Seven Things To Know About Glynis Johns

1. Stephen Sondheim wrote “Send in the Clowns” specifically for Glynis Johns, whose husky voice worked best with short phrasing. She sang it in the original 1973 stage production of  A Little Night Music and won a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

2. Glynis Johns received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Sundowners (1960), Fred Zinneman‘s saga of an Australian family. She lost the Oscar to Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry. Deborah Kerr was also nominated, as Best Actress, for The Sundowners; Kerr and Johns appeared together 15 years earlier opposite Robert Donat in Perfect Strangers (aka Vacation from Marriage).

3. She once said: “I would sooner play in a good British picture than in the majority of American pictures I have seen.” Ironically, it was an American picture–the 1955 comedy classic The Court Jester–that provided her with one of her most fondly-remembered roles.

4. In 1963, she starred as an author who dabbled in crime-solving in her own American sitcom Glynis. The series was created by Jess Oppenheimer, one of the masterminds behind I Love Lucy, and was produced by Desilu. Keith Andes played Glynis’ husband. Alas, the series was cancelled after 13 episodes–though a similar premise worked quite well years later for Johns’ Court Jester co-star Angela Lansbury. Interestingly, Johns guest-starred in a 1985 episode of Murder, She Wrote called “Sing a Song of Murder.”

5. Glynis Johns and Angela Lansbury share two other connections. Lansbury was also Tony-nominated for A Little Night Music. She appeared in a 2009 Broadway revival, playing the mother of Johns’ character. Johns and Lansbury also appeared in Disney musicals about magical child caregivers. Glynis Johns portrayed Mrs. Banks opposite Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964), while Angela Lansbury starred as an apprentice witch in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).

6. Johns played villain Lady Penelope Peasoup on the Batman TV series. She teamed up with Rudy Vallee, who portrayed Lord Marmaduke Ffogg.

7. She played a flirtatious mermaid curious about humans in Miranda (1948) and its belated 1954 sequel Mad About Men. The first film was one of the biggest British boxoffice hits of the year. In the second film, Glynis Johns played double roles: Caroline, a school teacher who takes a vacation in Cornwall, and Miranda, a mermaid and distant relative to Caroline

Rick29 is a film reference book author and a regular contributor at the Classic Film & TV Café , and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. He’s a big fan of MovieFanFare, too, of course!

  • Butch Knouse

    And she played Diane’s mother in a few early Cheers episodes.