- NAME: P.L. Travers
- OCCUPATION: Writer
- BIRTH DATE: August 09, 1899
- DEATH DATE: April 23, 1996
- Did You Know?: The man who published P.L. Travers's first poem in Australia was the father of Rupert Murdoch.
- EDUCATION: Normanhurst Girls School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England, United Kingdom
- AKA: Helen Goff
- AKA: P.L. Travers
- Originally: Helen Lyndon Goff
- AKA: Pamela Travers
- Full Name: Pamela Lyndon Travers
- Nickname: Lyndon
Best Known For
Mysterious and prickly, author P.L. Travers created the beloved governess Mary Poppins, further popularized by the Disney film and stage musical of the same name.
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During World War II, Travers worked for England's Ministry of Information, and near the end of the war, lived on a Navajo reservation in Arizona, acquiring an Indian name that she always kept secret.
Despite the success of the Poppins books, Travers continued to write other material—young adult novels, a play, essays and lectures on mythology and symbols—partly because she feared not being taken seriously as a writer. She also served as writer-in-residence at colleges such as Radcliffe and Smith,
though she was not popular. The 1964 Disney movie Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews, made Travers immensely wealthy, though she reportedly wept at the premiere. A 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, tells the behind-the-scenes story of book to film.
Notorious private and prickly, Travers never married, but she had a longtime roommate, Madge Burnand, who many speculated was a romantic partner. In 1939, Travers adopted a son, Camillus, one of twin Irish boys. (He later ran into his twin in a pub—a shock, as he knew nothing of his real background.)
Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1977, P.L. Travers lived to age 96, dying in London from the effects of an epileptic seizure, on April 23, 1996.
She planned to write Goodbye, Mary Poppins, to terminate the beloved governess, but instead heeded the outcry from both children and publishers. A musical Mary Poppins closer to Travers's original version of the character debuted on the London stage in 2004. And "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," born from the Disney film, through a song written by the Sherman Brothers (sung by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke), forever lives in the English lexicon.
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