Sally Ann Howes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang actress, dies at 91
Sally Ann Howes, the child actor who rose to fame in the cult film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang died in her sleep Sunday. She was 91.
Howes' death was confirmed Monday on Twitter by her nephew, Toby Howes, who responded to a friend's post about Howes' passing with, "I can also confirm the passing of my beloved Aunty Sally Ann Howes who died peacefully in her sleep yesterday. My brother and I thought Sally Ann might hold on until the Christmas screening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as this would have greatly appealed to her mischievous side."
Howes was a prominent fixture in the entertainment world, racking up 40 credits in both film and television. Born in London, she made her acting debut at age 12 in the 1943 film Thursday's Child after being recommended for the role by a family friend. A prolific career followed as Howes went on to star in films such as Dead of Night, Nicholas Nickleby, and The History of Mr. Polly. In the 1950s, she made the transition to theater while continuing to star in multiple films and television shows.
In 1958, she made her Broadway debut in 1958 as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, taking over for original star Julie Andrews — a role that catapulted her career to another level. Howe went on to earn a 1962 Tony nomination for her performance as Fiona in Brigadoon at the New York City Opera, a role she reprised when the show was made into a TV series. It's also the role that earned Howe the attention of Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, the man who brought Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the big screen.
In the film, Howes achieved another round of fame in the role of Truly Scrumptious opposite Dick Van Dyke.
Howe continued to focus on theater in her later years, appearing in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the New York City Opera in 1990, while making appearances on the big and small screen. Her last appearance was in the 1992 limited series Secrets.
Howes is survived by one son.