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HomeBlogThe Original Performer Of Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns," Glynis Johns, From...

The Original Performer Of Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns,” Glynis Johns, From “Mary Poppins,” Passes Away At The Age Of 100.

Tony Award-winning stage and film actor Glynis Johns, who popularized Stephen Sondheim’s sad anthem “Send in the Clowns” and portrayed Julie Andrews’ mother in the beloved film “Mary Poppins,” has passed away. She was a hundred years old.

Her manager, Mitch Clem, reported that she passed away on Thursday from natural causes at an assisted living facility in Los Angeles. Clem remarked, “Today’s a sad day for Hollywood.” She truly is the last of the old Hollywood greats.

Johns was well-known for being exact, analytical, and opinionated in her work as a perfectionist. She had to play a variety of roles. She was giving her all, and anything less than that.

In 1990, she stated to The Associated Press, “As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level.” Making it a reality is the entire purpose of top-notch acting. To tell the truth. And for me to be real, I have to make meaning of it in my own mind.”

The role of Desiree Armfeldt in “A Little Night Music,” for which Johns received a Tony Award in 1973, was her greatest success. Sondheim composed the popular song “Send in the Clowns” for the show specifically for her deep, husky voice; nevertheless, Elizabeth Taylor ended up playing the same role in the 1977 film adaptation.

Johns said to the AP in 1990, “I’ve had other songs written for me, but nothing like that.”

Sondheim’s most well-known song was also sung by Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, and Olivia Newton-John after Johns. Elijah Wood sang it in the second season of “Yellowjackets” in 2023.

When “A Little Night Music” was first being planned, elements of the text and score—including a solo piece for Johns—had not yet been completed when it went into rehearsal. To help book writer Hugh Wheeler come up with some ideas, director Hal Prince suggested she and co-star Len Cariou improvise a scene or two.

She told the AP, “Hal said, ‘Why don’t you just say what you feel?'” “After Len and I completed that, Hal called Steve Sondheim.”



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