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Julie Andrews Explained Why She Felt "Evil" When She Visited The Real Von Trapp House

"Himmler took over that villa, and the atrocities there were just terrible," she told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on October 18, 2019, at 11:52 a.m. ET

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She may be one of the most beloved actors in history, adored for her angelic performances in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, but Julie Andrews has a dark secret: She's a fan of four-letter words.

"Once in a while, yes!" Andrews told BuzzFeed News' AM to DM in an interview Friday. "I'm only practically perfect in every way!"

The Hollywood legend has a new memoir out, Home Work, cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.

Walton Hamilton revealed Andrews' propensity for cursing was actually responsible for her first book in the 1970s.

"We were not keeping our rooms clean or doing our chores, and she said, 'OK, here's a game: keep your rooms clean or do your chores, and win a prize or pay a forfeit,'" recalled Walton Hamilton. "And my stepsister said, 'You have to play too,' and she said, 'What do I have to do?' And my stepsister said, 'You have to stop swearing!'"

"I hadn't realized that I had been!" recalled Andrews. "I, of course, lost immediately."

The forfeit Andrews had to pay resulted in her publishing her first children's book, Mandy, written in 1971.

Despite AM to DM not being subject to FCC guidelines on swearing (the show airs each weekday on Twitter), Andrews politely declined to curse during the interview, preferring instead to save her curse words for the right moment.

"I think I'll let people be surprised in the moment, so to speak. If I don't feel it, it won't come out."

Home Work covers Andrews' years in Hollywood, including her first film, Mary Poppins, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress.

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

"It was a fine, wonderful film to begin learning about film in general," she told BuzzFeed News, "because there were so many tricks and special effects and animation and a lot of waiting around. It taught me the essence of patience, too."

Of course, her time on The Sound of Music set is also explored — although Andrews noted they didn't film in the real Von Trapp family's actual home. "It wasn't until much later that I happened to visit the real villa where they actually lived," she said, recalling how she could "feel the evil that once permeated those walls."

"Because after they fled the country, which they had to do, as in the film, [leading Nazi Heinrich] Himmler took over that villa, and the atrocities there were just terrible," she said.

As head of the paramilitary Schutzstaffel, or SS, Himmler was one of the main architects of the Holocaust. He used the Von Trapp house as his summer residence and the building was surrounded by barbed wire and a wall said to be built by conscripted slave labor.

20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection, 20th Century Fox

The book also covers her marriage to director Blake Edwards, who struggled with depression and addiction. "There were so many great times and he was so funny and generous but yes there were difficult times too," Andrews said. "Any marriage is a bit like a graph, too?"

"It was such a busy life," she added, "and until you write about it, you don't have time to think about it because you're so busy doing it and surviving in any given moment, whether it's hard, hard work on a film set, taking the children, as every mother does, to the PTA meeting."

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