Angela Lansbury, Beauty and the Beast star, dies at 96

Angela Lansbury is known worldwide as Jessica Fletcher in the crime drama Murder, She Wrote

Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote

Versatile actress Angela Lansbury, best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the whodunit series Murder, She Wrote and as the voice of Mrs. Potts in the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast, has passed away. She was 96.

Is Angela Lansbury still alive?

Lansbury died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles on October 11th just five days shy of her 97th birthday. She is survived by her three children, Anthony, Deirdre, and David; her three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine, and Ian; five great-grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury. According to her family, a private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined.

Angela Lansbury early life

Born Angela Brigid Lansbury on October 16th, 1925, in London, Lansbury had a chaotic childhood. She was only 9 when her father, timber executive Edgar Lansbury, passed away in 1935. And at the outbreak of World War II a few years later, she, together with her mother, actress Moyna Macgill, and her two younger brothers, got on a boat to Canada and immediately boarded a train for New York.

A few years later, Lansbury and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where the duo quickly became enveloped in the ex-pat British acting community in Hollywood. Those connections led Lansbury to her first screen tests for the 1944 classic Gaslight and 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Angela Lansbury movies

Lansbury played the maid in 1944’ Gaslight, a psychological thriller that follows a young woman (Ingrid Bergman whose husband (Charles Boyer) slowly manipulates her into believing that she is descending into insanity. Her role in the George Cukor-directed film earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lansbury portrayed Sibyl Vane. Her performance in the horror-drama movie scored her second Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Although largely seen as a B-list star, Lansbury’s role as the scheming and domineering mother, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin, in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate received widespread acclaim and scored her third Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate
Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate

Years later, Lansbury also moved into voice work, contributing to animated films like the abovementioned 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 1997’s Anastasia (1997), in which she voiced Marie Feodorovna Romanov, the grandmother of the titular character.

Beauty and the Beast |  Angela Lansbury Live Performance

Angela Lansbury on Broadway

After her contract with MGM ended in 1952, Lansbury started supplementing her cinematic work with theatrical appearances. During her entire career, Lansbury won five Tony Awards, most recently in 2009 for best featured actress in a play for her work in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

Lansbury’s most popular Broadway role was Nellie Lovett, the ghoulish pie maker in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” That role earned her a Tony for best musical actress in 1979.

Lansbury’s other three Tony wins were for best actress in a musical for 1975’s Gypsy, 1966’s Dear World, and 1966’s Mame, which established her as a gay icon.

Angela Lansbury TV shows

Lansbury had already enjoyed a long and successful career when she took on the lead role of the CBS Sunday night hit Murder, She Wrote. In the crime drama, the actress played the role of Jessica Fletcher, a widowed mystery writer and amateur crime fighter whose keen observations always outwitted criminals and even the local police before the real killer would be unmasked within the hour-long episode.

Murder, She Wrote has given me more worldwide attention than any other role I played in the movies or on the stage,” Lansbury said in 2013 while receiving an honorary Academy Award. “It’s a wonderful thing to be known in Spain, Portugal, in Paris, in France and Germany, and everywhere.”

Murder, She Wrote ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 and gave Lansbury 12 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She, however, never took home the trophy.

Lansbury also made an appearance as a mother in a season 6 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2005.

She performed her final TV role as Aunt March in the BBC miniseries Little Women in 2017.

Who was Angela Lansbury married to?

Lansbury tied the knot with artist and decorator Richard Cromwell in 1945. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in less than a year.

Fast forward to 1949, Lansbury married fellow English expatriate Peter Shaw, who passed away in 2003.

Source: NBC News
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