Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury became a beloved figure around the world thanks to a diverse acting career that went across seven decades. A London native, her family moved to New York in 1940 to escape the ongoing destruction of World War II. Shortly after, the actress moved to Hollywood and began acting in films, making her debut in the Ingrid Bergman thriller "Gaslight" (1944). With that her career was off running, with appearances in classic films such as "National Velvet" (1944) and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) closely following. She continued acting continually in films, and later crossed over into television during the medium's early days. Soon she was a fixture on the teleplays that were popular at the time, appearing on shows like "General Electric Theater" (CBS, 1953-62) and "The Ford Television Theatre" (CBS, 1952-57). On the big screen during the 1950s, she appeared with Danny Kaye in "The Court Jester" (1955), and opposite Paul Newman in "The Long Hot Summer" (1958). After playing the dithering mother of Elvis Presley in "Blue Hawaii" (1961), Lansbury landed one of her signature roles. As the manipulative mother of a brainwashed political assassin in "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), the actress stole the show from Frank Sinatra, earning an Academy Awards nomination in the process. On stage, she originated the role of the title character in the hit musical "Mame" in 1966. In the early '70s, Lansbury relocated to her mother's homeland of Ireland, but she continued to act, including a starring role in the Disney musical "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1971) and as part of the all-star cast in "Death on the Nile" (1978). She also continued winning acclaim for her stage work, most notably playing the villainous Nellie Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." In 1984, she began the role that would cement her role in television history. Playing novelist and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher, Lansbury gained acclaim and multiple generations of fans during the 12-year run of "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-96). After the show's end, the actress would continue playing the role in a series of made-for-TV movies. While filming the series, Lansbury became an even bigger fixture in the Disney world when she voiced the role of Mrs. Potts in the landmark animated hit "Beauty and the Beast" (1991). As with her detective character, she would continue voicing the wise, maternal tea pot in various projects for a number of years afterwards. Later in her career, she would act periodically on stage and in films, including the family fare "Nanny McPhee" (2005) and "Mr. Popper's Penguins" (2011). In her 90s, Lansbury experienced yet another resurgence with appearances in the TV miniseries "Little Women" (2017), and the big-budget family musical "Mary Poppins Returns" (2018) opposite Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda. Angela Lansbury died on October 11, 2022 at the age of 96.