NEW YORK -- It may take a big spoonful of sugar to make this go down: Julie Andrews says that her four-octave voice is not coming back.
The Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress said in a recent interview that a botched operation to remove noncancerous throat nodules in 1997 hasn't gotten better. It has permanently limited her range and her ability to hold notes.
"The operation that I had left me without a voice and without a certain piece of my vocal chords," said Andrews, who starred in such quintessential stage and film musicals as "The Sound of Music," "My Fair Lady" and "Mary Poppins."
The actress says she can still speak "pretty well" and can still hit a few bass notes, "So if you wanted a rendition of 'Old Man River' you might get it, but I'm not singing as much these days."
Andrews has sung publicly several times since then including a performance in the 2004 film "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" and in a 2010 London concert, but called those "speak-singing."
The 77-year old, however, says she has rediscovered her voice in her books and in directing theater.
Her latest children's book, "Little Bo in London: The Ultimate Adventure of Bonnie Boadicea" has just been released by Harper Collins. It's the fourth and final book in the series about a possibly magical ship's cat that travels the world with the man who rescued her. It's the 27th book she's co-written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.
She's also directing a musical theater adaptation of another of her books, "The Great American Mousical." The show, about a troop of acting mice living beneath the floors of a famous Broadway theater, is being performed at the Goodspeed Theatre in Connecticut through Sunday. Andrews thinks it "would do very well on Broadway," where she says she would like to direct and produce.
Andrews says in a strange way that she feels fortunate that she no longer can sing because it pushed her to find a "different way" of using her voice. Paraphrasing a line from her "Sound of Music" character Maria von Trapp, Andrews noted that "When one door closes another window opens."