Karen Dotrice (Actress) as Jane Banks - Mary Poppins
Karen Dotrice 1
Updated: 11/11/10

Name: Karen Dotrice

Born: November 9, 1955, Guernsey, Channel Islands

Claim To Fame: She is best known for her role as Jane Banks in Walt Disney's feature film adaptation of the Mary Poppins book series.

Family Life: She was married to English actor Alex Hyde- White from 1986 to 1992; they have a son, Garrick. In 1994, Dotrice married then-Universal Studios executive Edwin "Ned" Nalle and later gave birth to two children, Isabella and Griffin.

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Info: Born into a family of stage actors, Dotrice was not surprisingly exposed to acting at a very young age. When she was just four-years-old, she performed on stage in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Bertold Brecht's "The Caucasion Chalk Circle". During this time, she was discovered by a Disney scout who soon had her heading to the Disney Studio in Burbank with her family in tow.

Her appearance in "The Three Lives of Thomasina" led to her being cast as the young lead Jane Banks in the Oscar-winning "Mary Poppins," followed by the role of Elizabeth in "The Gnome-Mobile" with Walter Brennan.

She later returned to England and continued her acting career with roles in such features as "Joseph Andrews" in 1976 and "The Thirty-Nine Steps" in 1978. Her performance in the latter won a nod from the Evening News British Film Awards, which named her best female newcomer.

She also played Lily in the popular English television series "Upstairs, Downstairs" in 1971. Other television appearances include the miniseries "Napoleon and Love" in 1974 and "She Fell Among Thieves" in 1978, which appeared on PBS's Mystery!

Trivia: Sister of Michele Dotrice and Yvette Dotrice.

Sister-in-law of actor Edward Woodward.

Former daughter-in-law of Wilfrid Hyde-White.

The late actor Charles Laughton was her godfather.

Her husband Ned is the President of Programming for Playboy Entertainment.

Her Mary Poppins co-star Matthew Garber died from an inflammation of his pancreas in 1977 at the age of 21. It was caused by hepatitis that was the result of eating bad meat in India.

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Where Are They Now: Her last major acting role was playing Desdemona in "Othello" on Broadway, and in 1984, she mainly retired from acting to focus on motherhood.

However, in recent years, she provided spoken-word adaptations of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas, and lent her voice to a sing-along release of Mary Poppins in 2001.

In 2004, she made a brief return to the spotlight when she was named a Disney Legend at a ceremony in Burbank, and she also did an interview and provided audio commentary for the 40th Anniversary Edition Mary Poppins DVD release.

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