Howes was born in Londonto popular comedians Bobby Howes, and the actress and singer Patricia Malone
Sally Ann Howes, the actor who starred in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' has died at the age of 91. Howes passed away at a hospital in Palm Beach Gardens on Sunday, reported The New York Times. One of her most popular roles came in the 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' a musical children's film that went on to be an instant classic. The cause of her death is unknown. She was born to popular comedian Bobby Howes and the actress and singer Patricia Malone in 1930 in London. Having grown up watching her parents perform, she debuted in movies as early as 12 when she featured in 'Thursday's Child' in 1943. She played the role of a schoolgirl who becomes a successful child actor, which was how her own life was set to pan out. She would continue acting in movies, TV shows, and stage productions through her younger years.
She also starred with Michael Redgrave in 'Dead of Night' in 1945 before acting in Anna Karenina opposite Vivien Leigh in 1948. She also starred in some great broadway productions including 'My Fair Lady,' 'What Makes Sammy Run?' and 'Brigadoon.' She made her Broadway debut in 'My Fair Lady,' replacing Julie Andrews, the original star, as Eliza Doolittle. She was nominated for a Tony award for her performance in Lerner and Loewe’s 'Brigadoon' at the New York City Opera in 1962, reported Variety.
She shot to international stardom when she starred as Truly Scrumptious in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' opposite Dick Van Dyke as a nutty widowed inventor. The movie was based on James Bond creator Ian Fleming's children's book of the same name. The story follows Professor Potts, Scrumptious, and his two children, as they go on an adventure to the magical land of Vulgaria in his flying boat-car. The evil Baron Bomburst, played by Gert Frobe, of Vulgaria, kidnaps Potts' children and steals the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Potts along with Scrumptious plans an elaborate scheme to rescue the kidnapped children and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from the Baron's castle on his birthday.
The movie was also nominated in 2006 for the American Film Institute's list of 25 Greatest Movies Musicals but it did not make the cut. She also performed for three different Presidents at the White House — Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1958, Howes moved to New York after marrying composer and lyricist Richard Adler. Howes continued to act in her later years, starring in TV and movies including 'Mission: Impossible.' She played Mrs. Huggins in a U.S. tour of My Fair Lady in 2007. She made an appearance at the screening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on a Turner Classic Movies cruise in 2012 and greeted fans. During the interaction, she touched upon her evolution as an actor and adapting to the movie industry and roles. "The moment you hit 45 — now it's 55 — your career changes," she said. "You have to rethink everything, and you have to adjust. I was always aware of it because of the people I was brought up with. We saw careers go up and down and be killed off." Howes added that she was happy to have tried out so many art forms and roles. "I've never prepared for anything. I've always jumped into the next thing, and therefore it's been a strange career. I enjoyed experimenting." Her last on-screen appearance came in the limited series 'Secrets' in 1992. Howes is survived by one son.