Everybody has that famous person they’d go truly verklempt at meeting, but admittedly I don’t seem to have as many. As a kid I was always more awed by the sports figures — Steffi Graf was my idol, basically — so other than Kylie Minogue when she was on Neighbours (that’s passed, but when I was like eight, WHOA) or Megan Follows from Anne of Green Gables, there wasn’t really anyone I would have gone crazy to meet. As I’ve gotten older, I realize I can add a few more to the list. One is Joan Collins. Another is Julie Andrews:

Now, I have always loved La Andrews (whose 80th birthday is tomorrow). Her speaking voice is like the most soothing cup of hot cocoa, and her singing voice…. I am not one who generally gets affected on a personal level by celebrity traumas — I can be generally very sympathetic or saddened, but it’s never a dart to my soul unless I somehow know the person — and yet I think I did shed actual tears when her ill-fated surgery ruined that instrument. Years ago, though, my college roommate told me my mother reminded her of Julie Andrews. Not just Mom’s face, or hair, but her genial affect (and Mom also has a lovely soprano), and so ever since I’ve had this extra surge of almost possessive adoration of Ms. Andrews (I feel the same for Michael Caine, whom my dad resembled enough that at his funeral we slipped a photo of Mr. Caine into a slideshow of Dad’s life). Like, we’re talking a capsy NO REALLY I JUST LOVE YOU AND YOU ARE SO IMPORTANT, to where I would have no hope of being cool were we ever introduced. I would have to pre-write something and then just hand it to her on a card that would read, “Please pretend I said this to you in person and that you LAUGHED AND LAUGHED at my charms. Thanks.”

So I figure this Afternoon Chat can serve many masters: We can discuss how freaking awesome Julie Andrews is, and we can talk about the celebs for whom YOU all feel that kind of irrational (or rational) affection — you know, as if we knew them personally, and their every milestone were part of our own life’s fabric. Who is your Julie Andrews, if not actually Julie Andrews?

[Photo: Getty]