Angela Lansbury, in publicity photo for “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami”, 1947.
The five-time Tony Award-winner, who also received three Academy Award nominations, eight Emmy nominations, and starred as the lead in the long-running mystery series, Murder, She Wrote, died on October 11, 2022, aged 96.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Angela Lansbury was a London-born daughter of Moyna McGill, an Irish actress, as well as Edgar Lansbury who was a timber merchant. Her grandfather George Lansbury is the charismatic leader and founder of the Labor Party.
Her mother sent her to drama school, first in London, then in New York, and finally in Hollywood where she was signed with MGM.
She was 17 when she made her first film as the flirtatious, cockney maid in “Gaslight”, her 1944 suspense thriller.
Lansbury won her first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her debut.
George Cukor, the director of Gaslight, was shocked that Angela Lansbury’s young woman could play such a convincing seductress.
“I know. Isn’t it curious? Lansbury spoke on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” in 2009. “‘Cause it would make you think I’d been all over the block, like they say. I didn’t, you know. “I really didn’t.”
Angela Lansbury and Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Jenkins & Juanita Quinley in “National Velvet”, (1944).
“The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
Angela Lansbury was a young singer who is engaged to a man with a terrible secret in “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” a 1945 film of Oscar Wilde’s macabre novel.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
Angela Lansbury, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Lansbury received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the second consecutive year.
“The Harvey Girls”
Angela Lansbury, “The Harvey Girls”, (1946), a MGM musical that starred Judy Garland (John Hodiak), Ray Bolger and (in Cyd Charisse’s first speaking role) Cyd Chaisse.
“The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami”
Angela Lansbury joins the frivolity of “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami”, (1947), a Production Code-friendly adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s novel about a man who pursues many females in Paris.
“State of the Union.”
Frank Capra directed “State of the Union”, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Lansbury was Tracy’s media maven, pushing Tracy to run for the presidency.
“The Three Musketeers.”
Angela Lansbury played Queen Anne in “The Three Musketeers,” a 1948 adventure that starred Gene Kelly and Lana Turner. Also, June Allyson, June Allyson, and Vincent Price were all part of the cast.
“The Red Danube”
Angela Lansbury’s portrait as she appears in “The Red Danube (1949),” MGM Film.
“Samson and Delilah.”
Victor Mature played Samson, Angela Lansbury was Semadar, his wife, and before the Biblical strongman crossed paths in Cecil B., Semadar met Delilah, Semadar’s younger sister. De Mille’s colorful 1949 epic “Samson and Delilah.”
“Remains to be Seen”
Angela Lansbury was a star with Juen Allyson, Van Johnson and Van Johnson in “Remains to Be Seemed,” a 1953 comedy-comedy about a murder in a New York City apartment building. Advertisements proclaimed that the film was a “Frighten-fully Funny Mirthquake.”
“A Lawless Street.”
Randolph Scott is the lawman who is out to get rid of the corrupt businessmen at Medicine Bend. Angela Lansbury, the singer, rides into town from Scott’s past to complicate matters.
“The Court Jester.”
Danny Kaye’s musical-comedy “The Court Jester”, 1995 (1955), also starred Glynis Johnsons and Angela Lansbury.
“The Reluctant Débutante”
Kay Kendall, Rex Harrison, and Angela Lansbury are socialites who want to find reputable partners for their daughters. They are introduced in Vincente Minnelli’s 1958 comedy, “The Reluctant Deviantante.”
“The Manchurian Candidate.”
Despite being nominated for two Oscars, Lansbury wasted her twenties, thirties and thirties in hopeless typecast as a mother in “The World of Henry Orient,” Blue Hawaii (as Elvis’ mom) and “The Manchurian Candidate”, in which she gives Laurence Harvey advice that only a loving mother could offer: “You are to shoot a presidential nominee through his head.”
Lansbury explained that this is what you must have to be able to dominate other characters to “Sunday Morning.” “And if your ability to do that effectively at any stage of life, you’ll be given that role.” I was actually cast in that role over and over again.”
Lansbury received her third Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Manchurian Candidate.
“In the Cool of the Day.”
Peter Finch and Angela Lansbury play a couple who travels in Greece, divided by tragedy and Jane Fonda’s entrance in the 1963 romantic drama “In the Cool of the Day”.
Lansbury opted for Broadway after she had few opportunities in film. After winning the Tony Award in 1966 for Best Actress for Musical “Mame”, she won again for “Dear World”, “Gypsy” and “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. She was also awarded Best Featured Actress for a Play for “Blithe Spirit”.
She said that stage roles were liberating because they were for her. I felt liberated from the moment I arrived on Broadway. Those years at MGM were the most difficult. I wasn’t even considered an actress until I was on Broadway.
Beatrice Arthur and Angela Lansbury star in “Mame” on Broadway in 1966.
Angela Lansbury, George Hearn and Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Angela Lansbury entered the magical world of 2-D animation as a witch in the musical “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, (1971). This musical featured many of the creatives and co-star David Tomlinson from “Mary Poppins.”
After the U.K. premiere, the studio cut about half an hour of the film’s 2.5 hour running time. While trying to restore home video songs, it was discovered that some footage had been lost and was presumed destroyed.
“Death on Nile!”
The 1974 film, “Murder on the Orient Express,” was a big success worldwide and inspired a plethora Agatha Christie-based adaptations featuring all-star casting.
“Death on the Nile”, 1978 starred George Kennedy, David Niven, Peter Ustinov, Bette Davis (as Hercule Puirot), Jack Warden and Lois Chiles.
“The Mirror Cracked”
Angela Lansbury was Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, in “The Mirror Crack’d”, a 1980 movie-star murder mystery that also featured Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.
“The Company of Wolves”
Angela Lansbury played the role of a kind grandmother in Neil Jordan’s 1984 horror-fantasy of large bad wolves and a young girl with a red hood, “The Company of Wolves”, (1984).
“Murder, She Wrote!”
Angela Lansbury received 12 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for “Murder, She Wrote”, a film about a mystery writer and an incredibly successful amateur sleuth. It was produced by the makers of “Columbo.”
“Beauty and the Beast.”
Angela Lansbury was the voice of Mrs. Potts in the animated Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast”. This scene was taken from the 1991 animated Disney musical. Kimmy Robertson played the Feather Duster, David Ogden Stiers played Cogsworth, Jerry Orbach played Lumiere, and Bradley Michael Pierce played Chip.
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honorees were welcomed to the White House by President Bill Clinton and first Lady Hillary Clinton, Washington, December 3, 2000. From left to right: Mikhail Baryshnikov dancer, Chuck Berry rock-and roll pioneer, Placido Domingo actor-director Clint Eastwood, Angela Lansbury actress.
President Clinton said of the British emigrant who became American royalty, “Overher career her acting… has given us a glimpse into the full spectrum of human emotion. Her courage and inventiveness have inspired her colleagues. Her commitment to charity, in particular the fight against AIDS, should also inspire us all.
Kennedy Center Honors
Kennedy Center Honorees, actor-director Clint Eastwood, and actress Angela Lansbury were seen at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala, hosted in Washington, D.C. by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, December 2, 2000.
International Emmy Awards
Angela Lansbury, actress, attends 30th Annual International Emmy Awards Gala, November 25, 2002 in New York City.
The Actors Fund
Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters appear on stage at the Actors’ Fund of America Gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, October 30, 2004.
Angela Lansbury was Lady Adelaide Stitch in “Nanny McPhee”, a comedy-fantasy starring Emma Thompson.
Angela Lansbury is the loser in a food fight in “Nanny McPhee,” a comedy by Michael McPhee.
Angela Lansbury, Emma Thompson, and Angela Lansbury arrive at “Nanny McPhee’s” premiere at CityWalk in Los Angeles on January 14, 2006.
American Film Institute
Presenters George Lucas & Angela Lansbury pose in a portrait at AFI’s 40th anniversary celebration at Arclight Cinemas, October 3, 2007, Hollywood, California.
“A Little Night Music.”
Angela Lansbury (actress) and Catherine Zeta Jones (actress) appear onstage with cast members during the curtain call for “A Little Night Music,” which took place at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City, December 13, 2009.
Angela Lansbury, actress, speaks onstage during 64th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall. June 13, 2010, New York City.
Lansbury received a lifetime achievement Award at the 2022 Tony Awards ceremony, in addition to her five Tony wins.
Angela Lansbury accepts the honorary Oscar during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards, at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center, November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.
Angela Lansbury, Actress, poses at Joyce Tenneson’s New York City photography studio on May 22, 2001.