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Angela Lansbury Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (64)  | Personal Quotes (20)  | Salary (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Regent's Park, London, England, UK
Birth NameAngela Brigid Lansbury
Nickname Angie
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

In 1925, Angela Lansbury was born in Regent's Park, one of the Royal Parks of London. The park was developed by John Nash (1752-1835), James Burton (1761-1837), and Decimus Burton (1800-1881), with construction starting c. 1818. It was first opened to the general public in 1835. It was named after the Prince-Regent George, later king George IV (1762-1830, regent 1811-1820, reigned 1820-1830). The park is located in Inner London, and administratively divided between the City of Westminster and the Borough of Camden.

Lansbury was born in a prominent family of the upper middle class. Her father was socialist politician Edgar Isaac Lansbury (1887-1935), a member of both the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the Labour Party. Edgar served as Honorary Treasurer of the East London Federation of Suffragettes (term 1915), and Mayor of Poplar (term 1924-1925). He was the second Communist mayor in British history, with the first being Joe Vaughan (1878-1938). Lansbury's mother was Irish film actress Moyna Macgill (1895-1975), originally from Belfast. During the first five years of Angela's life, the Lansbury family lived in a flat located in Poplar. In 1930, they moved to a house located in Mill Hill, a suburb currently located in the London Borough of Barnet. They spend their weekends vacationing in a rural farm located in Berrick Salome, a village in South Oxfordshire.

In 1935, Edgar Lansbury died from stomach cancer. Angela reportedly retreated into "playing characters", as a coping mechanism to deal with the loss. The widowed Moyna Macgill soon became engaged to Leckie Forbes, a Scottish colonel. Moyna moved into his house in Hampstead.

From 1934 to 1939, Angela was a student of South Hampstead High School. During these years, she became interested in films.. She regularly visited the local cinema, and imagined herself in various roles. Angela learned how to play the piano, and received a musical education at the Ritman School of Dancing.

In 1940, Lansbury started her acting education at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art, located in Kensington, West London. She made her theatrical debut in the school's production of the play "Mary of Scotland" (1933) by Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959). The play depicted the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587, reigned 1542-1567), and Lansbury played one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting.

Also in 1940, Lansbury's paternal grandfather George Lansbury died from stomach cancer. When the Blitz started, Moyna Macgill had reasons to fear for the safety of her family and few remaining ties to England. Macgill moved to the United States to escape the Blitz, taking her three youngest children with her. Isolde was already a married adult, and was left behind in England.

Macgill secured financial sponsorship from American businessman Charles T. Smith. She and her children (including Angela) moved into Smith's house in Mahopac, New York. Mahopac is a hamlet within the town of Carmel. Lansbury was interested in continuing her studies, and secured a scholarship from the American Theatre Wing. From 1940 to 1942, Lansbury studied acting at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art, located in New York City. She appeared in performances organized by the school.

In 1942, Lansbury moved with her family in a flat located in Morton Street, Greenwich Village. She soon followed her mother in her theatrical tour of Canada. Lansbury secured her first paying job in Montreal, singing at the nightclub Samovar Club for a payment of 60 dollars per week. Lansbury was 16-years-old at the time, but lied about her age and claimed to be 19-years-old in order to be hired.

Lansbury returned to New York City in August, 1942, but Moyna Macgill soon moved herself and her family again. The family moved to Los Angeles, where Moyna was interested in resurrecting her film career. Their first home there was a bungalow in Laurel Canyon, a mountainous neighborhood located in the Hollywood Hills.

Lansbury helped financially support her family by working for the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. Her weekly wages were only 28 dollars, but she had a secure income while her mother was unemployed. Through her mother, Lansbury was introduced to screenwriter John Van Druten (1901-1957) who had recently completed his script of "Gaslight" (1944). He suggested that young Lansbury would be perfect for the role of Nancy Oliver, the film's conniving cockney maid. This helped secure Lansbury's first film role at the age of 17, and a seven-year contract with the film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She earned 500 dollars per week, and chose to continue using her own name instead of a stage name.

In 1945, Lansbury married actor Richard Cromwell (1910-1960), who was 15-years-older than her. The troubled marriage ended in a divorce in 1946. The former spouses remained friend's until Cromwell's death.

In 1946, Lansbury started a romantic relationship with aspiring actor Peter Shaw (1918-2003), who was 7 years older than her. Shaw had recently ended his relationship with actress Joan Crawford (c. 1908-1977). The new couple started living together, while planning marriage. They wanted to be married in the United Kingdom, but the Church of England refused to marry two divorcees. They were married in 1949, in a Church of Scotland ceremony at St. Columba's Church, located in Knightsbridge, London. After their return to the United States, they settled into Lansbury's home in Rustic Canyon, Malibu. In 1951, both Lansbury and Shaw became naturalized citizens of the United States, while retaining their British citizenship.

Meanwhile, Lansbury continued appearing in MGM films. She appeared in 11 MGM films between 1945 and 1952. MGM at times loaned Lansbury to other film studios. She appeared in United Artists' "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami" (1947), and Paramount Pictures' "Samson and Delilah" (1949). In 1948, Lansbury made her debut in radio roles, followed by her television debut in 1950.

In 1952, Lansbury requested the termination of her contract with MGM, instead of its renewal. She felt unsatisfied with her film career as an MGM contract player. She then joined the East Coast touring productions of two former-Broadway plays. By 1953, Lansbury had two children of her own and was also raising a stepson. She and her family moved into a larger house, located on San Vincente Boulevard in Santa Monica. In 1959, she and her family moved into a house in Malibu. The married couple were able to send their children to a local public school.

Meanwhile she continued her film career as a freelance actress, but continued to be cast in middle-aged roles. She regained her A-picture actress through well-received roles in the drama film "The Long, Hot Summer" (1958) and the comedy film "The Reluctant Debutante" (1958). She also appeared regularly in television roles, and became a regular on game show "Pantomime Quiz" (1947-1959).

In 1957, Lansbury made her Broadway debut in a performance of "Hotel Paradiso". The play was an adaptation of "L'Hôtel du libre échange" (1894-French for "Free Exchange Hotel"), co-written by Maurice Desvallières (1857-1926) and Georges Feydeau (1862-1921). Lansbury's role as "Marcel Cat" was critically well-received. She continued appearing in Broadway over the next several years, most notably cast as the verbally abusive mother in "A Taste of Honey". She was cast as the mother of co-star Joan Plowright (1929-), who was only four years younger than her.

In the early 1960s, Lansbury was cast as an overbearing mother in "Blue Hawaii" (1961). The role of her son was played by Elvis Presley (1935-1977), who was only 10 years than her. The film was a box office hit, it finished as the 10th top-grossing film of 1961 and 14th for 1962 on the "Variety" national box office survey. It gained Lansbury renewed fame, at a difficult point of her career.

Lansbury gained critical praise for a sympathetic role in the drama film "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1960), and the role of a manipulative mother in the drama film "All Fall Down" (1962). Based on her success in "All Fall Down", she was cast in a similar role in the Cold War-themed thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962). She was cast as Eleanor Iselin, the mother of her co-star Laurence Harvey (1928-1973), who was only 3 years younger than her. This turned to be one of the most memorable roles in her career. She received critical acclaim and was nominated for a third time for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The award was instead won by rival actress Patty Duke (1946-2016).

Lansbury made a career comeback in the starring role of Mame Dennis in the musical "Mame" (1966), co-written by Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004) and Robert Edwin Lee (1918-1994). The play was an adaptation of the novel "Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade" (1955) by Patrick Dennis (1921-1976), and focused on the life and ideas of eccentric bohemian Mame Dennis. The musical received critical and popular praise, and Lansbury won her first Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Lansbury gained significant fame from her success, becoming a "superstar".

Her newfound fame led to other high-profile appearances by Lansbury. She starred in a musical performance at the 1968 Academy Awards ceremony, and co-hosted the 1968 Tony Awards. The Hasty Pudding Club, a social club for Harvard students. elected her "Woman of the Year" in 1968.

Lansbury's next theatrical success was in 1969 performances of "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1945) by Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944). The play concerns an eccentric Parisian woman's struggles with authority figures. Lansbury was cast in the starring role of 75-year-old Countess Aurelia, despite her actual age of 44 years. The show was well received and lasted for 132 performances. Lansbury won her second Tony Award for this role.

In 1970, Lansbury's Malibu home was destroyed in a brush fire. Lansbury and her husband decided to buy Knockmourne Glebe, an 1820s Irish farmhouse, located near the village of Conna in rural County Cork.

Her film career reached a new height. She was cast in the starring role of benevolent witch Eglantine Price in Disney's fantasy film "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1971). The film was a box-office hit, it was critically well-received, and introduced Lansbury to a wider audience of children and families.

In 1972, Lansbury returned to the British stage, performing in London's West End with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1973, Lansbury appeared in the role of Rose in London performances of the musical "Gypsy" (1959) by Arthur Laurents. It was quite successful. In 1974, "Gypsy" went on tour in the United States. with the same cast. For her role, Lanbury won the Sarah Siddons Award and her third Tony Award. The musical had its second tour in 1975.

Tired from musicals. Lansbury next sought Shakespearean roles in the United Kingdom. From 1975 to 1976, she appeared as Queen Gertrude in the National Theatre Company's production of Hamlet. In November 1975, Lansbury's mother Moyna Macgill died at the age of 79. Lansbury arranged for her mother's remains to be cremated, and the ashes scattered near her own County Cork home.

In 1976, Lansbury returned to the American stage. In 1978, Lansbury temporarily replaced Constance Towers (1933-) in the starring role of Anna Leonowens (1831-1915) in The King and I. While Towers was on a break from the role, Lansbury appeared in 24 performances.

In 1978, Lansbury appeared in her first film role in seven years, cast as the novelist and murder victim Salome Otterbourne in the mystery film"Death on the Nile" (1978). The film was an adaptation of the 1937 novel by Agatha Christie (1890-1976), while Otterbourne was loosely based on real-life novelist Elinor Glyn (1864-1943). The film was a modest box office hit, and Lansbury befriended her co-star Bette Davis (1908-1989).

In 1979, Lansbury was cast in the role of meat pie seller Mrs. Lovett in the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (1979), co-written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler (1912-1987). The musical was loosely based on the penny dreadful serial novel "The String of Pearls: A Domestic Romance" (1846-1847), which first depicted fictional serial killer Sweeney Todd. Lansbury remained in the role for 14 months, and was then replaced by Dorothy Loudon (1925-2003). Lansbury won her fourth Tony Award for this role. She returned to the role for 10 months in 1980.

Lansbury's next prominent film role was that of Miss Froy in "The Lady Vanishes" (1979), a remake of the 1938 directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980). She was next cast in the role of amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple in the mystery film "The Mirror Crack'd" (1980), an adaptation of the novel "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" (1962) by Agatha Christie.The novel was loosely inspired by the life of Gene Tierney (1920-1991). The film was a modest commercial success. There were plans for at least two sequels, but they ended in development hell.

In 1982, Lansbury was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, She appeared at the time in the new play "A Little Family Business" and a revival of "Mame", but both shows were commercial failures. In film, Lansbury voiced the witch Mommy Fortuna in the animated fantasy film "The Last Unicorn" (1982). The film was critically well-received, but was not a box office hit.

Lansbury played Ruth in the musical comedy "The Pirates of Penzance" (1983), a film adaptation of the 1879 comic opera by William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900). The film was a box office bomb, earning about 695,000 dollars at the box office.

Lansbury's next film role was that of Granny in the gothic fantasy film "The Company of Wolves" (1984), based on a 1979 short story by Angela Carter (1940-1992). Lansbury was cast as the grandmother of protagonist Rosaleen (played by Sarah Patterson), in a tale featuring werewolves and shape-shifting. The film was critically well-received, but barely broke even at the box office.

At about that time, Lansbury appeared regularly in television films and mini-series. Her most prominent television role was that of Jessica Fletcher in the detective series "Murder, She Wrote" (1984-1996).Jessica was depicted as a successful mystery novelist from Maine, who encounters and solves many murders during her troubles. The character was considered an American counterpart to Miss Marple. Despite regularly depicting murders, the series followed the "whodunit" format and mostly avoided depictions of violence or gore.

The series was considered a television landmark for having an older female character as the protagonist. It was aimed primarily at middle aged audience, but also attracted both younger viewers and senior citizen viewers. Ratings remained high for most of its run. Lansbury rejected pressure from network executives to put her character in a relationship, as she believed that Fletcher should remain remain a strong single female.

In 1989, Lansbury co-founded the production company Corymore Productions, which started co-producing the television series with Universal Television. This allowed Lansbury to have more creative input on the series. She was appointed an executive producer. By the time the series ended in 1996, it tied with the original "Hawaii Five-O" (1968-1980) as the longest-running detective drama series in television history.

Her popularity from "Murder, She Wrote" made Lansbury a much sought figure for advertisers. She appeared in advertisements and infomercials for Bufferin, MasterCard and the Beatrix Potter Company.

Lansbury's highest profile film in decades was voicing the character of singing teapot Mrs. Potts in Disney's animated fantasy film "Beauty and the Beast" (1991). Lansbury performed the film's title song, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, Lansbury lived most of the year in California. In 1991, she had Corymore House, a farmhouse at Ballywilliam, County Cork, built as her new family home. She spend Christmases and summers there.

Following the end of "Murder, She Wrote", Lansbury returned to a career as a theatrical actress. She temporarily retired from the stage in 2001, to take care of her husband Peter Shaw, whose health was failing. Shaw died in 2003, from congestive heart failure at the couple's Brentwood, California home. Their marriage had lasted for 54 years (1949-2003).

Lansbury felt at the time that not take on any more major acting roles, but that she could still make cameos. She moved back to New York City in 2006, buying a condominium in Manhattan. Her first prominent film role in years was that of Aunt Adelaide in the fantasy film "Nanny McPhee" (2005). She credits her performance in the film with pulling her out of depression,a state of mind which had lasted since her husband's death.

Lansbury returned to performing on the Broadway stage in 2007, after an absence of 23 years. In 2009, she won her fifth Tony Award. She shared the record for most Tony Award victories with Julie Harris (1925-2013). In the 2010s, she continued regularly appearing in theatrical performances,. In 2014. she returned to the London stage, after an absence of nearly 40 years.

In 2015, Lansbury received her first Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress. At age 89, she was among the oldest first-time winners. Also in 2015, November 2015 was awarded the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.

In 2017, she was cast as Aunt March in the mini-series "Little Women". The mini-series was an adaptation of the 1868-1869 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888). The series lasted for 3 episodes, and was critically well-received.

In 2018, Lansbury gained her next film role in Disney's fantasy film "Mary Poppins Returns" (2018), a sequel to "Mary Poppins". Lansbury was cast in the role of the Balloon Lady, a kindly old woman who sells balloons at the park. The films was a commercial hit, earning about 350 million dollars at the worldwide box office.

In 2019, Lansbury performed at a one-night benefit staging of Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1895). a farce satirizing Victorian morals. She was cast in the role of society lady Lady Bracknell, mother to Gwendolen Fairfax.

By 2020, Lansbury was 95-years-old, one of the oldest living actresses. She has never retired from acting, and remains a popular icon.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I

Family (4)

Spouse Peter Shaw (12 August 1949 - 29 January 2003)  (his death)  (2 children)
Richard Cromwell (27 September 1945 - 11 September 1946)  (divorced)
Children Anthony Pullen Shaw
Shaw, Deirdre Angela
Parents Moyna MacGill
Edgar Lansbury
Relatives Lansbury, George (grandparent)
Edgar Lansbury (sibling)
Bruce Lansbury (sibling)
Denham, Isolde (half sibling)
Oliver Postgate (cousin)
Ian Lansbury (grandchild)
Felicia Lansbury (niece or nephew)

Trade Mark (5)

Cropped strawberry blonde hair
Classic skirt suit
Large, round, expressive eyes
Huge, over-sized blazer lapels
Deep sultry voice.

Trivia (64)

The granddaughter of George Lansbury, British Labour Party leader, and thus Leader of the Opposition in parliament, in the 1930s, Lansbury's father was prominent merchant and politician Edgar Isaac Lansbury. Her mother was Belfast-born actress Moyna MacGill, who appeared with her in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Kind Lady (1951). Lansbury and her twin brothers ( Edgar Lansbury and Bruce Lansbury), who are film and television producers, have English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. Half-sister of Isolde Denham , 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.
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 ( Edgar Lansbury and Bruce Lansbury) were in the last boatload of family members evacuated from London to the United States during the Blitz.
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) in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama. She was elevated to DBE (Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 Queen's New Year Honours List for services to drama and for charitable and philanthropic services. She was invested by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony at Windsor Castle on April 15, 2014.
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.
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 (1976).
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 proposed Broadway musical, "The Visit", due to her husband's precarious health and 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, Daniel Hunt, Matthew Goode, Sue Johnston, Minnie Driver and Julian Fellowes.
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 has never won. As of 2018, Lansbury holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win among performers with 18 unsuccessful nominations.
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.
On November 25, 1975, Lansbury's mother, Moyna MacGill, died of cancer at age 79.
In 1951, Angela Lansbury became a naturalized United States citizen.
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.
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. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is ranked #91 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. The same performance was ranked #21 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains for villains.
She was one of the speakers at Jerry Orbach's memorial service.
She has won four Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical, and is best known for being in musicals, although 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.
Ex-stepmother-in-law of Catherine Bach.
Angela Lansbury was a second cousin to the late Coral Lansbury, Australian actress, writer and academic, who was dean of the Graduate School of English at Rutgers University, and mother of Australian Liberal Party leader and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
She was nominated for the 2007 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Drama for "Deuce".
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, Lansbury once was 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. In 2014, McDonald won her sixth Tony and is the single record holder since. Additionally, McDonald is also the only performer ever to win Tonys in all four possible acting categories: Best Leading Performance in both a play and a musical and Best Supporting Performance in both a play and a musical.
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.
Played Elvis Presley's mother in Blue Hawaii (1961), despite his being only 10 years her junior.
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 Lansbury. As it is a slow, romantic ballad, something she is not used to singing, she suggested another character should sing it. The filmmakers asked her to try it just once, and she nailed the song in that one take, which is the one heard in the film.
Alongside Norman Lloyd, William Daniels, Christopher Lee, Dick Van Dyke, Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rooney, Estelle Parsons, Betty White, Ed Asner, Adam West, Marla Gibbs, William Shatner, Larry Hagman, Florence Henderson, Shirley Jones, Hal Linden, Connie Sawyer, and Alan Alda, Lansbury is one of the few actors in Hollywood who lived into their 80s and/or 90s without retiring from acting or stopped getting work.
Is the only actor to appear in every single one of Murder, She Wrote (1984)'s 264 episodes.
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 was unhappy about the idea, but was relieved when, in January 2014, the network decided not to go forward with the project.
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. Grandmother, via son Anthony Pullen Shaw, of Ian Lansbury.
By her marriage to her 2nd husband, Peter Shaw, Lansbury gave birth to her 1st child at age 26, a son Anthony Pullen Shaw (on January 7, 1952), and to her 2nd child at age 27, a daughter Deirdre Angela Shaw (on April 26, 1953). Delivered both of her children naturally; she gave birth to her son at home in Malibu and her daughter Deirdre at hospital in Santa Monica. Lansbury is the grandmother (via her son) of Ian Lansbury.
After a 40-year absence triumphantly returned to London's West End stage in her Tony-winning role as Madam Arcati in Sir Noël Coward's 'Blithe Spirit'. She won her only Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2015 at the age of 89.
As of July 20, 2020, she is the earliest surviving recipient of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, with the death of Olivia de Havilland. She was nominated in 1944 for Gaslight (1944).
In an interview, Lansbury once stated that her nicest co-star was Hedy Lamarr, calling her sweet, loving, kind and considerate to everybody on the set, actor or crewman.
Considers If Winter Comes (1947), The Purple Mask (1955) and In the Cool of the Day (1963) to be among the worst films she has ever made.
Acting mentor and friend of former co-star Louis Herthum, who played Deputy Andy Broom on 23 episodes of Murder, She Wrote (1984), a character introduced when Will Nye, the actor playing Deputy Floyd, left Murder, She Wrote (1984), in 1991. Herthum had played other characters in two earlier episodes of the same series before he got the recurring role of Broom.
Lansbury is the longest-lived actress to have portrayed Agatha Christie's Miss Marple [The Mirror Crack'd (1980)] (film/television), surpassing both Joan Hickson and Helen Hayes, both of whom lived to 92.
She has appeared in five films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Gaslight (1944), National Velvet (1944), The Court Jester (1955), The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Beauty and the Beast (1991).
Holds British, United States, and Irish citizenship; acquired in that chronological order.
Her first great grandchild was born in 2017.
Best friends with Bea Arthur, since appearing together in the Broadway version of "Mame".
Born on the same date as Michael Conrad (of Hill Street Blues (1981) fame).
J. Arthur Rank offered her The Blue Lagoon (1949) and The Red Shoes (1948), but MGM would not loan her to Rank to do both projects.
Was considered for the role of Claudia Casswell in All About Eve (1950).

Personal Quotes (20)

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 (1984), because Murder, She Wrote (1984) 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 (1984), 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.
Children in our business suffer from exposure. Mine did because I was Broadway star. And my children's generation was the first to be confused by reality, The Sixties was a bad time to find yourself.
[on Bette Davis] She is an original. There has never been anyone, before or since, who could touch her.
[speaking in 2015 about reprising her Murder, She Wrote (1984) character Jessica Fletcher] I think it would be a downer. In some way, we'd have to show her as a much older woman, and I think it's better to maintain that picture we have in our mind's eye of her as a vigorous person. I'm still pretty vigorous, especially in the garden ... but if I wanted to transform myself back into the woman I looked like then, it would be ridiculous. And I can't do that.
[on Cecil B. DeMille, her Samson and Delilah (1949) director] Well, DeMille was a hard taskmaster but a friendly man, warm man. He'd ponder everything and very carefully, and he would talk to you in very serious tones about everything because he considered everything he was doing to be frightfully important, which it was.
I'm eternally grateful for the Irish side of me. That's where I got my sense of comedy and whimsy. As for the English half , that's my reserved side. But put me onstage, and the Irish comes out. The combination makes a good mix for acting.

Salary (4)

Gaslight (1944) $500 /week
Dear Heart (1964) $16,000
Murder, She Wrote (1984) $300,000 per episode
Fantasia 2000 (1999) £3,000

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