Angela Lansbury, star of TV, film and theatre, dies aged 96

Angela Lansbury, star of TV, film and theatre, dies aged 96

Postby dutchman » Tue Oct 11, 2022 9:40 pm

Lansbury won an Oscar nomination for her first role in the 1944 film Gaslight, and gained international acclaim as Murder, She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher

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The actor Angela Lansbury, best known as Jessica Fletcher in the TV series Murder, She Wrote and for numerous film and theatre roles, has died aged 96. She died in her sleep on Tuesday, just five days before her 97th birthday, her family has announced.

Lansbury was born in London in 1925, to Irish actor Moyna Macgill and Edgar Lansbury, a politician and timber merchant who died when she was nine. Following the Blitz, Lansbury, two of her siblings and her mother relocated to the US, where she trained at New York’s Feagin School of Drama and Radio. She went on to receive an Oscar nomination for her first film role, aged 19, in the 1944 film Gaslight, and starred in the hit film National Velvet, as well as a steady stream of other MGM productions during the 1940s.

After more minor roles, Lansbury came to prominence once again in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, however it wasn’t until 1966, when she took the lead title in the musical Mame, that she reached widespread prominence. A lead role as Rose in the West End transfer of Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy followed, as did roles in hit films and further musical theatre productions, including Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

However, she will be best known to many for playing the role of Jessica Fletcher in the US crime drama Murder, She Wrote. An international success, the whodunit drama ran from 1984 and 1996 and made a global star of the actor who played its lead, a crime writer and would-be detective. She also exec produced the show, via Corymore Productions, a production company she started with her late husband Peter Shaw, who died in 2003. Lansbury also notably voiced Mrs Potts in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast.

Lansbury received five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes and an Olivier Award as well as an Honorary Oscar and a Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA over the course of her career. In 2014 she was made by a dame by Queen Elizabeth II.

In a 2019 with US magazine Parade, she said that she was not yet prepared to retire: “Yes, I do [think about it] on some days. I think, Oh, no, goodness gracious. I can’t pull myself together to do this today. But I keep doing it. There’s going to come a point, where I’ll think, I’m folding up now. I’m putting that person away in the closet and I’m going to just live out my remaining years with the family”.

She is survived by children Anthony and Deidre and stepson David, plus three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and her brother, Edgar.

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