Remembering Glynis Johns: A Legacy of Wit, Talent, and Grace in Hollywood

Jan 04, 2024 04:24 PM EST
2 Min Read
Remembering Glynis Johns: A Legacy of Wit, Talent, and Grace in Hollywood fetchpriority=
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Renowned English actor Glynis Johns, celebrated for her iconic portrayal of the whimsical suffragette mother, Mrs. Banks, in the timeless classic "Mary Poppins," passed away on Thursday at the age of 100. The news was confirmed by her manager, Mitch Clem, to Variety.

In a heartfelt statement, Clem reflected on Johns' remarkable life, stating, "Glynis powered her way through life with intelligence, wit, and a love for performance, affecting millions of lives. She set a very high bar on how to navigate this industry with grace, class, and truth." Today, Hollywood not only mourns the loss of a beloved actress but also bids farewell to an era-the golden age of Hollywood.

Johns' illustrious career extended beyond her enchanting performance in "Mary Poppins." She received a Tony for her role as Desiree Armfeldt in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," introducing the timeless song "Send in the Clowns," specially crafted for her by Sondheim. Additionally, she earned an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in the 1960 film "The Sundowners."

Known for her delightfully husky voice, buoyant persona, and charming flirtatiousness in her youth, Johns had a career spanning over two decades in English films before making her mark in Disney's adaptation of P.L. Travers' "Mary Poppins" novels. Despite initial confusion about her role, she delivered a memorable performance as Mrs. Banks, singing "Sister Suffragette."

In her later years, Johns continued to captivate audiences with her talent, making appearances in American films such as "The Ref" (1994) and "While You Were Sleeping" (1995). Critics praised her for taking on roles that defied stereotypes associated with older actresses.

Her final screen appearance came in the 1999 film "Superstar," starring Molly Shannon, where she played the character of Grandma.

Reflecting on her diverse filmography, Johns showcased her acting prowess in films like "Shake Hands With the Devil" (1959) and "The Court Jester," where she left a lasting impression even in supporting roles.

Beyond the silver screen, Johns had a significant presence on stage, making her London debut in 1935 and later starring in Broadway productions such as "Major Barbara" and "A Little Night Music." Her Broadway stint earned her a Tony Award for Best Actress.

Born to actor Mervyn Johns, Glynis accidentally entered the world in Pretoria, South Africa, during her family's performance tour. Throughout her life, she shared the screen with her father in films like "The Halfway House," "The Magic Box," and "The Sundowners."

Despite facing personal challenges, including four marriages and divorces, Johns leaves behind a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry. She is survived by her son, Gareth, from her marriage to Anthony Forwood.

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