‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ actor Sally Ann Howes dies at 91

Entertainment

This Sept. 8, 1961 file photo shows Broadway composer Richard Adler, left, and his wife actress-singer Sally Ann Howes in New York. Adler, who won Tony Awards for co-writing the songs for such hit musicals as “The Pajama Game” and “Damn Yankees,” died Thursday, June 21, 2012 at his home in Southampton, N.Y., according to his family. He was 90. Some of Adler’s biggest songs are “You Gotta Have Heart,” “Hey, There,” “Hernando’s Hideaway,” “Whatever Lola Wants,” “Steam Heat,” “Rags to Riches,” and “Everybody Loves a Lover.” (AP Photo, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sally Ann Howes, who started as a child actor before she later starred in the 1968 film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with Dick Van Dyke, has died. She was 91.

Her son Andrew Hart Adler confirmed the death of his mother in an interview with the Press Association on Wednesday. He said the family hoped Howes could “hold on” until the Christmas screening of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” but the actor’s nephew said she ultimately died peacefully in her sleep.

The cause of Howes’ death has not been released.

The New York Times reported she died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Sunday.

Howes, an English actor, began her career on the big screen at the age of 12 in the 1943 film “Thursday’s Child,” where she played a schoolgirl turned successful actor. She comes from an acting lineage that includes her parents, Bobby Howes and Patricia Malone.

In five decades, Howes made appearances in more than 140 films, musicals, plays and television projects including the screen adaption of Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby” and “The History of Mr. Polly.” She made her biggest splash as the character Truly Scrumptious in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” which became a holiday favorite.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” was often broadcasted on Christmas Day in the United Kingdom.

Howes made a mark in the theater realm. She earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance in “Brigadoon” at the New York City Opera in 1962. The later part of her career was spent in theater. She made her last appearance on screen in the limited series “Secrets” in 1992.

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