Glynis Johns dies aged 100 as tributes pour in for Mary Poppins star

Glynis Johns

Glynis Johns dead aged 100 as tributes pour in for Mary Poppins star

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 04/01/2024

- 20:43

Updated: 05/01/2024

- 08:25

She was known for her roles on stage and screen.

Glynis Johns has died at the age of 100 as tributes have poured in for the Mary Poppins star.

The actress, who became a British film star in the late 1940s, was best known for her role as singing suffragette Winifred Banks in the Walt Disney classic.

Her manager, Mitch Clem, confirmed the death but did not provide a specific cause.

She died on January 4 at an assisted living home in Los Angeles.

Mary Poppins

Glynis Johns alongside Davd Tomlinson, Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice in Disney's Mary Poppins


She won a Tony Award in the musical "A Little Night Music," where she introduced Stephen Sondheim’s standard "Send in the Clowns" which was written specifically for her distinct voice.

Johns later said of Send in the Clowns: "I've had other songs written for me, but nothing like that.

"It's the greatest gift I've ever been given in the theatre."

Clem said: "Today is a sombre day for Hollywood. Not only do we mourn the passing of our dear Glynis, but we mourn the end of the golden age of Hollywood."


Glynis Johns

Johns, pictured in 2000


Johns earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for playing the widowed saloon and hotel owner Mrs Firth in Fred Zinnemann’s The Sundowners in 1960.

Rising to fame in the 1940s, Johns was considered to be one of the last major stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Making her screen debut in 1938, she amassed more than 60 film appearances throughout her career.

Johns also played a flirtatious mermaid in "Miranda" (1948), and then appeared in dual roles in the 1954 mermaid sequel, "Mad About Men" (1954).

Born in South Africa in 1923 to actor Melvyn Johns and concert pianist Alyce Steele-Wareham, Johns was raised in the UK where she displayed a natural talent for ballet.

She began teaching ballet when she was just 10 years old. Her screen debut came in 1938 in Victor Saville’s South Riding.

Speaking in 1990, she said: "As far as I'm concerned, 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."

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