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Sally Ann Howes, Who Starred as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Has Died

The beloved theater, film, and television actor was 91.

Sally Ann Howes in 1965
(accessed wikimedia.org)

Sally Ann Howes, who enchanted audiences as Truly Scrumptious in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, died on December 19. She was 91.

Howes was born in England into a show-biz family in 1930 and received her first film role at the age of 12 in Thursday's Child. She went on to appear in several other films before taking on theatrical roles in the 1950s, and made her first appearance on Broadway in 1958 in the original production of My Fair Lady, where she replaced Julie Andrews in the lead role of Eliza Doolittle.

Other notable New York performances included her roles in the 1963 revival of Brigadoon as Fiona MacLaren, for which she earned a Tony nomination, and in the 2000 musical James Joyce's The Dead as Aunt Julia Morkan.

In the 1960s, Howes appeared more and more on television, including roles on Mission: Impossible and Marcus Welby, M.D. She later came back to the theater, appearing in the 1973 British tour of The King and I and the 1978 US tour of The Sound of Music. In 2007, she returned to My Fair Lady, this time in the role of Mrs. Higgins, the mother of Henry.

But Howes will always be best remembered for her portrayal of Truly Scrumptious in the children's classic film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where she co-starred with Dick Van Dyke in a story about an eccentric inventor who creates a flying car that whisks him, Truly, and two children to faraway adventures. Though the film received mixed reviews from critics, it enchanted young audiences and continues to be a favorite among kids of all ages.

In all, Howes's career stretched over more than six decades. She is survived by her son Andrew, whom she adopted with her second husband, the American composer Richard Adler, and two grandchildren.

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