Sally Ann Howes dead: 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and 'My Fair Lady' actress dies at 91

Sally passed away on Sunday, a few months after her husband of 48 years, Douglas Rae, died in September


                            Sally Ann Howes dead: 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and 'My Fair Lady' actress dies at 91
English actress and singer Sally Ann Howes at the Hilton Hotel in London (Photo by Leonard Burt/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and 'My Fair Lady' actress Sally Ann Howes has died at the age of 91. She had a stage and screen career spanning six decades and received immense love from her audience during those years. Sally passed away on Sunday, a few months after her husband of 48 years died in September. 

Sally appeared on the stage for the first time at the age of 12. The reason for her death is not known yet. It is known that she was inseparable from her British literary agent spouse, Douglas Rae, whom she married in 1973. Her husband passed away earlier this year. 

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Sally was born in London to Patrica Malone and Bobby Howes in 1930 and made her first appearance in the film 'Thursday's Child' and was soon put under a contract with Ealing Studios. In 1963, the actress got nominated for a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a musical as she appeared in 'Brigadoon' and also starred in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' along with Dick Van Dyke in 1968. 

However, Sally was deeply passionate about theatre and she liked it "as a drug". Following her passion, she appeared in 'Fancy Free' and in 'My Fair Lady' as Eliza Doolittle. In 1958, she replaced Julie Andrews in the Broadway production of 'My Fair Lady' and grabbed all attention in every household. When asked once, Sally said she heard a groan when she was announced as a last-minute replacement for Andrews. 

Actress Sally Ann Howes attends the screening of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

She said, "The audience felt cheated and I immediately felt I had been thrown to the wolves. By the end of the performance, I had turned them." Sally appeared in other theater roles including 'What Makes Sammy Run?', 'The King and I', and 'Cinderella'. She told the Palm Beach Post, "I would have liked a film career but I did not pursue it - I loved connecting with an audience. The theatre is a drug. The problem is that to be remembered, you have to do films." 

In 1958, Sally married Broadway composer Richard Adler and also adopted his two sons after their mother died. In 1973, she married Andrew Maree before tying the knot with Rae. 

Sharing how she was told by her parents to say yes to everything she was told to do, she said, "I auditioned for a role and was asked if I smoked. Naturally, I said yes. My father had taught me long before that when a casting director asked if you could do something, you immediately said yes, and if you could not you learned darn fast. At any rate, I learned to smoke for that role and when I finished it, I stopped." 

The actress gained a lot of fame in her career of sixty years and will be missed by her fans.