The family of the world’s oldest film actress, Glynis Johns, has called on the government to award her a damehood – ahead of her 100th birthday.
Jones appeared in countless films, including “Mary Poppins,” alongside everyone from Roger Moore to Sandra Bullock, and later in TV shows including “Batman,” “Cheers” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Jones was nominated for an Oscar, won a Bafta and a Tony, and after the deaths of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Olivia de Havilland in recent years, she became the world’s oldest living screen star – and turns 5 next month (October 5). 100 years.
Her family believes this is an opportunity to celebrate her by finally making her a Dame.
Because unlike many other British actresses of her generation and younger, including Joan Collins, Penelope Kath, Maureen Lipman and Joanna Lumley, she was never honored.
Her next of kin, grandson Thomas Forwood, told MailOnline: “I’m so glad my grandmother is going to live to see this milestone birthday and we send her lots of congratulations.
“Glynis has had a stunning career spanning many decades, during which she has demonstrated her enormous talent and versatility in a wide variety of roles on screen and stage.
“Almost everyone has seen her work and is familiar with her face and voice—there are so many pieces that people love.
“Everyone in the family is immensely proud of her achievements.
“In this case, it would be appropriate for the UK government to formally recognize her contribution to culture by awarding her the title of Dame.”
Mr Forwood, a 48-year-old screenwriter from Paris, continued: “I look at other actors, such as Dame Joan Collins or Dame Penelope Kath, Dame Maureen Lipman or Dame Joanna Lumley, who have been given this honour.
“And while I would never belittle their achievements, I feel that in this context it is clear that Glynis is being overlooked.
“It would be appropriate if the government could bypass the usual slow processes associated with these things and make up for lost time by making her a Dame immediately.”
“I don’t see this as anything other than a popular and deserved move.”
Glynis now lives in a nursing home in Beverly Hills and has not been seen in public since she was ninety, but she has an army of fans among film fans.
They include veteran Labor MP Chris Bryant, who has acted as a shadow spokesman for arts and culture, media and sport, and backed calls for Jones to receive a gong on her 100th birthday.
He told MailOnline: “Glynis certainly deserves recognition for his stellar and incredibly long career on both stage and screen. She can be compared to some of the greatest actors of her time – I’m thinking of people like Angela Lansbury, Judi Dench, Joan Collins and Maggie Smith. “But unlike all those who have received the title of dame, Glynis, for some reason, has never been honored.
“It feels like she was missed by mistake and it would be appropriate to acknowledge that on her milestone birthday.”
Film writer Richard Luck, who has written for magazines such as Empire, Rolling Stone and GQ and has also written books on Steve McQueen and Sam Peckinpah, told MailOnline: “She has had a fascinating career, not least because there has been so much stages.
From child star to bright-eyed teenager; from glamorous leading lady to middle-aged character actress; all possible genres of films, all types of television programs, from soap opera to sitcom; Batman villain, passenger on The Love Boat, Diana’s mother in Cheers – I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a great resume.
“All that is missing is femininity. And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say it’s hard to believe she doesn’t have it yet.”
Glynis, whose 100th birthday is on Thursday, October 5, was actually born in South Africa but made her London stage debut just weeks later when her proud grandmother accompanied her for a London performance.
Her father, Mervyn Jones, was a famous actor who appeared in many early British films, her mother was a concert pianist, and her grandmother was a virtuoso violinist.
With her bright-eyed charm and signature husky, Glynis became a major star on stage, film and television for decades.
At the age of five she entered the London School of Ballet, where she won a series of gold medals. Angela Lansbury, who died last year, was two years below Jones.
Her first film role was in the 1938 Yorkshire-set drama South Riding, which was remade for television with Anna Maxwell Martin in David Morrissey in 2011.
Other film roles followed, including the 1939 thriller Night of the Fire, in which she appeared opposite Ralph Richardson.
She continued to act throughout the war, most notably in the popular ghost story Halfway House (1944), in which she appeared alongside her father.
The following year, she also starred alongside Deborah Kerr and a young Roger Moore in the drama Perfect Strangers.
She also worked regularly on the West End stage during the Blitz, when bombs fell on London.
By the late forties she had become one of Britain’s most recognizable and popular stars, a status confirmed by her role as a mermaid in the popular early romantic comedy Miranda and its sequel Helter Skelter. He is said to have inspired Daryl Hannah’s later hit Splash.
In 1951’s Dear Mr. Hack, she was Dirk Bogarde’s love interest. This was to lead to a strange turn in her personal life – her husband Anthony Forwood (Thomas’ father) later left her and moved in with Bogarde as his lover the following year.
Jones’s career flourished in the fifties, when she appeared in countless films both in the UK and in Hollywood.
She appeared alongside the biggest stars of the day: James Stewart, David Niven, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., David Niven, Danny Kaye, Lana Turner, Jack Hawkins, Richard Todd, Richard Attenborough, Alec Guinness and Diana Dors.
In 1960, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the Australian drama Sundowners, which also starred Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov and again her own father, Mervyn Jones.
But she gained her greatest fame in 1964 when she played the role of the suffragette mother in the Disney film Mary Poppins. The film was a huge success, and her character became a firm favorite.
In the sixties, a famous producer called her “the favorite daughter of the London theater.”
In the seventies, Stephen Sondheim wrote his most famous song, “Send in the Clowns,” with her in mind. He said her voice resembled a “rumpled bed”, which suited the song. She won a Tony Award for her role in the musical A Little Night Music.
She also appeared alongside the world’s most famous couple at the time, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, in the film version of Milk Wood.
In the Eighties, she played the mother of Shelley Long’s character Diana in the long-running hit comedy Cheers, opposite Ted Danson, and also appeared opposite her former classmate Angela Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote. She even made a guest appearance on Scooby-Doo.
She continued to perform well into the 1990s, performing on stages in the West End and Broadway.
Her last film role was opposite Will Ferrell in the 1999 comedy Superstar.
She married four times, outliving each husband as well as her only son. Her closest relative is her only grandson, Thomas, who is a father himself.