Mary Poppins actress Glynis Johns dies at 100

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NEW YORK (AP) – Glynis Johns, Tony Award winner stage And Screen The star, who played the mother opposite Julie Andrews in the classic film “Mary Poppins” and introduced the world to Stephen Sondheim’s bittersweet tale “Send in the Clowns,” has died. She was 100 years old.

He died Thursday of natural causes at an assisted living home in Los Angeles, his manager Mitch Klemm said. “Today is a sad day for Hollywood,” Clem said. “He’s the last of the last of old Hollywood.”

Johns was known as a perfectionist about his profession – precise, analytical and thoughtful. The roles he played were multifaceted. To give anything less was to give less than his all.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in just playing a role on one level,” he told the Associated Press in 1990. The whole point of first-class acting is to make it a reality. to be real. And for it to be real I have to understand it in my mind.

Johns’s greatest triumph was playing Desiree Armfelt in “A Little Night Music”, for which she won a Tony Award in 1973. Sondheim wrote the show’s hit song “Send in the Clowns” to suit her distinctive raspy voice, but she lost the role. Elizabeth Taylor’s 1977 film version.

“There have been other songs written for me, but nothing like this,” Johns told the AP in 1990. “This is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in theater.”

Others who followed Johns in singing Sondheim’s most popular song include Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan and Olivia Newton-John. It also appeared in season two of “Yellowjackets” in 2023, sung by Elijah Wood.

While it was being conceived, “A Little Night Music” went into rehearsals with some books and a score, including a solo for Johns. Director Hal Prince suggested he and co-star Len Cariou improve a scene or two to give book writer Hugh Wheeler some ideas.

“Hal said, ‘Why don’t you just say what you feel,'” she recalled to the AP. “When Len and I did that, Hal called Steve Sondheim and said, ‘I think you’d better get in a cab and ride around here and see what they’re doing because you’ll get the idea.’ Glynis’s single.

Johns was the fourth generation of an English theatrical family. His father, Mervyn Johns, had a long career as a character actor and his mother was a pianist. He was born in Pretoria, South Africa, as his parents were on tour in the area at the time of his birth.

Johns was a dancer in London’s West End at the age of 12 and an actor at the age of 14. Her breakthrough role was that of the sensual mermaid in the titular 1948 hit comedy “Miranda”.

“I was quite an athlete, my muscles were strong from dancing, so the tail was perfect; “I swam like a seagull,” she told Newsday in 1998. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the 1960s for her role in “The Sundowners” with Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. (She lost to Shirley Jones in “Elmer Gantry”.)

Other highlights include playing the mother in “Mary Poppins”, the film that introduced Julie Andrews and where she sang “Sister Suffragette”. She also starred in the 1989 Broadway revival of “The Circle”, alongside Rex Harrison and Stewart Granger, W. Somerset Maugham’s romantic comedy about love, marriage and fidelity.

“I have retired several times. My personal life has come before my work. Theater is a part of my life. It probably uses my highest intelligence, so I have to come back to it to feel like I have talent. I’m not that good at anything else,” she told the AP.

To prepare for “A Coffin in Egypt”, Horton Foote’s 1998 play, in which an aristocratic woman recalls her life on and off a farm on the Texas plains, he recited a few lines from the Texas-born Foote. Asked to record a short tape of himself reading. Used it as my coach.

In the 1991 Los Angeles revival of “A Little Night Music”, she played Desiree’s mother, Madame Armfelt, a role she created. In 1963, she starred in her own TV sitcom “Glynis”.

Johns lived all over the world and had four husbands. Previously the father of her only child, the late Gareth Forwood, was an actor who died in 2007.


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