December 6, 2010 |
Dick Van Dyke's most popular movie role is that of Bert, the Cockney jack-of-all-trades and best bud with the practically perfect nanny ( Julie Andrews) in Walt Disney's beloved 1964 musical " Mary Poppins. " It was Van Dyke who introduced the Oscar-winning best song "Chim Chim Cher-ee" by Richard and Robert Sherman. But Van Dyke is quick to point out that the "British people have never left me off the hook" about his less-than-picture-perfect Cockney accent. "They just tease me to death," he says, laughing.
July 7, 2001 |
The East End's Eliza Doolittles have long since moved away--not to rural Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, mind you, but to suburban Essex and Kent, where their cockney rhyming slang is hardly heard. The street markets they abandoned in the gritty neighborhoods of Spitalfields and Whitechapel are Bangladeshi now. And the cockneys' favorite pie-and-mash shops are outnumbered by tandoori restaurants and trendy cafes that serve arugula salad to City of London slickers.
April 1, 2001 |
More than 40 years after it first opened here, "My Fair Lady" is once again the talk of theater land. It seemed impossible that any new production could emulate the excitement of the 1956 original, which arrived in London in 1958, starring England's Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower girl coached by Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) to modify her vowel sounds and pass herself off as a society lady. Yet it has happened.
July 13, 1998 |
George Bernard Shaw was one of the wordiest playwrights to ever put dialogue on paper. Theatre Guild founder Lawrence Langner once told the playwright that his plays could never be done properly until Shaw was dead and the plays could be cut. That theory is somewhat borne out by an affectionate revival of "Pygmalion" on the Long Beach Playhouse's Mainstage.
August 7, 1993 |
Except for the eyes--still startlingly wide and innocent--you might not recognize her. Leslie Hornsby Lawson is 20 pounds heavier than when she was the most famous girl in the world. Her hair is considerably longer, her working-class accent slightly less pronounced. But her friends still call her Twiggy, the nickname she's had since she was 15. It was kind of an insult when first bestowed, a not-so-subtle knock at her stick-figure frame. Until it made her famous, she hated her look.
December 31, 1992 |
Years ago, after "Alfie" had made him a star, Michael Caine remarked that until then an actor with a heavy dose of cockney in his speech would be lucky to land a bit part in which he tugged his forelock and said to the arresting officer, "It's a fair pinch, guv; I'll go quiet." Actually, the challenge back in the mid-'60s might have been to find a professional actor who spoke BBC English regularly but could do a cockney accent.