Beloved ‘Mary Poppins’ Actress Glynis Johns Dead at 100
Beloved Hollywood veteran Glynis Johns has died aged 100.
Famed for her role as the feminist mother Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins, she passed away on Thursday (Jan. 4) of natural causes at an assisted living facility in West Hollywood, her manager Mitch Clem told The Hollywood Reporter.
Her final two films were While You Were Sleeping and Superstar and in addition to her film work, Glynis won a Tony Award winner for originating the role of Desiree Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
The composer wrote the character’s signature song "Send in the Clowns" just for the actress.
When asked by KABC-TV entertainment reporter George Pennacchio in October what it was like to turn 100, she said: “It doesn’t make any difference to me. I’ve looked good at every age.”
Rising to fame in the 1940s, Glynis was considered to be one of the last major stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
She made her screen debut in 1938 and amassed more than 60 film appearances throughout her career, but will probably be best remembered for her role as the "Sister Suffragette"-singing matriarch of Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins musical movie.
On stage, Glynis was renowned for the instantly recognizable husky voice and was also a dancer, pianist and singer.
She earned a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing the widowed saloon and hotel owner Mrs Firth in Fred Zinnemann’s Australia-set 1960 film The Sundowners.
Glynis was also nominated for a Golden Globe for portraying a dippy older socialite who has her head turned by a young stud she meets on the beach in a then-controversial film about sex The Chapman Report, released in 1962.
A year later, she starred in her own short-lived CBS sitcom Glynis, which saw her played a mystery writer and amateur sleuth.
Glynis’ dad was Mervyn Johns, best known as the fearful Bob Cratchit in 1951’s A Christmas Carol.
Born on Oct. 5, 1923, in Pretoria, South Africa, her mum was concert pianist Alys Steele, who gave birth to her daughter when she was on tour.
After collecting more than 24 gold medals for dance competitions throughout England and a degree to teach ballet by age 10, Glynis made her movie debut in England at age 13 in 1938’s South Riding.
She made her Broadway debut in 1952 in Gertie and starred opposite Charles Laughton in a 1956 revival of George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara.
Married four times, the actress had one son, the late actor Gareth Forwood, during her marriage to Anthony Forwood.
Her manager said she had no surviving family.