November 9, 1955 – Actress and Disney Legend Karen Dotrice is Born
“My first impression of [Dick van Dyke] was, ‘Wow, I get to do this for nine months? This is awesome!’”
On November 9, 1955, Karen Dotrice was born in Guernsey, off the coast of Normandy, to two Shakespearean actors. Surrounded by actors of great renown, she made her acting debut at the age of four in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. It was in this production where she was scouted by Disney, and soon flew across the Atlantic to the Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Her father was on tour in England as King Lear, so “Uncle Walt” as she came to call him took care of her and her family as Dotrice worked. Her first film for the studio was The Three Lives of Thomasina, along with co-star Matthew Garber, and the two were then cast in the film Mary Poppins, which brought her newfound fame around the globe. Her final film for Disney was The Gnome-Mobile, after which she went back to England to star in films and the television series Upstairs, Downstairs. She returned to the United States in the 1980s, and retired from acting in 1984 to focus on raising a family. She was awarded as a Disney Legend in 2004.