Angela Lansbury, one of the most beloved and acclaimed actors of stage, film and television passed away.

Angela Lansbury, a London-born actress who appeared on stage, screen, and television for seven decades, especially during the 12 years she spent portraying fearless mystery author Jessica Fletcher on CBS’ Murder, She Wrote, has passed away. She was 96.

Just five days shy of her 97th birthday, Dame Angela Lansbury passed away peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, according to a statement from her family obtained by PEOPLE.

She is also survived by her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury, and her three grandkids, Peter, Katherine, and Ian in addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre, and David. “Her 53-year spouse Peter Shaw preceded her in death. At a later time, a private family ceremony will be placed.”

The future character actress (Mrs. Potts in Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast) and leading lady (the eccentric aunt on Broadway in the musical Mame) Angela Brigid Lansbury was born in Belfast, the daughter of actress Moyna MacGill and her second husband, timber businessman Edgar Lansbury. In a 1993 PEOPLE story, Lansbury called her mother “a pure Irish beauty.”

When the elder Edgar Moyna passed away in 1934, the family—which included Angela and her younger (by five years) twin brothers, Edgar and Bruce, who both went on to become successful producers—found itself all but broke.

Moyna had taken the young Angela to plays at London’s Old Vic and enrolled her in a school for the arts and dance. Age 9 was Angela.

The Lansbury family relocated to New York in 1940 as a result of the war’s aggravating effects, where Moyna restarted her acting career and went on tour while Angela watched over her siblings.

Moyna helped her daughter get a screen test at MGM after moving her family to Los Angeles and starting a job in a department store. This led to the 17-year-Oscar-nominated old’s film debut as the cockney maid in the Ingrid Bergman-Charles Boyer classic 1944 thriller Gaslight.

In 2018, Lansbury said of entering the entertainment industry, “It was thanks to my mother who recognized in me a talent to cut up, to make believe, to run around being something other than the little girl that I was.” She, bless her heart, made the decisions for me when I was very, very, young after realizing that I was a natural at something.

Another Oscar nomination came the following year, this time for Angela Lansbury’s portrayal of vocalist Sibyl Vane in MGM’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. This part followed Lansbury’s earlier portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor’s younger sister in the much-loved National Velvet.

Even yet, the teen’s lack of confidence was not helped by having a contract with the largest Dream Factory on the planet and the presence of the stunning Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Hedy Lamarr on nearby soundstages.

According to Lansbury, “I was a young woman yearning for glamor and attention, and I really didn’t receive it.” “What then did I do? I married when I was 19.”

It turned out that the gorgeous leading guy Richard Cromwell was gay; Lansbury didn’t find out until they split up nine months later. “My very first fantastic relationship. A terrible tragedy occurred “The two remained close until his death from cancer in 1960, she claimed, adding that.

A Fresh Start

She met Peter Shaw, a British actor who went on to become a well-known Hollywood agent, soon after her divorce. Moyna served as the matron of honor for their 1949 wedding in London.

Even though Lansbury was only 10 years older than Elvis Presley, she went on to play roles in movies, live TV shows, and Broadway, including that of Elvis Presley’s mother in the 1961 hit, Blue Hawaii.

Lansbury’s reputation as a character actress and third Oscar nomination were both cemented by a more significant parental part in 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate as Laurence Harvey’s monster of a mother (this time, she was just three years older than her on-screen son).

Four years later, she appeared on the cover of Life magazine as Mame, the talk of Broadway, and won the first of five Tony awards, a record that was only eventually surpassed by Julie Harris and Audra McDonald in 2014.

The family came first.

Due to very personal issues, the Shaw family was forced to relocate to County Cork, Ireland in 1971. According to Lansbury, this was “one of the few locations on earth that were fairly drug-free.” The Shaw children Anthony (born in 1952) and Deirdre (born in 1953) were both using heavy drugs.

In 1978, Lansbury made a comeback professionally when she created the legendary part of murder accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, in the operatic Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Sweeney Todd. She commuted between Ireland, London, and New York for the following ten years until the kids were in order.

In addition to winning another Tony, Lansbury’s route was paved to Jessica Fletcher, the role for which she will arguably be best known and undoubtedly most adored. Lansbury starred in 256 episodes of Murder, She Wrote beginning in 1984, garnering a remarkable 12 Emmy nods but oddly never a win.

When asked to compare his wife to Fletcher, Peter Shaw told PEOPLE that it was “awfully impossible to discern the difference between the two.” Shaw, 84, passed away in 2003. “Jessica has some wonderful qualities, but Angela has that amazing gumption,” Jessica said.

Yes, cockiness. After solving her final TV murder, Lansbury started working on a number of other television and Broadway projects. Even though she was nominated for an Emmy 18 times, she never won it.

However, she did win the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1996, the American National Medal of the Arts in 1997, the Kennedy Center Honor in 2000, and the Queen’s official designation as Dame Angela in 2014. At the time, she was portraying the medium Madame Arcati in a London production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

In June, Lansbury received her sixth overall Tony Award when she was given the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

Between her roles as Mame Dennis in 1966’s Mame and Mrs. Lovett in 1979’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the legendary Broadway actress received four Tony Awards. Her 2009 performance in Blithe Spirit earned her a fifth Tony, her first for a play rather than a musical.

When receiving the SAG award, Lansbury told her peers, “It has been an incredible life, especially for me.” “The good news is that opportunities are available to us at all ages, girls.

I mean, take a look at some of the wonderful work done by women in modern cinema. I’m incredibly motivated to keep going and pursue new professional objectives. A career is after all still a work in progress in my opinion.”

The actress was 92 years old but had no intention of retiring. After starring in the PBS Little Women miniseries and collaborating for the first time in her 80-year career with a female director, Vanessa Caswell, Lansbury was asked if the project would be her last.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s my swan song, though. It won’t be my final action. Although I already have other responsibilities, it has been said that this will be my final act. But it’s not, “explained Lansbury, who appeared in Mary Poppins Returns in 2018 as the Balloon Lady.

I know at 92 I should be thinking of swanning out, she continued, but I’m not sure whether you have the energy, excitement, and interest; I don’t think you ever quit.


Similar articles