Glynis Johns (born October 5, 1923) is a South African-born Welsh stage and film actress, dancer, pianist and singer (notably of "Send in the Clowns", which she originated in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music). With a career spanning seven decades, Johns is often cited as the "complete actress", who happens to be a trained pianist and singer. She is also an accomplished dancer, and was qualified to teach ballet by the age of ten.
Johns was born in Pretoria, South Africa, the daughter of Alys Maude (née Steele-Payne), a pianist, and Mervyn Johns (1899–1992), the British stage and film actor. Her roots are in West Wales, and she was born in Pretoria while her parents were performing on tour there.
Johns made her 1938 film debut in the movie version of Winifred Holtby's novel, South Riding. In 1944, she appeared with her father in Halfway House, and in 1948 starred as a mermaid in Miranda (Johns later reprised the role in a 1954 sequel, Mad About Men). In 1952, she co-starred in the movie version of Arnold Bennett's novel The Card. She made a successful transition to Hollywood, appearing in Personal Affair (1953) starring Gene Tierney and in The Court Jester (1956) as Danny Kaye's love interest. The following year, she starred in the especially sad Christmas film All Mine to Give. Johns received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the 1960 film The Sundowners. One of her best known film roles was that of Winifred Banks, the children's mother, a suffragette, in Mary Poppins (1964). Her last film appearance was in the 1999 film Superstar.
Johns has also appeared on television and on stage, most memorably in Stephen Sondheim's musical A Little Night Music. The song "Send in the Clowns" was written with her in mind, and in 1973, she won a Tony award for her role in the musical. She later appeared in London in Cause Célèbre by Terence Rattigan. In the 1962-1963 television season, Johns guest starred in the CBS anthology series The Lloyd Bridges Show. She also starred in the premiere of Horton Foote's A Coffin in Egypt in 1998 at the Bay Street Theatre as Myrtle Bledsoe.
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