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Glynis Johns, Who Played Mrs Banks In Mary Poppins, Dies Aged 100

Glynis Johns, the Tony Award-winning stage and screen star who played the mother opposite Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, has died aged 100.

She died Thursday at an assisted living home in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to her mananger.

Johns also introduced the world to the bittersweet Send in the Clowns by the American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the song for her role as Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music on Broadway, for which she won a Tony in 1973. Sondheim wrote the show’s hit song to suit Johns’ distinctive husky voice, but she lost the part in the 1977 film version to Elizabeth Taylor.

“I’ve had other songs written for me, but nothing like that,” Johns told the Associated Press in 1990. “It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in the theater.”

In a statement to the Guardian, her manager, Mitch Clem said: “My heart is heavy today with the passing of my beloved client Glynis Johns. Glynis powered her way through life with intelligence, wit and a love for performance, affecting millions of lives.”

He added: “She entered my life early in my career and set a very high bar on how to navigate this industry with grace, class and truth. Your own truth. Her light shined very brightly for 100 years. She had a wit that could stop you in your tracks powered by a heart that loved deeply and purely. Today is a somber 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.”

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.

Johns was known to be a perfectionist about her profession and insisted the roles she took were multi-faceted. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level,” she told the AP 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.”

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