Glynis was born - Glynis van der Riet, in Durban, South Africa. At the age of five she moved to Johannesburg with her mother after her parents divorced.
Glynis grew up in the apartheid era. She was inspired by Helen Suzman, who was the only woman and the only liberal in parliament at the time, after Helen came to speak at her school. This triggered Glynis’ interest and involvement in politics and human rights.
She remains active supporting human rights through the legal based charity Protimos and is also involved with children with special needs and organisations such as The Aspergers Syndrome Foundation.
Glynis decided at the age of five to become an actress. This was after seeing ’The Parent Trap’ starring Hayley Mills.
As an extremely shy child, Glynis did not do much about this ambition until her teens, when classmates would put her name forward for school productions.
She then joined a speech and drama group and discovered literature. When she was fifteen, she was so inspired by one tutor, that she sat down and read the entire works of Shakespeare in a fortnight.
Her mother and stepfather agreed that after she had finished school, she could go to London to study drama. Sadly when Glynis was seventeen her mother died.
Plans were delayed, and for the next year Glynis took on various jobs, including modelling.
Finally, thanks to the generosity and support of her stepfather, she left South Africa aged eighteen and began a three year course at Mountview Theatre School in London.
Remaining in England after graduating, her first job was at Chelmsford Rep as an Acting/ASM. This entailed helping build the sets,organizing the props, cueing the sound effects, plus playing various leading roles!.
During this time, Glynis was briefly married to actor Paul Anthony Barber whom she had met at drama school.
Many parts soon followed both in television and theatre, including ’Once In A Lifetime’ directed by Trevor Nunn for the RSC and ’Hamlet’ playing Ophelia and directed by David Thacker.
Early success came playing Soolin in the final series of the cult show ’Blakes 7’ which was followed by the mini-series ’Jane’ based on the famous wartime comic strip heroine- both for the BBC.
Her big break came in 1984 when she was cast as the cop, Makepeace, in a major British and American co-production of the series ’Dempsey & Makepeace’. It proved a world wide hit, shown in over thirty countries and ran for three series.
Her co-star was American actor Michael Brandon. Much to the delight of the press and public, they became a couple off-screen. In 1989, Glynis and Michael got married and went to live in Los Angeles. Their son Alex was born there in 1992.
After completing ’Dempsey & Makepeace’, Glynis returned to her first love, theatre for the next couple of years.
While in Los Angeles, Glynis continued to accept guest roles on television, but her main priority was her small son.
In 1996 Glynis and Michael moved back to London. That same year they worked together on an American mini-series for ABC called ’Apocalypse Watch’ playing the American ambassador and his wife. This was followed by another joint project, the film ’Deja Vu’ with Vanessa Redgrave, which was completely improvised.
Glynis, very happy to be back in London, has worked steadily since her return. Favourites include the ITV series ’Night & Day’, ’Trial and Retribution’ and Emmerdale.
In the theatre, Glynis achieved one of her dreams and played Lady Macbeth in ’Macbeth’. She also very much enjoyed playing Mrs Robinson in ’The Graduate’ and appearing in ‘Separate Tables’.
Currently, Glynis is thrilled to be playing Glenda Mitchell in Eastenders.