Disney legend Glynis Johns passed away on Thursday, January 4, in Los Angeles due to natural causes, as her manager verified. She was a century old.




Disney legend Glynis Johns passed away on Thursday, January 4, in Los Angeles due to natural causes, as her manager verified. She was a century old.

Johns became everyone's favorite sister suffragette and is most remembered by Disney fans for her role as feminist Winifred Banks in the Academy Award®–winning Mary Poppins (1964). She was specifically chosen by Walt Disney to play the pivotal role in his career because, like many moviegoers, he was captivated by her glamorous on-screen demeanor. As noted by movie critic Leonard Maltin in his book The Disney Films, he made the perfect casting choice: "She lights up the screen the minute she appears [in Mary Poppins]," he wrote. "She makes the most of every minute, and her hilarious suffragette song is especially delightful."



Disney legend Glynis Johns passed away on Thursday, January 4, in Los Angeles due to natural causes, as her manager verified. She was a century old.



Johns, who was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1998, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on October 5, 1923, to Welsh parents. When she graduated at age ten with a degree in dance education, she made history. After winning 25 gold medals for dancing in England by the age of 12, she made her cinematic debut in South Riding (1938). Her first adult performance was in 49th Parallel (1941), directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which starred Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard, and Raymond Massey and was released in America under the title The Invaders. She became the youngest actress to portray the lead in a theater production at the age of 19.


When The Walt Disney Studios started making live-action movies in England in the early 1950s, she started to be connected with the company.

In the 1953 film The Sword and the Rose, costarring Richard Todd, she played the mercurial Mary Tudor. She portrayed the lively wife of a Scottish independence fighter in Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953) as Helen Mary MacGregor. She went back to Disney ten years later, in 1964, to star in Mary Poppins. The popular musical received five Oscars and thirteen Academy Award® nominations.






Along with her own series, Glynis, Johns starred in television programs like General Electric Theatre and The Cavanaughs. She had guest appearances in television shows such as Batman, Cheers, and Murder She Wrote, which starred the late Angela Lansbury, another Disney Legend.




Johns was nominated for an Academy Award in 1960 for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Mrs. Firth in Robert Mitchum's film The Sundowners. She later won a Tony Award® in 1973 for her outstanding performance on stage as Stephen Sondheim's original cast member Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Sondheim once remarked of Johns that her performance of "Send in the Clowns" was still his favorite.





She appeared in almost two dozen stage plays and over fifty motion pictures, including Dear Brigitte (1965) with James Stewart and Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband (1947) starring Paulette Goddard. Alongside Derek Jacobi, she also starred in an ABC children's TV anthology adaptation of The Secret Garden.

Johns came back to work at The Walt Disney Studios in 1994, costarring in The Ref, a Touchstone comedy. She starred alongside Sandra Bullock in Hollywood Pictures' blockbuster film While You Were Sleeping the next year. Johns was also included in archive material for the HBO documentary Six by Sondheim (2013) and the documentary Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of "Mary Poppins" (2004) from Buena Vista Home Entertainment.






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