Julie Christie’s appearances in Darling and, of course, as Lara in Doctor Zhivago rocked the world. The British actress established herself as one of the most well-known figures in the business and cemented her legacy in cinema.

When Christie abruptly decided to leave Hollywood permanently, she was at the top of her game. Instead, she made a home in a location that few would have anticipated.

What then led Julie Christie to end her productive career in the middle of it? What is she doing right now? You only need to be aware of this about her.

It can be difficult to be a celebrity. Sure, money, glitz, and fame can make it seem alluring, but it’s also time-consuming; well-known people are constantly expected to be reachable to their fans in some way, whether through employment or other public appearances.

Many famous people’s greatest desire is to stroll down the street, perhaps get some milk at the neighborhood supermarket, and then return to their homes. Naturally, that frequently isn’t feasible because so many people would recognize them and then want a photo or an autograph.

Being the face that everyone believes they know is challenging. While some people accept it and make it a part of their daily lives, others decide that enough is enough and work to put the pressure of being in the spotlight behind them permanently.

That is precisely what Julie Christie, a stunning blond British actress with a jawline dubbed “the sharpest in cinema,” achieved.

Following her success, Christie abandoned her dream of becoming a Hollywood star. Although she had a long and successful career, her personal life never received the same attention as her professional life.

Contrary to popular belief, Julie Christie was not born in the United Kingdom. She was born on April 14, 1941, in colonial Assam, India, where her father ran a tea farm. At that time, it appeared as though she was destined to carry on her mother’s painting career.

Julie’s academic career didn’t get off to the best of starts. At six, she was moved to an English boarding school. Christie was expelled from multiple schools throughout the ensuing years.

In 2007, she commented, “It would shock you to know how little it took to get expelled in those days.”

Once, I was accused of seducing village lads because I had my school dress tucked in my underwear.

Julie has never been interested in praising or talking too highly of herself. She subsequently realized that she was attractive, but she did not think so as a child. Christie recalls that a nun scolded her, “Stop making faces—you’re ugly enough as it is.” This presumably didn’t make things any easier.

After returning to England and enrolling in acting classes at London’s Central School for Drama, Julie continued her education in Paris, France. As a member of the Frinton Repertory of Essex, she made her stage debut in 1957 at 16, fulfilling her lifelong dream to pursue acting. The young performer then started traveling with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Christie made her acting debut in the science fiction BBC program A for Andromeda in 1961. Although it may not have been her most impressive performance, producers and directors were intrigued. Julie’s signature look, the “sweet smile,” made it obvious that she was a natural performer.

Christie made a breakthrough in 1963 when director John Schlesinger cast her in his movie Billy Liar after years of performances (and many more parts). Two years later, she would star as the promiscuous model Diana Scott in Darling, which would be her big break.

Christie not only began a new, glitzy life in Hollywood, but she also took home the best actress Oscar. Naturally, this raised her profile in the eyes of numerous other film producers and filmmakers, and it didn’t take long for her to score another hit.

In the 1965 love story Doctor Zhivago, Christie co-starred with Omar Sharif as Lara. Julie Christie became a huge star thanks to the movie, which gained cult status. Everyone wanted a piece of her since she was one of the most promising British actresses since Vivian Leigh, if not the most.

Being on set and during filming may seem like extraordinary, thrilling experience. However, Julie and the rest of the cast experienced the reverse at that time because they were filming in Russia and Spain.

“In reality, in the middle of winter, St. Petersburg was Madrid during a heat wave. “While we were all sweltering in our furs in 100-degree heat, waiting for the snow that never arrived, this multi-million dollar epic was waiting to be made,” she told Express.

“Finally, the set designers and prop makers saved us. For the long shots, the fields were covered with miles and miles of bed linens, and the entire set was blanketed in mountains of marble dust.

Director David Lean predicted that Christie would become a global star before the premiere of Doctor Zhivago, and he was accurate. Christie had no desire to become renowned or a star, even then.

Julie admitted in a 1965 interview that she had declined the number of essential roles to travel Eastern Europe and the US with The Royal Shakespeare Company. The idea of being renowned, visiting with friends, and sleeping on an air mattress in their house-made her feel uneasy.

“I never wanted to be a big star. But I have to admit that it’s starting to grow on me. But I worry that I might get too annoying. These days I can be downright unpleasant to people,” stated Julie.

I’m starting to become pampered. I’m beginning to anticipate events. You start to get spoiled when others forecast big things for you.

I don’t think of myself as a celebrity, she continued. No one ever recognizes me wherever I go, and I’m just as happy about that. You fall into the trap of success, which is a success. I’m an insecure and egotistical person.

But Christie continued her journey towards Hollywood stardom, whether she liked it or not. She acted in movies including Heaven Can Wait, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, and Far from the Madding Crowd. Julie co-starred with her ex-boyfriend in some of those productions.

Warren Beatty, not just any person, was responsible. The legendary actor from Hollywood had a chaotic personal life and dated numerous women.

Christie and Beatty began their relationship in 1967. They had first met at the Royal Command performance of the film Born Free a year earlier. When the actor saw Christie shaking hands with the Queen Elizabeth II, he reportedly fell head-over-heels for her.

It didn’t take long for Christie to reciprocate the feeling, and shortly after that, the pair started dating.

By all accounts, Christie was very much dedicated to making the relationship with Warren Beatty work. At the same time, people around her tried to warn the young actress about the womanizing actor. He was known for his high-profile love affairs with women. Besides Julie, he had experiences with Jane Fonda, Carly Simon, Goldie Hawn, Joni Mitchell, Jackie Onassis, and Madonna.

Director John Schlesinger, who had cast Julie in Billy Liar, urged her to break up with Warren Beatty. He reportedly said the actor “gets through women like a businessman through a dozen oysters.”

Julie and Warren starred together in several films. They both appeared in McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, and Heaven Can Wait. The latter two were mainly filmed after their breaking up in 1974.

Despite the relationship not working out, when looking back, Christie didn’t regret her time with Beatty. In an interview with The Guardian, she claimed it improved her life.

“He gave me a political perspective, which I am grateful for. I loved the way, say, that he would go to baseball matches and stand up in the interval and talk about getting rid of guns,” Julie said.

“He would be this little tiny figure in this big baseball stadium, and I would be looking down at him, I thought he was wonderfully courageous for doing that.”

Indeed, Christie and Beatty remained great friends despite breaking up.

“When she and her husband come to Los Angeles, they stay in our guest house. We’re very close, and she’s a remarkable person,” Beatty told People in 2016.

In 1977, Christie had had enough of fame, despite becoming an icon in Hollywood. She decided to leave Los Angeles and move back to England.

After a short break, the actress appeared in several smaller films and low-budget productions. But it was clear that acting in blockbusters wasn’t a priority.

“I was perfectly happy not doing them,” she told the New York Times. “There were just no roles that appealed to me.”

Christie settled at a farm in Wales, where she lived with a couple and their children. They became her family as she didn’t “really have no family of my own.” Moreover, she also found other passionate causes, including feminism and protecting the environment.

After moving back to the UK, Christie didn’t even have a car and would bake her bread. In short, she lived an effortless life. Then, in 1979, she engaged with journalist Duncan Campbell. They tied the knot, though the couple never revealed the specific date of their marriage.

Fame and status never controlled Julie, but she would eventually return to the film industry gracefully. In 2006, she starred in the film Away From Her, playing an Alzheimer’s patient older.

The outstanding performance landed her her fourth Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Yet even though she was, and still is a major star, Christie doesn’t place much meaning on fame and fortune.

Decades after leaving Hollywood, she still maintains that the reason for her return to England remains the same.

“I understand the need for icons,” she said. “I have had idols, and there are still people I am in awe of because of their talent, so I try to be understanding. But I so hate being a public rather than a private person – I’m just not as nice as I should be.”

Now 82, Julie previously revealed that she underwent cosmetic surgery. At the same time, she claims having a good make-up artist is the secret to looking fabulous.

After she was forced to have her neck taped while filming, she had a neck lift.

“It saved having to be pinned up and held back with sticky tape,” Julie said. “It was practicality as much as vanity.”

Julie Christie will forever be a true Hollywood icon, even if she’s desperate not to be a part of it. To this day, she looks as beautiful as ever and is said to have a net worth of around $10 million.

However, Christie says she has “no connection at all” with her young self, who portrayed many good characters during her early work in the film industry.

“That person has gone,” she added.

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