Actor Angela Lansbury Dies at 96
Actor Angela Lansbury, who famously portrayed Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote” and voiced the beloved teapot Mrs. Potts in the original animated “Beauty and the Beast,” died on October 11, 2022. She was 96.
She was born Angela Brigid Lansbury in London, on October 16, 1925. When her father died, in 1934, the family moved to New York. Her mother, Moyna, worked as an actress and helped Angela get a screen test at MGM. At age 17, in 1944, Angela landed her first movie role as a maid in “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
In her movie career, she shared the screen with many iconic actors. She played Elizabeth Taylor’s sister in “National Velvet,” Elvis Presley’s mother in “Blue Hawaii,” and Laurence Harvey’s mother in “The Manchurian Candidate.” She was often only a few years older than her onscreen “children.” She said, “I was never going to get to play the girl next door. And I was never going to be groomed to be a glamorous movie star. And I sort of realized that. So I had to make my – make peace with myself on that score.”
On Broadway, she earned five Tony awards — a rare feat. Notably, she starred in “Mame” and portrayed Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd.”
However, Lansbury gained her widest audience when she took on the role of author-turned-detective Jessica Fletcher on the CBS show “Murder, She Wrote,” which debuted in 1984 and ran for 256 episodes.
Lansbury married twice. Her first marriage, to leading man Richard Cromwell, ended when she learned that he was gay, but the two remained friends. Her second marriage, to actor and agent Peter Shaw, lasted for 53 years, until his death in 2003.
Lansbury was nominated for an Emmy 18 times but never won. However, she received five Tonys and a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, an American National Medal of the Arts, and a Kennedy Center Honor. In addition, in 2014, she was dubbed Dame Angela by Queen Elizabeth II.
She was an inspiration for all, especially for women in the performing arts. She said, “It has been an outstanding life, especially for me. And the great news is, girls, the opportunities are out there for us at all ages.”
Angela Lansbury died in her sleep in her Los Angeles home. She is survived by her three children, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Learn more about Angela Lansbury in her own words.
BBC. “Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury dies at 96.” BBC, October 11, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-63221326
Gross, Terry. “Angela Lansbury looks back on her great performances on stage and screen.” NPR, May 27, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/05/27/1101435407/angela-lansbury-looks-back-on-her-great-performances-on-stage-and-screen
Martinez, Gina. “Angela Lansbury, “Murder, She Wrote” star, dies at 96.” CBS News, October 11, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/angela-lansbury-murder-she-wrote-star-dead-at-96/
Rabinowitz, Chloe. “Dame Angela Lansbury Passes Away at 96.” Broadway World, October 11, 2022, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Dame-Angela-Lansbury-Passes-Away-at-96-20221011
Silverman, Stephen M. and Quinn, Dave. “Angela Lansbury, Screen and Broadway Icon, Dead at 96.” People, October 11, 2022, https://people.com/movies/angela-lansbury-dead-at-96/
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