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

She played Truly Scrumptious in the musical classic

By Ella Kemp

Sally Ann Howes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sally Ann Howes in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (Credit: Alamy)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star Sally Ann Howes has died at the age of 91.

The actress, who played Truly Scrumptious in the 1968 film, reportedly passed away on Sunday (December 19), according to The Times.

Her nephew, Toby Howes, confirmed the news on Twitter, writing in response to a post by Howes’ friend Susan Granger: “I can also confirm the passing of my beloved Aunty #SallyAnnhowes who died peacefully in her sleep yesterday.

“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 worked on Broadway as well as film and television, across a career which spanned six decades.

For her performance as Fiona McLaren in Brigadoon, the actress was nominated for a Tony award for Best Lead Actress, despite the production only running for two weeks.

The actress also appeared in musical comedy Summer Song and also Paint Your Wagon, alongside her father Bobby Howes. She was also praised for her performance in the drama A Hatful of Rain.

In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sally Ann Howes starred alongside Dick Van Dyke as inventor Caractacus Potts’ love interest. She sang musical numbers including ‘Toot Sweets’, ‘Lovely Lonely Man’, ‘Hushabye Mountain’ and ‘Doll on a Music Box’.

Howes had said in 1998 that ‘Music Box’ was her favourite number to sing, explaining to Rosie O’Donnell: “It was the most difficult thing in the whole world. I really was very proud of it. I did it on the set. I was a bit nervous about it, with about 150 extras [looking on]. They put me up on this box and off I went. And I got it in one take!”

The actress was married to Douglas Rae from 1972 to 2021 – Rae died earlier this year, in September.