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Angela Lansbury Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (67) | Personal Quotes (15) | Salary (3)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 16 October 1925Regent's Park, London, England, UK
Birth NameAngela Brigid Lansbury
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her first film, Gaslight (1944). Two pictures later, she was again nominated for Best Supporting Actress, this time for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Now established as a supporting player of quality, she began a long career, often as "the other woman" in major productions and as the leading lady in lesser films. Her features, while not at all old-appearing, gave her an air of maturity that allowed her to pass as much older than she actually was, and she began playing mother roles, often to players of her own age, while yet in her thirties. She concentrated more and more on stage work, achieving notable success in a number of Broadway plays and musicals, winning four Tony Awards in sixteen years. Although active in television since the early 1950s, she obtained her greatest fame in the 1980s by starring in the light mystery program Murder, She Wrote (1984). As Jessica Fletcher, she became known and loved by millions for well over a decade. She also became known for the odd fact of almost annual Emmy Award nominations for the role without ever winning for it. An institution in American theatre and television, she is also an inspiration for the graciousness of her personality, which is often exploited and always admired.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Peter Shaw (12 August 1949 - 29 January 2003) (his death) (2 children)
Richard Cromwell (27 September 1945 - 11 September 1946) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Strawberry blonde hair
Sparkling blue eyes
Deep sultry voice.

Trivia (67)

Daughter of actress Moyna MacGill, who appeared with her in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Kind Lady (1951).
Granddaughter of George Lansbury, British Labour Party leader in 1930s.
Sister of Edgar Lansbury and Bruce Lansbury, and half-sister of Isolde Denham.
Wearing just conventional makeup (i.e., not studio made-up to look "old"), she was most chilling and unforgettable (and convincing!) as the manipulating mother of Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate (1962), while in real life being scarcely three years Harvey's senior.
She, her mother Moyna MacGill and her twin younger brothers were in the last boatload of family members evacuated from London to America during World War II.
A recent authorized biography, "Balancing Act", states that her first husband, Richard Cromwell was gay, a fact she didn't know until after their separation.
She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to drama in 1994.
Her son was a follower of Charles Manson's gang. After the Sharon Tate murders, she thought it best to get him out of the country. She took him to Ireland to help him with his drug problems.
Aunt of David Lansbury, who is married to Ally Sheedy
2000: She was the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 for her services to the arts.
As for 2012, Ms. Lansbury holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win among performers with 18 unsuccessful nominations.
She has one half-sister, Isolde, from her mother's first marriage to Reginald Denham. Isolde was married to Peter Ustinov, with whom she had one daughter, Tamara Ustinov, Lansbury's niece.
Cousin of Oliver Postgate, the producer and voice behind the classic BBC Television series The Clangers (1969) and such series such as Ivor the Engine (1975).
She and Mildred Natwick were both in The Court Jester (1955) and were reunited in the Murder, She Wrote (1984) episode, Murder, She Wrote: Murder in the Electric Cathedral (1986), 30 years later.
She was reunited with her Death on the Nile (1978) co-star, Olivia Hussey, in the Murder, She Wrote (1984) episode, Murder, She Wrote: Sing a Song of Murder (1985), seven years after that film. Olivia played Rosalie Otterbourne in the movie and she was the daughter of Salome Otterbourne, played by Lansbury.
She was reunited with her The Court Jester (1955) co-star, Glynis Johns, in the Murder, She Wrote (1984) episode, Murder, She Wrote: Sing a Song of Murder (1985), 29 years after that film.
She was longtime friends with the late Bob Hope and gave a speech at his memorial service on August 27, 2003. She and Hope appeared on Bob Hope: The First 90 Years (1993), and she sang with him.
July 21, 2000: She withdrew from a Broadway musical, "The Visit", due to her husband's impending heart surgery.
She was among the special guests who were invited to the Grand Opening of the first Disney Park in Europe (Disneyland Resort Paris, formerly known as EuroDisney Resort), where she impressed her hand prints.
She trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England whose alumni include Terence Stamp, Elizabeth Knowelden, Hugh Bonneville, Rupert Friend, Antony Sher, Matthew Goode, Sue Johnston, Minnie Driver and Julian Fellowes.
She has been nominated 12 times for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series on Murder, She Wrote (1984), plus four more before, during and after the series, but didn't win.
She was one of the last guest stars on the situation comedy Newhart (1982).
On the last episode of Murder, She Wrote (1984), she didn't work on the final day of production as there was too much emotion going on.
11/25/75: Her mother, Moyna MacGill, died.
1951: Became a United States citizen.
Her twin brothers are both film producers.
She had performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in their annual public Christmas concerts at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.
She was offered the role of Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) but turned it down because she didn't think she could handle the role.
2005: To date, she is the only actress with more than two nominations in Tony Award competition to go undefeated, having won all four for which she was nominated. Her Tony wins, all in the Best Actress (Musical) category, are: in 1966, "Mame"; in 1969, "Dear World"; the musical version of "The Madwoman of Chaillot"; in 1975, a revival of "Gypsy"; and, in 1979, "Sweeney Todd", a performance she recreated in the television production of the same title, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982).
1985: She accepted the Oscar for "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" on behalf of Peggy Ashcroft, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony.
July 14, 2005: She had knee replacement surgery.
While filming Death on the Nile (1978), aboard ship, no one was allowed his or her own dressing room, so she shared a dressing room with Bette Davis and Maggie Smith.
She has been the co-recipient of 3 Grammy Awards for the Broadway stage shows, "Mame" (1966) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979) in which she played the female lead.
2006: To date, she has hosted (or co-hosted) more Tony Awards telecasts than any other individual: (1968, 1971, 1987, 1988 and 1989).
1997: She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C.
Her performance as Mrs. John Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is ranked #91 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
She was one of the speakers at Jerry Orbach's memorial service.
Though she's not hailed for her singing voice often, she has won 4 Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical, and is best known for being in musicals.
Her singing voice was dubbed in the romantic musical The Harvey Girls (1946).
Before becoming a professional performer she went by her middle name Brigid. MGM wanted her to take the name Angela Marlowe but she refused.
Her performance as Mrs. John Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is ranked #21 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains for villains.
Ex-stepmother-in-law of Catherine Bach.
2nd cousin, via cousin Coral Lansbury, to Australian Federal Liberal Party leader, Malcolm Turnbull.
Cousin to Coral Lansbury, (died 4/4/1991), Rutgers University Camden Campus Dean of the Graduate School of English and mother to Australian Liberal Party leader, Malcolm Turnbull.
Grandmother, via son Anthony Pullen Shaw, of Ian Lansbury.
She was nominated for the 2007 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Drama for "Deuce".
She was considered for the role of Miss Caswell in All About Eve (1950), but Marilyn Monroe was cast in the role instead.
With her 2009 Tony Award for Actress in a Featured Role in a Play on June 7, 2009, she and Julie Harris are the only two actresses to win five Tony Awards. In 2012, Audra McDonald became the third actress to win five Tony Awards. Additionally, Angela Lansbury is the only actress and the third performer ever to be nominated for all four performance awards at the Tony Awards. She won Best Actress in a Musical for "Mame" (1966), "Dear World" (1969), "Gypsy" (1975) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979). She was nominated for Best Actress in a Play for Deuce in 2007. She won Best Featured Actress in a Play for "Blithe Spirit" in 2009. She was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical for "A Little Night Music" in 2010.
She was awarded the 2009 Tony Award for Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her performance in "Blithe Spirit" on Broadway in New York City.
As for February 2010, she holds the record for youngest actress to get two Oscar nominations (by the age of 20). Was tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Alan Alda for the most Golden Globe Award wins: six, until Streep's seventh win on January 17, 2010.
Has played Elvis Presley's mother in Blue Hawaii (1961), despite only being 10 years older than him.
Best known by the public for her role as Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote (1984).
Angela Lansbury recreated the role of Mrs. Pollifax in the 1999 television movie who was originally in the movie was played by Rosalind Russell. She also recreated Miss Russell's title role in Auntie Mame (1958) in the original Broadway cast of the musical "Mame".
Is a member of St. David's Anglican Church in North Hollywood, California.
She created the role of Mame Dennis in Jerry Herman's "Mame". When Jack L. Warner decided to make the movie, he refused to cast Angela Lansbury (despite intense pressure from Jerry Herman to do so) because she wasn't a big enough star. He cast Lucille Ball, instead. The film was a flop and, to this day, Angela Lansbury has never forgiven Warner.
The Oscar-winning song "Beauty and the Beast" almost wasn't sung by Angela Lansbury. Because it was a slow, romantic ballad, something she wasn't used to singing, Angela suggested that another character should sing it. The filmmakers asked her to try it just once, and Angela nailed the song in that one take. It is that take that you hear in the film.
Between Norman Lloyd, Dick Van Dyke, Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rooney, Betty White and Larry Hagman, Lansbury is one of the stars in Hollywood never to retire.
Is the only actress to appear in all 264 episodes of Murder, She Wrote (1984).
In the late 1940s, MGM planned to cast her as the female lead in a film entitled "Angel's Flight" with Clark Gable but the project never came to reality for Gable disliked the storyline, so the studio liquidated the entire project.
Is a staunch Democrat and a solid supporter of Barack Obama.
She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6623 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6259 Holywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
In November 2013, it was announced that NBC would reboot Murder, She Wrote (1984) with Octavia Spencer in the role of Jessica Fletcher. Lansbury is not at all happy with the network's decision.
She was awarded the DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in the 2014 Queen's New Year Honours list for services to drama and for charitable and philanthropic services.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 27, a daughter Deirdre Angela Shaw on April 26, 1953. Child's father was her 2nd husband, Peter Shaw.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 26, a son Anthony Pullen Shaw on January 7, 1952. Child's father was her 2nd husband, Peter Shaw.
A private person.

Personal Quotes (15)

Actors are not made, they are born.
I've had an incredible relationship with my husband, with my family. I know they've had problems of their own, but we have never wavered in our closeness as a family. I've had a hell of a life.
I just stopped playing bitches on wheels and peoples' mothers. I have only a few more years to kick up my heels!
[on working with the choir, the first time] I felt extremely nervous. I felt I was working with a group of people who are so wonderfully integrated among themselves to produce wonderful sound, music, singing
  • their voices are so pure, so clear. I've listened so much to them in


the past to be singing down with them, I was very nervous.
I'm never left behind. I'm the bionic woman.
Providing I can put one foot in front of the other, I will continue to act.
It has been erroneously reported that I am a Republican! I am not a Republican. It's all over the Internet and It's bizarre. I'm a huge Obama fan. I've already voted for him by absentee ballot. I am Democrat from the ground up.
[on handling the early success and Oscar nominations while still being in her teens] I was a very serious teenager at that time and I considered the work to be the most important thing and I concentrated on that. I was a bit goody goody. I didn't fool around at all, which is a bit of a shame, I think. I've missed on a lot of fun, but I've made up for it later [laughs].
[Advice to aspiring actors] I really can't honestly give any tips beyond hang on to your dream. Hang on to what you want, what you feel you want to achieve and go for it. We are all the victims of our own talent and our own shortcomings sometimes, and we have to be aware of those things because they will trip us up and stop us from achieving what our aims are.
Work in the theatre just keeps revitalizing me, it keeps giving me the excitement and the fun of something new coming up and that's a great gift.
[2013] I absolutely do not have a retirement age... I'm only 87 - which today is nothing. It's just like 60 a few years back. I believe age should not stop you from keeping on.
[on the desire to perform until the very end] My son said to me "Mom, honestly, the best thing for you would be to keep working and just go out on stage." and I think that's a good thing to aim for.
[on what make her going at the age of 87] I rest, I take a nap, I don't eat stupidly, I take care of the bod and that's very, very important when you get to a certain age. I'm the bionic woman; I've got knees, hips, everything is new and that has made a tremendous difference to me; replacements are high on my list of goodies.
[on the Murder, She Wrote (1984) remake] I think it's a mistake to call it "Murder, She Wrote", because "Murder, She Wrote" will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person. So I'm sorry that they have to use the title "Murder, She Wrote", even though they have access to it and it's their right.
[On being awarded British Damehood] I'm joining a marvelous group of women I greatly admire like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. It's a lovely thing to be given that nod of approval by your own country and I really cherish it.

Salary (3)

Gaslight (1944) $500 /week
Murder, She Wrote (1984) $300,000 per episode
Fantasia/2000 (1999) £3,000

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