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British actress Glynis Johns, who played Mrs. Banks in ‘Mary Poppins,’ is dead at 100 : NPR

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British actress Glynis Johns has died on the age of 100. Finest often known as the suffragist mother in Mary Poppins, she introduced wit and attraction to stage and movie characters for greater than six a long time.



MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

British actress Glynis Johns has died on the age of 100. Finest often known as the exuberant suffragist mother Mrs. Banks in “Mary Poppins,” she introduced wit and attraction to stage and movie characters for greater than six a long time. Critic Bob Mondello provides an appreciation.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: She arrived on the financial institution’s family at the beginning of Mary Poppins, positively bursting with populist enthusiasm.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “MARY POPPINS”)

GLYNIS JOHNS: (As Mrs. Banks) We had probably the most superb assembly. Mrs. Whitbourne-Allen chained herself to the wheel of the prime minister’s carriage. You must have been there.

MONDELLO: This function made her a recognized amount to audiences for the primary time in a profession that had began when she was 12. She’d carried out reverse actors starting from Laurence Olivier to Robert Mitchum to Jackie Gleason, and made a little bit of a splash reverse Danny Kaye in “The Courtroom Jester.” She performed the sultry spy who tries to verify Kaye’s medieval knight is aware of the pellet with the poison is within the vessel with the pestle.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “THE COURT JESTER”)

DANNY KAYE: (As Hubert Hawkins) The pestle with the vessel.

JOHNS: (As Maid Jean) The vessel with the pestle.

KAYE: (As Hubert Hawkins) What concerning the palace from the chalice?

JOHNS: (As Maid Jean) Do not you see? The pellet with the poison’s within the vessel with the pestle.

MILDRED NATWICK: (As Griselda) The chalice from the palace has the brew that’s true.

JOHNS: (As Maid Jean) It is really easy, I can say it.

KAYE: (As Hubert Hawkins) Effectively, you then struggle him.

MONDELLO: Johns alternated between movies and stage work all through her profession, and although not a educated singer, when she was forged because the lead in Broadway’s “A Little Evening Music,” she impressed Stephen Sondheim to put in writing her a second act quantity that may be his solely music to change into a preferred hit. She sang it sitting beside her character’s lengthy misplaced love, the person she’d been chasing after for an act and a half, however had simply realized she was unlikely ever to catch.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC”)

JOHNS: (As Desiree, singing) One who retains tearing round, one who cannot transfer. The place are the clowns? Ship within the clowns.

MONDELLO: Sondheim preferred to recount for audiences how he composed the music particularly for his main girl.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN SONDHEIM: She had a beautiful, candy, bell-like voice which was breathy and short-winded. So it is written in brief phrases. Is not it wealthy? Pause, pause. Take your breath. Are we a pair? Pause, pause. Take a breath. (Vocalizing). Now she’s obtained a sustained line. (Vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC”)

JOHNS: (As Desiree, singing) Me right here eventually on the bottom.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SONDHEIM: Breath. (Vocalizing). Pause, pause. Breath. So, you recognize, it is not arduous to sing.

MONDELLO: For which purpose loads of others sang it after, although maybe by no means higher, stated the composer, who additionally remembered how she nailed the music on the primary take after they recorded the forged album, taking these brief, breathy phrases he’d created and turning them into poetry. I am Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, “A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC”)

JOHNS: (As Desiree, singing) Do not you’re keen on farce? My fault, I concern. I assumed that you simply’d need what I would like. Sorry, my pricey.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional data.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its closing type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might differ. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.

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