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Mary Poppins star Glynis Johns passes away aged 100

Glynis played Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins

Glynis Johns during "Mary Poppins" 40th Anniversary
Faye James
Senior Editor
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Glynis Johns, the esteemed British actress renowned for her portrayal of Winifred Banks in the iconic 1964 Disney musical "Mary Poppins," passed away at the age of 100. 

Her demise on Thursday in Los Angeles marks the end of an illustrious career that spanned over six decades in both film and theatre

.Mitch Clem, her manager for 25 years, confirmed her death, expressing that it was a "sombre day for Hollywood." 

He praised Glynis, saying: "Glynis powered her way through life with intelligence, wit, and a love for performance, affecting millions of lives. 

Glynis was known for her role in Mary Poppins© Getty
Glynis was known for her role in Mary Poppins

Today, we not only mourn our dear Glynis's passing, but we also mourn the end of the golden age of Hollywood."

Glynis' acting journey was remarkable, encompassing a wide array of performances. Notably, she won a Tony Award in 1973 for her role as Desiree Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical "A Little Night Music." 

 Glynis Johns attends Tribute Gala Honoring Alec Guiness © Ron Galella
Glynis Johns attends Tribute Gala Honoring Alec Guiness

Glynis was the original performer of "Send In The Clowns," a song specially written for her by Sondheim, though Elizabeth Taylor took over the role in the 1977 film adaptation. 

Reflecting on this milestone, Glynis once told the AP news agency, "Send In The Clowns was the best gift I was ever given."

Glynis was a Hollywood legend© Getty
Glynis was a Hollywood legend

Born into a show business family on October 5, 1923, in South Africa, Glynis’ first significant film role came in 1948 as the mermaid Miranda, catapulting her to stardom in the UK.

 Her talent was further recognised with an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 1960 film "The Sundowners."

Glynis also graced television screens with appearances in shows like "Batman" and starred in her own sitcom, "Glynis," on US television in 1963. 

Anna Lee and Glynis Johns (front) and Maureen O'Hara, Donna and Ronald Neame (rear) at a reception hosted by BAFTA© Kevin Winter
Anna Lee and Glynis Johns (front) and Maureen O'Hara, Donna and Ronald Neame (rear) at a reception hosted by BAFTA

Her final acting roles were in the 1995 film "While You Were Sleeping," featuring Sandra Bullock, and the 1999 film "Superstar" with Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell.

After retiring, Glynis spent her last years in an assisted living home in Hollywood, where she passed away peacefully. 

As she approached her 100th birthday, Labour MP Chris Bryant had advocated for her to be conferred a damehood, a testament to her impact and legacy in the acting world.

Glynis Johns during "Mary Poppins" 40th Anniversary © Steve Granitz
Glynis Johns during "Mary Poppins" 40th Anniversary

Glynis is survived by her grandson Thomas Forwood, who resides in Paris, and her three great-grandchildren. 

In a tribute to her heritage and family, she will be laid to rest next to her father, actor Mervyn Johns, in the UK. 

Her passing is not only a loss to her family and friends but to the countless fans and admirers who were touched by her performances and her enduring presence in the world of cinema and theatre.