Glynis Johns, the actress who won a Tony and is well-known for playing Mrs. Banks in the famous movie Mary Poppins, has passed away at the age of 100.
She was a versatile and talented actress with a distinctive husky voice, and her career lasted for a remarkable eight decades. Glynis Johns was one of the last surviving actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday and peacefully passed away at an assisted living home in Los Angeles, apparently from natural causes.
“My heart is sad today because my dear client Glynis Johns has passed away,” said her manager Mitch Clem to The Guardian. “Glynis lived her life with smartness, humor, and a passion for performing, touching the lives of millions.”
Glynis Johns was born on October 5, 1923, in Pretoria, South Africa. Her father was the Welsh actor Mervyn Johns. She grew up in England and started performing when she was young. She was even recognized as a ballet prodigy during her early years.
After starting in movies in 1938, Glynis Johns became successful in both British and American films. Some of her notable works include 49th Parallel, The Sword and the Rose, The Court Jester, and The Sundowners, which earned her an Oscar nomination.
Her most famous role was in the beloved 1964 Disney movie Mary Poppins, where she played the suffragette mother of the Banks children and sang the song “Sister Suffragette.” The film was a big success at the Oscars, and Glynis Johns received a Laurel Award for her outstanding performance.
Glynis Johns, known for her work in the theater, gave an unforgettable performance in the original cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music. She played the character Desiree Armfeldt and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She also originated one of Broadway’s most well-known songs, “Send in the Clowns.”
The famous composer Stephen Sondheim created this iconic song specifically for Glynis Johns, who wasn’t known for having a powerful singing voice. According to Anthony Tommasini in a New York Times article, very few skilled singers have performed the song as effectively as she did.
Glynis Johns was a star with many talents, and she was serious about her work, always striving for perfection.
In a 1990 interview with the Associated Press, she said, “I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level. The whole point of first-class acting is to make a reality of it. To be real. And I have to make sense of it in my own mind in order to be real.”
Glynis continued acting into the 1990s, appearing in TV shows like Cheers and movies such as The Ref, While You Were Sleeping, and Superstar, which was her last movie role.
In recent years, she was known for her remarkable longevity. After Olivia De Havilland passed away in 2020, Glynis Johns became Britain’s oldest living stage and screen star, as well as the oldest living actor nominated for an Academy Award.
When Glynis Johns turned 100 in October, her family wanted her to be recognized with a Damehood for her amazing and long career in acting.
British Labour MP Chris Bryant said, “Glynis truly deserves recognition for her outstanding and enduring career on both stage and screen. She stands alongside some of the greatest actors of her time – people like Angela Lansbury, Judi Dench, Joan Collins, and Maggie Smith.”
Her manager told The Guardian, “Her light shined very brightly for 100 years. She had a wit that could stop you in your tracks, fueled by a heart that loved deeply and purely. Today is a sad day for Hollywood. We not only grieve the loss of our dear Glynis, but we also mourn the end of the golden age of Hollywood.”
Rest in peace to the late great Glynis Johns, who gave us so many incredible performances over the course of her long career.
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