Angela Lansbury, Star of Film, Stage and ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ Dies at 96

Angela Lansbury Dead: Beloved Actress Of Film, Stage & Television Was 96 –  Deadline

Angela Lansbury, Star of Film, Stage and ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ Dies at 96

Angela Lansbury, Star of Film, Stage and ‘Murder, She Wrote,’ Dies at 96 Angela Lansbury was bound to turn into an entertainer; brought into the world in London, Britain in 1925, her mom was a main woman of the English stage. Despite the fact that Lansbury was most popular for her job as Jessica Fletcher in the long-running CBS television series, Murder, She Composed, she had a recognized vocation in the films and on Broadway.

Lansbury died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 96, according to a family statement. No cause of death was mentioned.

Lansbury got the acting bug as a teen, playing Audrey in an understudy creation of As You Like It. Showing up in front of an audience was inebriating, she told Outside Air’s Terry Gross in 2000: “I out of nowhere got the vibe and the smell of having the option to make an impact by the manner in which I assumed the part, the manner in which I comported myself, each of the actual parts of acting unexpectedly came to me and I triumphed ultimately, you know, whenever I first got it done.”

With the Battle of Britain raging, Lansbury and her mother moved to the United States in 1940 and settled in Hollywood two years later. She got her first screen role, as the saucy housemaid Nancy in Gaslight, directed by George Cukor, at the age of 17.

Angela Lansbury, Star Of Film, Stage And 'Murder, She Wrote,' Dies At 96

Lansbury was nominated for an Oscar for her Gaslight performance and appeared in many more films, from The Picture of Dorian Gray to The Harvey Girls, often playing women much older than she actually was.

“I was never going to get to play the girl next door, and I was never going to be groomed to be a glamorous movie star, and I sort of realized that, so I had to make peace with myself on that score,” she said.

Maybe her most essential Hollywood execution was as the shrewd mother of the programmed Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Applicant in 1962.

Lansbury moved to New York to star on Broadway and scored an enormous triumph in Jerry Herman’s Mame in 1966, says theater historian Laurence Maslon.

“Angela Lansbury truly hurled herself before the transport to get that part.” Maslon says. “What’s more, a modern day miracle, when she strolled down that flight of stairs in gold-lamé nightgown, in 1966, she was 40 years of age and Broadway embraced her such that it has embraced not many entertainers in its celebrated history.”

Lansbury said she was a bit surprised to find a real home in musical theater.

“I’m not really a singer,” she admitted. “I have a serviceable voice, but how I use it — it’s the emotion under the note that sells the song.”

That approach to acting a melody served Lansbury very well when she featured as Mom Rose in the 1974 recovery of Vagabond, and as the wanton Mrs. Lovett, who heats people into meat pies, in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 show-stopper, Sweeney Todd. She told NPR in 2005 that Sweeney Todd’s prosperity was everything except certain when it started review exhibitions in New York.

“People were appalled by the blood that was splattering at them from the stage,” she recalled. “They felt that Stephen had gone a step too far. But, my goodness, there was another two-thirds of the audience who hadn’t seen it yet who arrived at the theater and they just took it to their hearts and — to make a long story short — we won the Tony that year.”

During the 1980s, Lansbury moved back to Hollywood to star in the secret TV series Murder, She Composed. The CBS show endured 12 seasons and made Lansbury an easily recognized name — as a senior resident. She told Outside Air’s Terry Gross that she was “cheerfully caught” in the job of Jessica Fletcher, the secret writer who settled a homicide consistently.

Angela Lansbury, Icon of Stage, Film, and TV, Has Died, Age 96 - Nerdist

“Being Jessica was second nature to me because she embodied all of the qualities that I like about women,” Lansbury said. “She was valiant and liberal and athletic and exciting and sexy and all kinds of good stuff that women are — of a certain age and are not given credit for.”

Lansbury’s acting vocation stretched out over a remarkable seventy years. She won five Tony Grants as well as a lifetime accomplishment grant, six Brilliant Globes and was a Kennedy Community Honoree for lifetime accomplishment in 2000.

 

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