Angela Lansbury, a British-born actress known for her commanding, ladylike presence on stage, screen, and television, has died. She was 96 years old.
She portrayed mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher on CBS’ Murder, She Wrote for over 12 years, earning her rave reviews and popularity.
Her family confirmed her death in a statement obtained:
“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,”
“In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury,” the statement adds. “She was proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined.” the statement read
Angela Brigid Lansbury was the daughter of Belfast-born actress Moyna MacGill and her second husband, Edgar Lansbury. She was the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast and Broadway’s eccentric aunt in the musical Mame.
Angela made her Oscar-nominated film debut as a 17-year-old cockney maid in the 1944 thriller Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
“It was thanks to my mother who recognized in me an ability to cut up, to make believe, to run around being somebody other than the little girl that I was,” Lansbury told Masterpiece Studio podcast in 2018 of getting into show business.
“It made her realize that I was a natural, and she, bless her heart, made the decisions for me very, very, very young.”
She received another Oscar nomination for her performance as singer Sibyl Vane in MGM’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
She married a handsome man named Richard Cromwell when she was 19, but she didn’t find out until they divorced nine months later.
“My first great, great romance. It was a terrible tragedy,” she said, adding that the two remained friends until his death from cancer in 1960.
She met Peter Shaw, a British actor who later became a prominent Hollywood agent, shortly after her divorce. In 1949, they married in London.
She also played Elvis Presley’s mother in the 1961 hit Blue Hawaii, despite the fact that Lansbury was only ten years Elvis’s senior.
She was also nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The Manchurian Candidate in 1962.
Four years later, as the toast of Broadway in Mame, she landed on the cover of Life magazine and won the first of five Tony awards, a record only matched by Julie Harris and finally broken in 2014 by Audra McDonald.
Lansbury’s breakthrough came as Jessica Fletcher in 1984’s Murder, She Wrote, in which she starred for 256 episodes and received 12 Emmy nominations but never won.
In June 2022, Lansbury received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, her sixth Tony Award overall.
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 Broadway legend won four Tony Awards. She went on to win a fifth Tony for her performance in 2009’s Blithe Spirit, her first Tony for a performance in a play rather than a musical.