Bright Times News: Born in 1925 in London, England, to a leading woman of the British theatre, Angela Lansbury was destined to become an actor. Although Lansbury’s most well-known performance was as Jessica Fletcher in the enduring CBS TV series Murder, She Wrote, she also had a successful career in theatre and film.
According to a statement from his family, Lansbury passed away on Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 96. No specific cause of death was given. When Lansbury was a teenager, she played Audrey in a school production of As You Like It, and the acting bug bit her.
She admitted to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross in 2000 that being on stage was enthralling: “I suddenly got the feel and the smell of being able to make an effect, by the way, I played the role, the way I conducted myself, all of the physical aspects of acting suddenly came to me and I got a laugh, you know, the first time I did it.”
Lansbury and her mother immigrated to the US in 1940, settling in Hollywood two years later, as the Battle of Britain was raging. At the age of 17, she received her first on-screen appearance as the sassy housekeeper Nancy in George Cukor’s Gaslight.
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She remarked, “I sort of understood that 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, so I had to make peace with myself on that score.
Her portrayal of Laurence Harvey’s malevolent mother in The Manchurian Candidate in 1962 may have been her most enduring Hollywood performance.
According to theatrical historian Laurence Maslon, Lansbury relocated to New York to become a Broadway star and had huge success in Jerry Herman’s Mame in 1966.
To land that role, Angela Lansbury “basically flung herself in front of the bus.” Maslon declares. She was 40 years old in 1966 when she walked down that staircase wearing gold-lamé pyjamas, and Broadway welcomed her in a way that it had only done for a select few women in its illustrious history.
Lansbury admitted that she was a little taken aback to discover a true home in musical theatre. She said, “I’m not a vocalist. I have a passable voice, but how I use it sells the song, not the notes themselves.
When Lansbury played Mama Rose in the 1974 Gypsy revival and the cold-blooded Mrs. Lovett, who turns people into meat pies in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 classic Sweeney Todd, she did both roles exceptionally well. When preview performances for Sweeney Todd started in New York, she admitted to NPR in 2005 that its success was far from guaranteed.
An incredible seven decades made up Lansbury’s acting career. She received a lifetime achievement award in addition to five Tony Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, and a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2000.
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