cast members' lives were filled with tragedy, shocking deaths and illnesses.

The film was released in 1964 and nominated for 13 Academy Awards.

It won five, including Best Actress for lead star Julie Andrews, Best Score and Best Original Song for Chim Chim Cher-ee, and to this day it is the Disney film with the most awards.

Now, as Jane actress Karen Dotrice celebrates her 66th birthday, Daily Star takes a look at what she and her co-stars have been up to since

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews played Mary Poppins herself in the 1964 Disney classic and became a household name from there on out.

Her breakout role as the Edwardian childminder led her to play the main character in another legendary film, Maria von Trapp in The Sound Of Music.

Andrews underwent an operation in 1997 that resulted in the loss of her four-octave singing voice, later filing for a lawsuit in 1999 which reached a settlement.

More recently, she starred as Queen Clarisse Renaldi in The Princess Diaries, Queen Lillian in the Shrek franchise and Marlena Gru in Despicable Me.

She is the star of Julie’s Greenroom, an educational series featuring puppets made by the Jim Henson Company, and earned a reported £1.4million from narrating the period drama Bridgerton, Netflix’s second most popular show of all time.

The star was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, a hereditary condition that stops part of the brain, and was married to director Blake Edwards.

They remained together until his death in 2010, caused by complications of pneumonia.

Dick Van Dyke

Before he played the loveable chimney sweep Bert in the sixties, Van Dyke, 95, was already a popular star of the screen, hosting his own sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.

Van Dyke struggled with shyness and covered it by drinking alcohol, which led to an addiction he was later treated for in 1972.

Speaking in 2020, he said: "I drank at home, but instead of having a martini, I would have three or four martinis. I had no idea that I had addiction in my personality."

This resulted in a depression that he dealt with for many years, and in a 2013 interview he opened up about how he felt: "I was in deep trouble, you get suicidal and think you just can't go on."

Whilst playing Bert, Van Dyke also undertook the minor role of banker Mr Dawes Sr, a role he returned to as his successor Mr Dawes Jr in the 2018 sequel.

Viewers didn’t recognise him as the elderly banker in the original Mary Poppins due to the special effects makeup.

He went on to play Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and antagonist Cecil Fredericks in Night At The Museum.

David Tomlinson

Father of the unruly Banks children, George Banks advertises for a new nanny and begins the story.

George is played by David Tomlinson, who had over 20 years of acting experience before he landed the role.

He went on to play Professor Emelius Browne in another Disney classic, Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Despite charming audiences for over 40 years, the actor’s personal life was deeply tragic.

Tomlinson discovered that his father had a secret second family and he suggested David take the name Tomlinson as his father was worried his secret would be revealed.

Tragedy struck David after he married his first wife Mary in 1943.

She killed herself and her two sons in a murder–suicide after jumping from the 15th floor of a hotel in New York City.

The actor died in June 2000 at the age of 83.

Matthew Garber

The child actor stole the show as the adorable Michael Banks, but only took on two more acting roles in The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Gnome-Mobile before retiring.

Garber died in 1977 at just 21 years old from pancreatitis, a condition that developed from a hepatitis infection he caught whilst travelling, and was posthumously named a Disney Legend in 2004.

Karen Dotrice

After playing oldest sibling Jane, Karen went on to Broadway productions before retiring from acting to focus on her children in 1984.

She has provided commentary for Disney projects since and made a cameo appearance in the sequel Mary Poppins Returns.

Dotrice can be seen walking down Cherry Tree Lane, the location of the original Banks’ household, asking adult Jane for directions, and then disappears.

She was named as a Disney Legend in 2004, and whilst speaking on the Mary Poppins 40th anniversary DVD she admitted she wished she had remained close with Matthew before he died.

“I remember his mum calling to let us know that Matthew had died," she said.

"That was so unexpected. I wished I had picked up the phone over the years, I wished I had treated him more like a brother, but he’s indelibly printed in all of our minds, he’s eternal. An amazing little soul."

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