May 24, 2024

Angela Lansbury: Her Life and Legacy

On October 11th, 2022, in Los Angeles, California, Angela Lansbury passed away in her house while asleep at 1:30 in the morning. She passed away five days until her 97th birthday. She had some problems with her hip for a while.

She was born in London, England in 1925, in the district of St. Pancras in Central London. Her mother Monya Magill was an Irish actress and her father was a politician, Edgar Lansbury. Her grandfather, George Lansbury served as a British Labor Party leader from 1932 to 1935.

Lansbury is best known for writing ‘Murder She Wrote’ which ran for 12 seasons. 1984 to 1996, one of the most successful shows on the network, it landed a spot-on TV Hall of Fame in 1996.

“Murder She Wrote’ has given me more worldwide attention than any other role I played in the movies or on the stage,” Angela mentioned while receiving an Oscar. “It’s a wonderful thing to be known in Spain, Portugal, Paris, France, and Germany everywhere. “

She’s also best known for her role as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and sang the film’s titular track in 2016 at the age of 90. She also sang the theme song live at Lincoln Center’s Alice during the movie’s 25th anniversary.

My favorite has to be “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” with David Tomlinson staring with her in it.

She has won 5 Tony Awards and recently won the Best Featured Actress in “Blithe Spirit” in 2009. Her very first tony was in 1979, for Best Musical Actress as Nellie in “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. She also won Best Actress in a Musical for “Mame” in 1966, “Dear Worl” in 1969, and “Gypsy” in 1975.

In the 2022 Tony Awards, she received a special award for lifetime achievement. She didn’t accept it in person which concerned her fans. Back in 2014, Queen Elizabeth II honored Lansbury with the Dame Commander of the British Empire title during the ceremony at Windsor Castle.

“It is a very proud day for me to be recognized by the country of my birth, and to meet the Queen under these circumstances is a rare and lovely occasion.” She mentioned.

At the age of 17, she got her first role in George Cukor’s “Gaslight” with a cast led by Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. The 1944 movie garnered 7 academy award nominations including one for Lansbury as Best Supporting Actress.

“I was wrapping Christmas gifts in a department store one minute, then playing opposite Ingrid Bergman the next-it was a short little miracle.”

She sided with Elizabeth Taylor, making a lifelong friendship with her. That following year in 1945 she was nominated in “A picture of Dorian Gray”, which also co-starred Hurd Hatfield and George Sanders.

Two decades later, Lansbury secured an Oscar nomination for the 3rd time for her role as Elanor Iselin in John Frankenheimer’s 1962 adaption of “The Manchurian Candidate.”

In 1988 she recalled the moment Frankenheimer “slammed” the novel down in front of her and ordered her to go home and read it.

“I took it home and I read it and I called him up and said, “Wow,” she stated.

“We felt because of the extraordinary subject matter and the way in which the plot was devised, it was so extraordinary that it was going to either sink or swim. And it swam and it’s still swimming.” Lansbury declared in the film.

She continued to star on the big screen, in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971) and “Death on the Nile (1978).

Even though she has been nominated multiple times and has won she mentioned that it has been frustrating as an actor.

“I was a supporting actress and a featured player, but I wanted it all,” She said in 2011. “I was lucky that especially during my 7 years at MGM, most of the actors and directors were the absolute best in their field.”

In 2016, she took the TV role in 1984 after 40 years of showbiz because it was a steady paycheck.

“I decided it was time to go out and do theatre and get into television because we have to have an annuity.”

In 1945 she married Richard Cromwell who was also an actor. She was 19 and he was 35. The marriage lasted a year, and they remained close friends until his death in 1960. In 1949 Lansbury married English actor Peter Shaw, they were married for 54 years until he passed in 2003.

They had two children together, Anthony and David. She became a stepmother to Shaw’s older son David. But it wasn’t always sunshine with these two, they did d**gs in the 1960s. David was in a crowd led by Charles Manson. The boys did eventually become sober and their careers became successful, Anthony even directed one of his mother’s episodes during “Murder She Wrote”.

She is survived by her 3 children, Anthony, Deirdre, and David, and her 3 grandchildren, Peter, Katherine, and Ian along with her five great-grandchildren, and her brother and producer Edgar Lansbury. She proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private funeral will be held for family and a small gathering of friends.