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Sally Ann Howes, Star of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ Dies at 91

“Sally Ann Howes has grown accustomed to Lerner and Loewe songs,” Milton Esterow said in a review for The Times. “She has grace, beauty and a lovely voice.” Since “Brigadoon” was soon to vanish, Mr. Esterow suggested, “Broadway should hurry and find a new show for Miss Howes. Otherwise some smart gentlemen in Scotland might decide to nominate her for public office.”

In 1964, Ms. Howes joined Robert Alda and Steve Lawrence in “What Makes Sammy Run?” a Broadway musical written by Budd Schulberg and based on his novel about a ruthless young man who betrays friends and lovers to scheme his way to the top of a Hollywood studio. The show ran for 540 performances, although Ms. Howes, pressed by other engagements, left after a year.

Throughout the 1960s she turned increasingly to television, appearing on the Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan shows, and on “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Kraft Music Hall” and “The United States Steel Hour.” She also had roles in “Mission: Impossible,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.” and “Bracken’s World.”

Ms. Howes toured Britain in 1973 in “The King and I,” and the United States in 1978 in “The Sound of Music.” In the 1970s and ’80s she sang operettas like “Blossom Time” and “The Merry Widow” in American regional theaters. In 1990, she joined a New York City Opera staging of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” in the role of the theater actress Desiree Armfeldt; the production was shown on public television’s “Live From Lincoln Center.” And a half-century after her triumph as Eliza Doolittle, she toured the United States in “My Fair Lady” in 2007, playing Mrs. Higgins, the mother of Henry Higgins. It was her 64th year in show business.

Sally Ann Howes was born in London on July 20, 1930, to the comedian Bobby Howes and the actress Patricia Malone. Her maternal grandfather, Capt. J.A.E. Malone, directed stage musicals; an uncle, Pat Malone, was an actor.

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