Vale: Angela Lansbury

Stage and screen legend, best known for Murder She Wrote and a string of Broadway musicals, has died.

Stage and screen legend Dame Angela Lansbury, best known for Murder She Wrote and a string of Broadway musicals, has died, aged 96.

She died at her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday, five days shy of her 97th birthday.

Across her 75 year performing career, Lansbury was nominated for three Oscars, won seven Tony Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and holds the record for Emmy actress nods with 12 for her role on Murder, She Wrote.

Discovered while still in her teens by playwright and screenwriter John Van Druten, Lansbury scored an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actress for her first role, in George Cukor’s 1944 suspense film Gaslight.

She would go on to appear in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Till the Clouds Roll By, State of the Union, The Three Musketeers, The Long Hot Summer, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Blue Hawaii, The Manchurian Candidate, Death on the Nile and The Mirror Crack’d. Famed musical films includes Bedknobs and Broomsticks and voicing the singing teapot Mrs. Potts in the animated smash Beauty and the Beast.

Stage successes would include Hotel Paradiso, A Taste of Honey, Anyone Can Whistle, Mame, Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Blithe Spirit, Deuce, A Little Night Music, Smiles of a Summer Night, and toured Australia in Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones.

In 1984 she became crime-solving mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 seasons. During the course of 12 seasons, Jessica solved some 300 murders — and still had time to write more than 30 books!

Between 1997 and 2003, she reprised the role in four telemovies. Other credits included Touched by an Angel, Law & Order: SVU, The Man from UNCLE, Magnum PI and Little Women.

“What appealed to me about Jessica Fletcher,” she once said, “is that I could do what I do best and [play someone I have had] little chance to play — a sincere, down-to-earth woman. Mostly, I’ve played very spectacular bitches. Jessica has extreme sincerity, compassion, extraordinary intuition. I’m not like her. My imagination runs riot. I’m not a pragmatist. Jessica is.”

She received an honourary Oscar in 2013 and lifetime achievement awards from the Screen Actors Guild (1997) and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (2003). Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014.

Source: Variety, Hollywood Reporter

13 Responses

  1. Just doing some math on Blue Hawaii. She must have been 35/36 years of age when she played Elvis’ Mother…amazing.

    Stellar career and seemed like a lovely person. RIP Angela

  2. I’m still watching Murder She Wrote on Fox Sleuth, classic murder mysteries, so sad but what a life well lived. (Don’t like RIP) but may her spirit ascend and fly free.

  3. Had the pleasure of meeting the Grande Dame of film, theatre and television after her knock out performance on stage in Driving Miss Daisy 10 years ago. Even then at the age of 86 to perform non-stop for an hour and a half on stage with slabs of dialogue, she still had it. Vale Angela!

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