Rest in peace, Glynis Johns, the Tony-winning actress who portrayed Mrs. Banks in “Mary Poppins,” who passed away at the age of 100

At the age of 100, Glynis Johns, the Tony Award–winning actress most known for her role as Mrs. Banks in the beloved movie Mary Poppins, passed away.

Johns was a talented and husky-voiced celebrity that worked in Hollywood for eight decades. He was among the last actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood to survive.

Welsh actress Glynis Johns enters a taxi at London Airport, UK, 15th May 1966. (Photo by Daily Express/Getty Images)

Johns, who had just celebrated her 100th birthday, passed away at a Los Angeles assisted care facility, apparently from natural causes.

Her manager, Mitch Clem, told The Guardian, “My heart is heavy today with the passing of my beloved client Glynis Johns.” “Millions of lives were impacted by the intelligence, wit, and love of performance that Glynis displayed throughout her life.”

Glynis Johns in 1952 (Wikimedia Commons)

Johns, the daughter of Welsh actor Mervyn Johns, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on October 5, 1923. She was born and raised in England, where she achieved early success as a ballet prodigy.

Following her 1938 big-screen debut, Johns went on to star in a number of successful British and American productions, including The Sword and the Rose, 49th Parallel, The Court Jester, and The Sundowners, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

Actress Davd Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Matthew Garber, Karen Dotrice in a scene from the movie “Mary Poppins” (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

Her most famous cinematic performance was as the suffragette mother of the Banks children in the beloved 1964 Disney picture Mary Poppins, where she also sang the song “Sister Suffragette.” Johns’ performance in the Oscar-winning smash hit film earned her a Laurel Award.

Johns’ most famous role as a theatre actress was as Desiree Armfeldt in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Little Night Music. Johns created “Send in the Clowns,” one of the most well-known and frequently covered Broadway tunes, and she was awarded the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Anthony Tommasini stated in a New York Times article that “Stephen Sondheim wrote his most famous song, ‘Send In the Clowns,’ for an actress with virtually no voice, Glynis Johns, and few genuine singers have performed it as effectively.”

21MAR97: Actress GLYNIS JOHNS at the BAFTA tea party in Los Angeles for the Oscar nominees. Pix: PAUL SMITH

In a 1990 AP interview, Johns stated, “As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level.” Making it a reality is the entire purpose of top-notch acting. To tell the truth. And for me to be real, I have to make meaning of it in my own mind.”

Johns kept performing throughout the 1990s, appearing in films like Superstar, While You Were Sleeping, and The Ref, as well as sitcoms like Cheers. This was her last on-screen appearance.

She gained notoriety in recent years for her extraordinary longevity: following Olivia De Havilland’s passing in 2020, she was the oldest living stage and film star in Britain and the oldest actor to get an Academy Award nomination.

Her family spearheaded a petition to grant her Damehood in honour of her illustrious and lengthy career, coinciding with her 100th birthday celebration in October.

British Labour MP Chris Bryant stated, “Glynis certainly deserves recognition for her stellar and incredibly enduring career on both stage and screen.” “She is comparable to some of the greatest actors of her generation—Angela Lansbury, Judi Dench, Joan Collins, and Maggie Smith come to mind.”

Despite never attaining the damehood her family had dreamed of, Glynis Johns will always be recognised as a multi-talented legend and one of the last living examples of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

According to her boss, “her light shone very brightly for 100 years,” The Guardian was told. “She possessed a sharp mind that could stop you in your tracks, driven by a pure and profound love for someone.” Hollywood is having a dismal day today. We lament not only the death of our beloved Glynis, but also the end of Hollywood’s heyday.

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