Through their disjointed adventures in ‘Mary Poppins’, Jane and Michael Banks go horse-racing, dance on rooftops, have a picnic with penguins, visit a man who laughs so much he rolls around the ceiling, and clean their room by clicking their fingers (it doesn’t actually work, we all tried).
But what happened to the young kids who played them? Find out after the jump!
Jane – Karen Dotrice
Karen was the daughter of two Shakespearean actors, Kay and Roy Dotrice, and she grew up on the Channel Islands.
In 1963 Karen was hired for ‘The Three Lives of Thomasina’ and while filming she and her mum would often hang out at Walt Disney’s house. Disney was fond of the girl and she called him ‘Uncle Walt’, and so she was a shoe-in for the part of Jane in ‘Mary Poppins’.
She teamed up with her Poppins co-star Matthew Garber for the third time in ‘The Gnome-Mobile’ but didn’t work again as a child.
During the 70’s she played a housemaid in ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ (below) and in 1978 she made her last film appearance in a remake of ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’. She disappeared from showbiz entirely after getting horrible reviews as Desdemona in an Othello production.
Karen has a son with actor Alex Hyde-White (who she was married to from 1986 to 1992) and she has two children with her second husband Ned Nalle.
Michael – Matthew Garber
Matthew got his break when Karen Dotrice’s dad recommended him for ‘The Three Lives of Thomasina’ (the two families were friends). He worked with Karen again in ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Gnome Mobile’.
While in India in 1976, Matthew got hepatitis – by the time he father could get him home months later it had spread to his pancreas and was untreatable. He died aged 21.
His brother has denied any speculation that Matthew may have got the disease from using drugs, and says instead he probably got it by eating bad meat. Karen later said that she wished she had stayed in touch with him more and added –
“While I was Victorian proper and wouldn’t let myself get dirty or muddy, Matthew had a great sense of fun and danger. He was a daredevil and could have been a race car driver. And he did live a full life over his 21 years.”
Check out what happened to the cast of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ here.