Glynis Johns, the actress known for her role in ‘Mary Poppins’ and for singing Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns,’ passes away at 100

The world mourns the loss of a true icon as Glynis Johns, the remarkable Tony Award-winning stage and screen star, has passed away at the age of 100.

Renowned for her unforgettable performance as the mother in the timeless film “Mary Poppins” alongside Julie Andrews, and for introducing the world to the poignant and enduring song “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim, Johns leaves behind a legacy that will forever resonate in the hearts of audiences worldwide.

Glynis Johns was a paragon of excellence in the entertainment industry, renowned for her unwavering dedication to her craft.

Her manager, Mitch Clem, confirmed her passing, stating that she peacefully departed at an assisted living home in Los Angeles due to natural causes.

With her departure, the world bids farewell to an era, as Clem poignantly remarked, “Today’s a sad day for Hollywood. She is the last of the last of old Hollywood.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Johns was celebrated for her meticulous approach to her work. A consummate perfectionist, she was known for her precision, analytical mind, and strong opinions.

Her commitment to her art was unwavering, and the roles she chose to undertake had to be multi-dimensional, reflecting her steadfast belief that anything less would equate to giving less than her all.

In a 1990 interview with The Associated Press, Johns articulated her approach to acting, stating, “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.”

This statement encapsulates her deep understanding of the craft and her relentless pursuit of authenticity in her performances.

Johns’ impact on the entertainment industry extended far beyond her memorable roles. Her ability to breathe life into characters and to infuse them with depth and emotional resonance set her apart as a true luminary of the stage and screen.

Her dedication to her artistry and her unwavering commitment to excellence served as an inspiration to countless actors and performers, shaping the landscape of the industry for generations to come.

As we reflect on the life and legacy of Glynis Johns, we are reminded of the enduring power of art to transcend time and touch the hearts and souls of audiences across the globe.

Her contributions to the world of entertainment will continue to be cherished and celebrated, serving as a testament to her unparalleled talent, grace, and unwavering commitment to her craft.

In her passing, we bid farewell to a legend, but her indelible mark on the world of performing arts will continue to inspire and resonate for years to come.

Glynis Johns leaves behind a legacy that will forever be cherished, and her spirit will live on through the timeless performances that have left an indelible imprint on the hearts of all who have had the privilege of experiencing her work.

Glynis Johns, a name synonymous with theatrical excellence, left an indelible mark on the world of performing arts.

Her portrayal of Desiree Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music” not only earned her a Tony Award in 1973 but also became an enduring symbol of her exceptional talent.

The show’s iconic song “Send in the Clowns,” tailored to Johns’ unique and captivating voice by the legendary Stephen Sondheim, stands as a testament to her unparalleled contribution to the world of theater.

However, despite the triumphs she experienced on stage, Johns faced the disappointment of losing the role to Elizabeth Taylor in the 1977 film adaptation of “A Little Night Music.”

Despite this setback, Johns remained steadfast in her appreciation for the profound impact of the role, expressing in a 1990 interview with the Associated Press that it was the “greatest gift” she had ever received in her theatrical career.

The influence of Johns’ portrayal of Desiree Armfeldt extended far beyond the confines of the stage. Sondheim’s haunting melody, “

Send in the Clowns,” which he crafted specifically for Johns, has been immortalized by various illustrious artists, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, and Olivia Newton-John.

The song’s enduring popularity was further solidified when it was featured in the second season of “Yellowjackets” in 2023, performed by the esteemed actor Elijah Wood, underscoring the timeless appeal of Johns’ interpretation.

The genesis of “A Little Night Music” itself bears witness to Johns’ creative influence. During the show’s conception, director Hal Prince recognized the unparalleled chemistry between Johns and her co-star Len Cariou, prompting them to improvise scenes to inspire the book writer, Hugh Wheeler.

Their spontaneous performances not only captivated Prince but also compelled him to summon Sondheim to witness the magic unfolding on stage, ultimately leading to the creation of a solo song tailored specifically for Johns.

Johns’ theatrical prowess was not merely a product of her own talent but was also deeply rooted in her familial heritage.

As the scion of an English theatrical dynasty, with her father, Mervyn Johns, a distinguished character actor, and her mother, a pianist, Johns inherited a rich artistic legacy.

Her early years as a dancer at the age of 12 and subsequently as an actor at 14 in London’s esteemed West End set the stage for a remarkable career that would span decades and leave an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.

Her breakthrough role as the amorous mermaid in the 1948 comedy “Miranda” marked the commencement of a journey that would lead her to international acclaim.

Notably, her performance in the 1960 film “The Sundowners,” alongside luminaries Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum, garnered her a nomination for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, a testament to her versatility and captivating on-screen presence.

Johns’ cinematic repertoire further flourished with her portrayal of the spirited mother in “Mary Poppins,” a cinematic masterpiece that introduced the world to the incomparable Julie Andrews.

Her rendition of the uplifting anthem “Sister Suffragette” in the film remains etched in the annals of cinematic history, showcasing her multifaceted talents as both an actor and a singer.

In addition to her cinematic achievements, Johns’ illustrious career extended to the Broadway stage, where she graced audiences with her performance in the 1989 revival of W.

Somerset Maugham’s “The Circle.” Starring alongside theatrical luminaries Rex Harrison and Stewart Granger, Johns’ portrayal in this romantic comedy further solidified her status as a paragon of the stage, captivating audiences with her unparalleled grace and charisma.

Glynis Johns’ artistic legacy transcends the boundaries of time and space, leaving an indelible imprint on the world of performing arts.

Her portrayal of Desiree Armfeldt and the immortalization of “Send in the Clowns” stand as enduring testaments to her unparalleled talent and the profound impact she has had on the world of theater.

As her legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences across generations, Glynis Johns remains an irreplaceable icon of the stage and screen, a testament to the enduring power of her artistic contributions.

Glynis Johns, a renowned actress, has had a career filled with remarkable performances and a life that has been just as captivating.

Her words, “I’ve retired many times. My personal life has come before my work. The theater is just part of my life.

It probably uses my highest sense of intelligence, so therefore I have to come back to it, to realize that I’ve got the talent. I’m not as good doing anything else,” reflect the deep connection she has with her craft and the profound impact it has had on her life.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Glynis Johns’ approach to her roles is her dedication to preparation. For Horton Foote’s 1998 play “A Coffin in Egypt,” she sought guidance directly from the playwright himself, asking the Texas-born Foote to record a short tape of himself reading some lines, which she then used as her coach.

This level of commitment and attention to detail showcases her relentless pursuit of excellence in her craft.

Throughout her career, Johns has displayed a remarkable range, taking on diverse roles that have showcased her versatility as an actress. In a 1991 revival of “A Little Night Music” in Los Angeles, she portrayed Madame Armfeldt, a character she had originally brought to life. Her ability to revisit and breathe new life into a role she had previously inhabited demonstrates her enduring talent and adaptability.

Beyond the stage and screen, Glynis Johns has also left her mark on television, starring in her own TV sitcom “Glynis” in 1963. This transition to television further highlights her ability to excel in various mediums, solidifying her status as a multifaceted performer.

In addition to her professional achievements, Johns’ personal life has been equally eventful. Having lived in various locations around the world and having been married four times, she has experienced a life filled with diverse experiences and relationships. Her first husband was the father of her only child, the late Gareth Forwood, an actor who passed away in 2007. This personal journey, marked by both triumphs and trials, has undoubtedly influenced her performances and added depth to her portrayal of characters on stage and screen.

Glynis Johns’ life and career stand as a testament to the enduring power of the performing arts. Her unwavering dedication to her craft, her ability to seamlessly transition between different mediums, and her willingness to seek guidance and inspiration from those around her all contribute to her legacy as a formidable talent in the entertainment industry. As she continues to reflect on her experiences and share her wisdom with the world, Glynis Johns remains an inspiration to aspiring performers and a beloved figure in the hearts of audiences worldwide.