The entertainment world is mourning the loss of a legendary figure, Glynis Johns, known for her unforgettable role as the mother in the iconic film “Mary Poppins.”
Johns, a versatile actress whose career spanned both stage and screen, has died at the age of 100.
Born in 1923 in South Africa, Johns was a British actress renowned for her diverse career in film, television, and theatre. The daughter of actor Mervyn Johns and pianist Alys Maude (née Steele-Payne), she showed early talent in performing arts. She made her first stage appearance at the age of 12, which marked the beginning of a prolific acting career.
Johns gained prominence in the 1940s and 1950s with her roles in various British films. She was known for her distinctive, husky voice and light comedic touch, making her a popular figure in British cinema.
Her international fame was bolstered by her role as Winifred Banks in Walt Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” (1964), where she showcased not only her acting talents but also her singing abilities with the memorable song “Sister Suffragette.”
Apart from her film career, Johns was also a successful stage actress. One of her most notable stage performances was in Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” for which she introduced the now-classic song “Send in the Clowns,” earning a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1973.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level,” she told The Associated Press back in 1990. “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.”
“I’ve had other songs written for me, but nothing like that. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in the theater.”
Throughout her career, Johns worked with numerous renowned directors and actors, leaving a lasting impact on both British and American cinema and theatre. Her ability to portray a wide range of characters with charm and depth has made her one of the respected figures in the performing arts. Johns’ contribution to the arts was recognized when she was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1996.
Johns’ contribution to the arts has been recognized as not just significant but transformative.