It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Sally Ann Howes passed away Sunday at the age of 91 years old. No further details have been revealed. Howes was known globally for her role as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but she also had key roles in Dead of Night. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Paint Your Wagon, Jane Eyre, Run For Your Life, Mission: Impossible, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Death Ship, and Secrets.
Howes also had a life of the stage, at one time she replaced Julie Andrews on Broadway in My Fair Lady; she was also nominated for a Tony Award in 1963 for her performance as Fiona in a revival of Brigadoon. Between 1964-65 she clocked up more than 500 performances of What Makes Sammy Run? alongside Robert Alda and Steve Lawrence. She reflected on her life on Broadway saying:
“My actual debut [on Broadway in “My Fair Lady”, 1958] was probably the most exciting day of my life, professionally. I was scheduled to open on a Monday, and Moss Hart decided that I should have one performance with an audience (one performance – very big of him!) to time the laughs before the critics saw me. So he asked Julie Andrews, who was the last of the original cast left, to give up the Saturday matinée so that I could go on. Moss (Moss Hart) himself made the announcement about the replacement, and the audience groaned and there was pandemonium. You could hear the audience muttering ‘Sally Ann Howes? Who is she?’ The overture started and the audience was still furious. Fortunately, my father [British comedian Bobby Howes] and some of his friends were out there, and that helped. I had been hailed as a star in the West End, but at the moment I was totally unknown and unwanted. I thought, ‘Well, I might as well just relax and enjoy this.’ I’m always nervous before a performance, but I felt that I could only be better than their expectations. I didn’t want to have to live up to anything. We stopped the show with “The Rain in Spain”, and then again with “I Could Have Danced All Night”. And the audience fell in love with me, and I with them. I’ve been in love with American audiences ever since.”
In 1990 she debuted her one-woman show, “From This Moment On”, at the Edinburgh Festival and at a benefit for the Long Island AIDS Association at the John Drew Theatre in Easthampton, New York.