Sally Ann Howes, Truly Scrumptious Actress in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ Dies at 91

by Clayton Edwards

Sally Ann Howes, actress, singer, and star of stage and screen passed away on Sunday she was 91. As of now, no one has announced her cause of death.

Sally Ann was the daughter of Bobby Howes, a star in his own right. As a result, she began learning the ropes of the entertainment world at a young age, according to her obituary in The Times of London. Her film career started early. Howes was only 13 when she took her first role, Fennis Wilson in Thursday’s Child (1943). However, American moviegoers remember her best as Truly Scrumptious from the 1968 fantasy musical classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sally Anne Howes’ Long Career

At the age of 20, Sally Ann Howes took her first starring stage role. She starred in a Glasgow production of Caprice, according to IMDb. That opened several doors for her. Later, she embarked on an 18-month run of Paint Your Wagon. In that production, she shared the stage with her father. In 1958, Howes proved her star power when she took over for the legendary Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady. This role cemented her fame in the United States.

In his documentary, Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dick Van Dyke said, “They couldn’t have picked a better Truly Scrumptious than [Sally Ann Howes].” He went on to praise her vocal talents and her striking good looks. More importantly, he said, “She loved those kids and they loved her, which I think comes across on the screen.”

Unfortunately, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang came out at a time when musicals were falling in popularity and profitability. As a result, Hollywood offered Sally Ann Howes no outlet for her musical talents. So, her film appearances dwindled. However, she stayed in the public eye by appearing on game shows and talk shows. Additionally, she continued working on the stage.

Sally Ann Howes appeared in productions of Camelot, The Sound of Music, The King and I, and several others. By the time her career started to slow down, many considered her one of the grand dames of both American and British musical theatre.

According to The Daily Mail, Sally Ann Howes’ nephew Toby confirmed her death on Twitter saying that the star passed peacefully in her sleep. He added, “My brother & 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’ Legacy

Today, fans around the world are mourning Sally Ann Howes. She left behind several films that touched the lives of countless people. Additionally, her talent and work stand as an inspiration to those who wish to follow in her footsteps. Talents like hers are rare and she will be sorely missed.