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Angela Lansbury Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (59)  | 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)

The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Angela Brigid Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. 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 allowed her to play women with an air of maturity who were older, in some cases 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 procedural Murder, She Wrote (1984). As Jessica Fletcher, she became known and loved by millions for well over a decade. She also became known for never winning the Emmy Award despite 18 nominations, many of which were almost annual nominations for her role on Murder, She Wrote (1984).

- 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 (2)

Strawberry blonde hair
Sparkling blue eyes

Trivia (59)

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, 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, Edward 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 2018, she is the 2nd earliest surviving recipient of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, behind only 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 too 92.
She has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: 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.

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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