Lansbury, Angela 1925–

views updated May 17 2018

LANSBURY, Angela 1925


Full name, Angela Brigid Lansbury; born October 16, 1925, in London, England; immigrated to the United States in 1940; naturalized citizen, 1951; daughter of Edgar Isaac (a lumber merchant) and Moyna (an actress; maiden name, MacGill) Lansbury; married Richard Cromwell (an actor), September 17, 1945 (divorced August, 1946); married Peter Pullen Shaw (an agent), August 12, 1949 (died January 29, 2003); children: (second marriage) Anthony Peter, Deirdre Angela; David (stepson, a director). Education: Attended Academy of Music, London, WebberDouglas School for Dramatic Arts, 193940, and Feagin School of Dramatic Arts, New York, 194042.

Addresses: Agent William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Contact c/o 635 N. Bonhill Rd., Los Angeles, CA 900492301.

Career: Actress, producer, and singer. Corymore Productions, principal, 1985. Appeared in television commercials for Total Breakfast cereals, late 1980s, Children's Miracle Network and Ensure, 1997, Jello and Walt Disney World, 2001, Lilo & Stitch, 2002; previously worked as a salesgirl.

Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Players Club.

Awards, Honors: Hollywood Foreign Correspondents' Association Award, and Academy Award nomination, best supporting actress, both 1945, for Gaslight; Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination, both best supporting actress, both 1946, for The Picture of Dorian Gray; National Board of Review Awards, both best supporting actress, both 1962, for All Fall Down and The Manchurian Candidate; Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination, both best supporting actress, Golden Laurel Award nomination, top female supporting performance, 1963, all for The Manchurian Candidate; Antoinette Perry Award, best actress in a musical, 1966, for Mame; Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, Harvard Hasty Pudding Theatricals, 1968; Antoinette Perry Award, best actress in a musical, 1969, for Dear World; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actresscomedy/musical, 1971, for Something for Everyone; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actressmusical/comedy, 1972, for Bedknobs and Broomsticks; Antoinette Perry Award, best actress in a musical, and Sarah Siddons Award, both 1975, for Gypsy; National Board of Review Award, best supporting actress, 1978, and Film Award nomination, best supporting actress, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1979, for Death on the Nile; Antoinette Perry Award, best actress in a musical, Drama Desk Award, outstanding actress in a musical, and Ruby Award (After Dark magazine), Performer of the Year, all 1979, for Sweeney Todd; Sarah Siddons Award, 1980, for Mame; inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, 1982; Emmy Award nomination, best actress in a limited series or special, 1983, for Little Gloria ... Happy At Last; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, miniseries, or motion picture made for television, 1984, for The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story; Golden Globe Awards, best performance by an actress in a television seriesdrama, 1985, 1987, 1990, and 1992, Golden Globe Award nominations, best performance by an actress in a television seriesdrama, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1995, Emmy Award nominations, outstanding lead actress in a drama series, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996, People's Choice Award, female performer in a new television program, 1985, and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a female in a drama series, 1995, all for Murder, She Wrote; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or musical program, 1985, for Sweeney Todd; Emmy Award nomination, individual performance in a variety or music program, 1987, for The 1987 Antoinette Perry Awards; Louella Parsons Award, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1989; Commander of British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, 1994; inducted into TV Hall of Fame, 1996; Lucy Award, Women in Film, 1996; Career Achievement Award, Television Critics Association Awards, 1996; Lifetime Achievement Award, Screen Actors Guild, 1997; National Medal of Arts, 1997; Annie Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement for voice acting by a female performer in an animated feature production, 1998, for Anastasia; Kennedy Center Honors, 2000; stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion picture and television.


Stage Appearances:

(Broadway debut) Marcelle, Hotel Paradiso, Henry Miller's Theatre, 1957.

Helen, A Taste of Honey, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 1960.

Cora Hoover Hooper, Anyone Can Whistle, Majestic Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Title role, Mame, Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1966.

Countess Aurelia, Dear World, Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City, 1969.

Prettybelle Sweet, Prettybelle, Shubert Theatre, Boston, MA, 1971.

Title role, Mame, Westbury Music Fair, Long Island, NY, 1972.

(London debut) Mistress, All Over, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1972.

Ensemble, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (revue), Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1973.

Mama Rose, Gypsy, Piccadilly Theatre, London, 1973, then Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles, then Winter Garden Theatre, both 1974.

Gertrude, Hamlet, National Theatre Company, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1975, then Lyttleton Theatre, London, 1976.

Counting the Ways, Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT, 19761977.

Listening, Hartford Stage Company, 19761977.

Anna, The King and I, Uris Theatre, New York City, 1978.

Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd, Uris Theatre, 1979.

A Little Family Business, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, then Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, both 1982.

Title role, Mame, Gershwin Theatre, New York City, 1983.

The Players Club Centennial Salute, Shubert Theatre, 1989.

Major Tours:

Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd, U.S. cities, 1980.

Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Nancy Oliver, Gaslight (also known as The Murder in Thornton Square ), MetroGoldwynMayer, 1944.

Edwina Brown, National Velvet, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1944.

Sybil Vane, The Picture of Dorian Gray, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1945.

Dusty Millard, The Hoodlum Saint, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1946.

Guest performer, Till the Clouds Roll By, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1946.

Em, The Harvey Girls, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1946.

Mabel Sabre, If Winter Comes, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1947.

Clotilde de Marelle, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (also known as Women of Paris ), United Artists, 1947.

Kay Thorndyke, State of the Union (also known as The World and His Wife ), MetroGoldwynMayer, 1948.

Susan Bratten, Tenth Avenue Angel, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1948.

Queen Anne, The Three Musketeers, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1948.

Audrey Quail, The Red Danube, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1949.

Semador, Samson and Delilah, Paramount, 1949.

Mrs. Edwards, Kind Lady, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1951.

Leslie, Mutiny, United Artists, 1952.

Valeska Chauvel, Remains to Be Seen, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1953.

Doris Hillman, Key Man (also known as A Life at Stake ), AngloAmalgamated, 1954.

Tally Dickinson, A Lawless Street (also known as Marshal of Medicine Bend ), Columbia, 1955.

Madame Valentine, The Purple Mask, Universal, 1955.

Princess Gwendolyn, The Court Jester, Paramount, 1956.

Myra Leeds, Please Murder Me, Distributors Corporation of America, 1956.

Minnie Littlejohn, The Long, Hot Summer, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1958.

Mabel Claremont, The Reluctant Debutante, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1958.

Countess Lina, A Breath of Scandal, Paramount, 1960.

Mavis Pruitt, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Warner Bros., 1960.

Sarah Lee Gates, Blue Hawaii, Paramount, 1961.

Pearl, Season of Passion (also known as Summer of the Seventeenth Doll ), United Artists, 1961.

Annabel Willart, All Fall Down, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1962.

(Uncredited) Voice of Marguerite Laurier, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1962.

Mrs. Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate, United Artists, 1962.

Sibyl Logan, In the Cool of the Day, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1963.

Phyllis, Dear Heart, Warner Bros., 1964.

Isabel Boyd, The World of Henry Orient, United Artists, 1964.

Lady Blystone, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (also known as Moll Flanders ), Paramount, 1965.

Claudia, The Greatest Story Ever Told (also known as George Stevens Presents The Greatest Story Ever Told ), United Artists, 1965.

Mama Jean Bello, Harlow, Paramount, 1965.

Gloria, Mister Buddwing (also known as Woman without a Face ), MetroGoldwynMayer, 1966.

Countess Herthe von Ornstein, Something for Everyone (also known as The Rook and Black Flowers for the Bride ), National General, 1970.

Eglantine Price, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Buena Vista, 1971.

Mrs. Salome Otterbourne, Death on the Nile (also known as Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile ), Paramount, 1978.

Miss Froy, The Lady Vanishes, Rank/Group 1, 1979.

Miss Jane Marple, The Mirror Crack'd, Associated Film Distribution, 1980.

Voice of Mommy Fortuna, The Last Unicorn (animated), ITC, 1982.

Ruth, The Pirates of Penzance (also known as The Slave of Duty ), Universal, 1982.

Granny, The Company of Wolves, Cannon, 1985.

Ingrid (documentary), Wombat Productions, 1985.

Voice of Mrs. Potts, Beauty and the Beast (animated), Buena Vista, 1991.

(Voice; in archive footage) Mrs. Potts, Disney Sing AlongSongs: Be Our Guest, 1994.

Stephen Verona: Self Portrait, 1995.

Herself, Your Studio and You, 1995.

Voice of Dowager Empress Marie, Anastasia (animated), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1997.

Voice of Mrs. Potts, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (animated; also known as Beauty and the Beast 2 ), 1997.

Herself, Forever Hollywood, 1999.

Hostess, "Firebird Suite1919 Version," Fantasia/2000, Buena Vista, 1999.

Herself, Music Magic: The Sherman BrothersBedknobs and Broomsticks, 2001.

Narrator, Still the Fairest of Them All: The Making of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, " Buena Vista, 2001.

(Uncredited) Voice of herself, About Schmidt, New Line Cinema, 2002.

Herself, Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (also known as Broadway: The Golden Age ), 2003.

Television Appearances; Series:

Herself, Pantomime Quiz (also known as Mike Stokey's Pantomime Quiz and Stump the Stars ), 1947.

Regular, Star Time Playhouse, 1955.

Jessica Beatrice Fletcher, Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 19841996.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Little Gloria ... Happy at Last, NBC, 1982.

Aunt Hortense Boutin, Lace, ABC, 1984.

Alice Garrett, The First OlympicsAthens, 1896 (also known as The First Modern Olympics ), NBC, 1984.

Marchesa Allabrandi, Rage of Angels: The Story Continues, NBC, 1986.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Amanda Fenwick, The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story, CBS, 1983.

Ann Royce McClain, A Talent for Murder, Showtime, 1984.

Jessica Fletcher, The Murder of Sherlock Holmes, 1984.

Nan Moore, Shootdown, NBC, 1988.

Penelope Keeling, The Shell Seekers, 1989.

Agatha McGee, The Love She Sought (also known as Last Chance for Romance and A Green Journey ), NBC, 1990.

Title role, Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris, CBS, 1992.

Title role, Mrs. Santa Claus, CBS, 1996.

Jessica Fletcher, Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest, CBS, 1997.

Emily Pollifax, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, CBS, 1999.

Jessica Fletcher, Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For, CBS, 2000.

Jessica Fletcher and Sarah McCullough, Murder, She Wrote: The Last Free Man, CBS, 2001.

Jessica Fletcher, Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle, CBS, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Perry Como Christmas Show, NBC, 1964.

The Perry Como Thanksgiving Show, NBC, 1966.

Voice of Sister Theresa, The Story of the First Christmas Snow (animated; also known as The First Christmas ), NBC, 1975.

Host, The Making of "The Wizard of Oz, " 1979.

Ringmaster, Circus of the Stars, CBS, 1980.

Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd (also known as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ), 1982.

The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1985.

Clue: Movies, Murder, and Mystery, CBS, 1986.

The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn, PBS, 1986.

Liberty Weekend, ABC, 1986.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1987.

People Magazine on TV, CBS, 1988.

Grammy Living Legends, CBS, 1989.

CBS Premiere Preview Spectacular, CBS, 1989.

MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon, syndicated, 1990.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1990.

Host and narrator, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic, CBS, 1990.

The Dream Is Alive: The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World (also known as Walt Disney World's 20th Anniversary Celebration ), CBS, 1991.

Bob Hope and Friends: Making New Memories, NBC, 1991.

Be Our Guest: The Making of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast, " The Disney Channel, 1991.

"Helen Hayes: First Lady of the American Theatre," American Masters, PBS, 1991.

The Grand Opening of Euro Disney, CBS, 1992.

The Defense Rests: A Tribute to Raymond Burr, NBC, 1993.

Coming Up Roses, CBS, 1993.

The American Film Institute Salute to Elizabeth Taylor, ABC, 1993.

Host, Bob Hope: The First Ninety Years (also known as Bob Hope: A 90th Birthday Celebration ), NBC, 1993.

Host, The Best of Disney Music: A Legacy in Song, CBS, 1993.

Grand Marshal, The 104th Tournament of Roses Parade, CBS, 1993.

The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 1993.

"Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Bowl," Great Performances, PBS, 1994.

Sinatra: 80 Years My Way, ABC, 1995.

Inside the Dream Factory, TCM, 1995.

"A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim," A&E Stage, Arts and Entertainment, 1995.

Host, The Wizard of Oz: 40 Years on Television, CBS, 1996.

Voices of Hope... Finding the Cures for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Lifetime, 1997.

Herself, Frank Capra's American Dream, 1997.

Guest Host, CBS: The First 50 Years, CBS, 1998.

Herself, "Angela Lansbury: A Balancing Act," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies, CBS, 1998.

Narrator, Glorious Technicolor, TCM, 1998.

Hollywood & Vinyl: Disney's 101 Greatest Musical Moments, VH1, 1998.

Herself, The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2000.

Herself, On Cukor (also known as American Masters: On Cukor ), PBS, 2000.

Herself, Elizabeth Taylor: England's Other Elizabeth, PBS, 2000.

Herself, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Presents the Joy of Christmas with Angela Landsbury, 2002.

Herself, AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Heroes & Villains (also known as AFI's 100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains: America's Greatest Screen Characters ), CBS, 2003.

Interviewee, Intimate Portrait: Bea Arthur, Lifetime, 2003.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Host, The 22nd Annual Tony Awards, 1968.

The 23rd Annual Tony Awards, 1969.

Herself, The 35th Annual Tony Awards, 1981.

The 37th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, 1985.

The 39th Annual Emmy Awards, 1987.

The 1987 Antoinette Perry Awards, 1987.

Host, The 41st Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1987.

Host, The 42nd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1988.

The 14th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1988.

Host, The 43rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1989.

The 41st Annual Emmy Awards, Fox, 1989.

The 42nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Presentation, Fox, 1990.

The 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Presentation, Fox, 1991.

The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1992.

The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Fox, 1992.

The 18th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1992.

The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1993.

The 19th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1993.

Host, The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, ABC, 1993.

The 46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, ABC, 1994.

The 20th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1994.

The 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Fox, 1995.

Honoree, The Screen Actors Guild Awards, NBC, 1997.

Presenter, The 52nd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1998.

Presenter, The 53rd Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1999.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Detective, Scene of the Crime, NBC, 1984.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Citadel," Robert Montgomery Presents Your Lucky Strike Theatre, NBC, 1950.

Leslie, "The Wonderful Night," The Lux Video Theater, CBS, 1950.

Lucy Landor, "Operation Weekend," The Lux Video Theater, CBS, 1952.

Tina Rafferty, "Stone's Throw," The Lux Video Theater, CBS, 1952.

"Cakes and Ale," Robert Montgomery Presents Your Lucky Strike Theatre, NBC, 1953.

Joan Dexter, "Dreams Never Lie," Revlon Mirror Theater, CBS, 1953.

"The Ming Lama," Ford Television Theatre, NBC, 1953.

Florie, "Storm Swept," Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, CBS, 1953.

Joan Robinson, "A String of Beads," Four Star Playhouse, CBS, 1954.

Daphne Rutledge, "The Crime of Daphne Rutledge," General Electric Theatre, CBS, 1954.

Your Show of Shows, 1954.

Elsa, "A Chair for a Lady," Lux Video Theatre, 1954.

Herself, The George Gobel Show, 1954.

Brenda Jarvis, "The Indiscreet Mrs. Jarvis," Fireside Theater, NBC, 1955.

Mrs. Pritchard, "The Treasure," Henry Fonda Presents the Star and the Story, syndicated, 1955.

Mrs. Hallerton, "Madeira, Madeira," Four Star Playhouse, CBS, 1955.

Vanessa Peters, "Billy and the Bride," Stage 7, CBS, 1955.

Star Time Playhouse, CBS, 1955. Katie, "The Rarest Stamp," Studio '57, syndicated, 1956.

"Instant of Truth," Front Row Center, CBS, 1956.

Vera Wayne, "Claire," Screen Directors Playhouse, NBC, 1956.

Flossie Norris, "The Brown Leather Case," Studio '57, syndicated, 1956.

"The Force of Circumstance," Henry Fonda Presents the Star and the Story, syndicated, 1956.

"Bury Me Later," Climax!, CBS, 1956.

"The Devil's Brood," Climax!, CBS, 1957.

"Verdict of Three," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1958.

"The Grey Nurse Said Nothing," Playhouse 90, CBS, 1959.

"Something Crazy's Going on in the Back Room," The Eleventh Hour, NBC, 1963.

Herself, The Danny Kaye Show, 1964.

Effie Van Donck, "The Deadly Toys Affair," Man from U.N.C.L.E., NBC, 1965.

"Leave It to Me," The Trials of O'Brien, CBS, 1965.

Mystery guest, What's My Line?, 1966.

Herself, The Julie Andrews Hour, 1973.

Herself, Scene of the Crime, 1984.

Emma McGill, "Sing a Song of Murder," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1985.

Jessica Fletcher, "Novel Connection," Magnum, P.I., CBS, 1986.

Emma McGill, "It Runs in the Family," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987.

Penelope Keeling, "The Shell Seekers," Hallmark Hall of Fame, ABC, 1989.

(Uncredited) Herself, "Lights! Camera! Contractions!," Newhart, 1990.

Narration, "The Christmas Witch," Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, Showtime, 1992.

Lady Barrington, "For All the Tea in China," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 2002.

Also appeared in The Danny Kaye Show, CBS; Alcoa Preview, ABC; The Merv Griffin Show, syndicated; The Today Show, NBC; Suspense Theatre, syndicated; The Art of Film, NET; Studio One, CBS; Kraft Theatre; Pantomime Quiz; as Deborah, "Deborah," Undercurrent.

Television Work:

Executive producer, Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 19921996.



Angela Lansbury's Positive Moves: A Personal Plan for Fitness and WellBeing at Any Age, 1988.


Anyone Can Whistle (original cast recording), CBS Special Products, 1964.

Mame (original cast recording), Columbia, 1966.

Dear World (original cast recording), CBS Special Products, 1969.

Sweeney Todd (original cast recording), RCA, 1979.

Also recorded The Beggar's Opera, 1982.



Author of (with Mimi Avins) Angela Lansbury's Positive Moves: My Personal Plan for Fitness and WellBeing; Wedding Speeches and Toasts; Unforgettable British WeekendsA Guide to Unusual & Celebration Holidays; See Scotland at Work: A Guide to Factories and Craft Workshops Open to Visitors.



Gottfried, Martin, Balancing Act: The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury, Little, Brown, 1999.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.


Variety, July 24, 2000, p. 28.

Lansbury, Angela

views updated May 23 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Angela Brigid Lansbury in London, England, 16 October 1925; granddaughter of the politician George Lansbury; became U.S. citizen, 1951. Education: Attended Webber-Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art, London; Feagin School of Drama and Radio, New York. Family: Married 1) Richard Cromwell, 1945 (divorced 1946); 2) Peter Pullen Shaw, 1949, one son and one daughter. Career: 1942—in nightclub act in Montreal; 1943—given seven-year contract with MGM, and made debut in Gaslight the following year; 1957—Broadway debut in Hotel Paradiso: later stage roles in A Taste of Honey, 1960, Mame, 1966, Dear World, 1969, and Sweeney Todd, 1979; from 1984—in TV series Murder, She Wrote; also in 1984, in TV mini-series Lace, and The First Olympics: Athens 1896; 1986—in TV mini-series Rage of Angels: The Story Continues. Awards: 4 Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical. Agent: William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019, U.S.A.

Films as Actress:


Gaslight (Cukor) (as Nancy Oliver); National Velvet (Brown) (as Edwina Brown)


The Picture of Dorian Gray (Lewin) (as Sibyl Vane)


The Harvey Girls (Sidney) (as Em); The Hoodlum Saint (Taurog) (as Dusty Willard); Till the Clouds Roll By (Whorf) (as guest star)


The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (Lewin) (as Clotilde de Marelle); If Winter Comes (Saville) (as Mabel Sabre)


Tenth Avenue Angel (Rowland) (as Susan Bratten); State of the Union (Capra) (as Kay Thorndyke); The Three Musketeers (Sidney) (as Queen Anne)


The Red Danube (Sidney) (as Audrey Quail); Samson and Delilah (Cecil B. DeMille) (as Semadar)


Kind Lady (John Sturges) (as Mrs. Edwards)


Mutiny (Dmytryk) (as Leslie)


Remains to Be Seen (Weis) (as Valeska Chauvea)


Key Man (A Life at Stake) (Guilfoyle) (as Doris Hillman)


A Lawless Street (Joseph H. Lewis) (as Tally Dickinson); The Purple Mask (Humberstone) (as Madame Valentine)


The Court Jester (Panama and Frank) (as Princess Gwendolyn); Please Murder Me (Godfrey) (as Myra Leeds)


The Long Hot Summer (Ritt) (as Minnie Littlejohn); The Reluctant Debutante (Minnelli) (as Mabel Claremont)


Season of Passion (Summer of the 17th Doll) (Norman) (as Pearl)


The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Delbert Mann) (as Mavis Pruitt); A Breath of Scandal (Curtiz) (as Countess Lina)


Blue Hawaii (Taurog) (as Sarah Lee Gates)


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Minnelli) (as voice of Marguerite Laurier); All Fall Down (Frankenheimer) (as Annabel Willart); The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer) (as Raymond's mother)


In the Cool of the Day (Robert Stevens) (as Sibyl Logan)


The World of Henry Orient (George Roy Hill) (as Isabel Boyd); Dear Heart (Delbert Mann) (as Phyllis)


The Greatest Story Ever Told (George Stevens) (as Claudia); The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (Terence Young) (as Lady Blystone); Harlow (Douglas) (as Mama Jean Bello)


Mister Buddwing (Woman without a Face) (Delbert Mann) (as Gloria)


Something for Everyone (Prince) (as Countess Herthe von Orstein)


Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Stevenson) (as Eglantine Price)


The Story of the First Christmas Snow (Bass and Rankin—animation for TV) (as voice of Sister Theresa)


Death on the Nile (Guillermin) (as Mrs. Salome Otterbourne)


The Lady Vanishes (Page) (as Miss Froy)


The Mirror Crack'd (Hamilton) (as Miss Marple)


The Last Unicorn (Rankin Jr. and Bass—animation) (as voice of Mommy Fortuna); Little Gloria . . . Happy at Last (Hussein—for TV) (as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney); Sweeney Todd (Hughes and Prince) (as Nellie Lovett)


The Pirates of Penzance (Leach) (as Ruth); The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story (Delbert Mann—for TV)


Ingrid (Feldman—for TV)


The Company of Wolves (Neil Jordan) (as Granny); The Murder of Sherlock Holmes (Corey Allen—for TV)


A Talent for Murder (Rakoff—for TV)


Shootdown (Pressman—for TV)


The Shell Seekers (Hussein—for TV) (as Penelope Keeling)


The Love She Sought (Sargent—for TV) (as Agatha McGee)


Beauty and the Beast (Wise and Trousdale—animation) (as voice of Mrs. Potts)


Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Shaw—for TV) (title role); Disney Sing-Along-Songs (as voice of Mrs. Potts)


Mrs. Santa Claus (Hughes) (as Mrs. Santa Claus)


Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (Knight—for video) (as voice of Mrs. Potts); Murder, She Wrote: South by Southwest (Shaw—for TV) (as Jessica Fletcher); Anastasia (Bluth, Goldman) (as voice of Dowager Empress Marie)


The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (Anthony Pullen Shaw—for TV) (as Mrs. Emily Pollifax); Murder She Wrote: A Story to Die For (Shaw—for TV) (as Jessica Fletcher)


By LANSBURY: book—

Angela Lansbury's Positive Moves (physical fitness), with Mimi Avins, New York, 1990.

By LANSBURY: articles—

"Safety Zone," interview with T. Gilling, in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1972.

Interview, in Radio Times, 17 December 1983.

"Auntie Angela," interview with Kevin Allman, in Advocate (Los Angeles), 22 September 1992.

"That's All She Wrote," interview with Robert Massello, in TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 4 November 1995.

On LANSBURY: books—

Parish, James, Good Dames, New York, 1974.

Bonanno, Margaret Wander, Angela Lansbury: A Biography, New York, 1987.

Edelman, Rob, Angela Lansbury, New York, 1996.

On LANSBURY: articles—

Hallowell, John, "A Smashing New Dame to Play Mame," in Life (New York), 17 June 1966.

Current Biography 1967, New York, 1967.

"Angela Lansbury, Sondheim, Prince and Sweeney Todd," in Horizon, April 1979.

Pacheco, Patrick, "Angela Lansbury: A Bloomin' Wonder," in After Dark, January 1980.

Bodeen, DeWitt, "Angela Lansbury," in Films in Review (New York), February 1980.

Films Illustrated (London), October 1980.

Olmsted, Dan, "Why Angela Lansbury Is Everyone's Cup of Tea," in USA Weekend (Arlington, Virginia), 29 November-1 December 1991.

Murphy, Mary, "Angela Gets Tough," in TV Guide (Arlington, Virginia), 26 December 1992.

Nosferatu (San Sebastian), January 1996.

* * *

Although recent years have seen the enormously talented Angela Lansbury become the definitive leading lady of Broadway musicals, she has never enjoyed a similar stardom on the screen despite the many film roles and awards she has to her credit. While she possesses unarguable acting ability and star quality, under the scrutiny of the camera her less than glamorous looks have made leading-lady, star-vehicle roles difficult for her to obtain from the very beginning.

Born in London, Lansbury began dramatic training as a child, continuing in the United States after being evacuated during the German blitz. After signing with MGM, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in her first film, Gaslight. Although still in her teens at the time, this role started her on a path of character parts in which she was often younger than the unsympathetic character.

A second Academy Award nomination followed for The Picture of Dorian Gray, an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde novel. Lansbury subsequently appeared in a series of fine supporting performances, notably in Capra's State of the Union, Martin Ritt's The Long Hot Summer, and Delbert Mann's version of The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Perhaps the best example of Lansbury's ability to play characters much older than herself is her unforgettably chilling portrayal of Laurence Harvey's devious mother in The Manchurian Candidate. In reality, she was only three years Harvey's senior.

Watching Lansbury the television hostess pop up on awards shows like a latter-day Toastmaster General seems a thorough waste of this versatile actress's time. These great lady stints could also be viewed, however, as a measure of the respectful affection audiences feel for her reassuring Jessica Fletcher, a television detective character with a record number of relatives to clear of murder charges. Since resoundingly garnering the megastardom denied her during her MGM contract period, Lansbury has evidenced a regrettable taste for bland, but high-rated, star vehicles such as The Shell Seekers and Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris. Lansbury acolytes who have experienced her glamorous Mame, indefatigable Mama Rose in Gypsy, and homicidally enterprising Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, know that Jessica Fletcher and subsequent television appearances only tap a smidgen of this powerhouse's talent. On-screen, Lansbury remains an unparalleled character star who can look back with pride on her psychologically crippling mother in All Fall Down, her divine poseur in Death on the Nile, her foolish adulteress in The World of Henry Orient, and her stylishly decadent countess in Something for Everyone.

After being shortsightedly passed over for the movie of Mame in favor of human foghorn Lucille Ball, Lansbury did get to kick up her heels in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, an affable treat but no Mary Poppins. Mothballing her musical comedy ambitions and once again donning old lady drag in The Mirror Crack'd and The Lady Vanishes, is it any wonder Lansbury embraced the nonfrumpy vistas of Murder, She Wrote in which she could play her own age and display the personal warmth not required by most of her celebrated acting outings? After her long-running series is history, Lansbury will continue to delight and astonish her fans, but one hopes her hard-won and long-overdue stardom will not tempt her to orphan her unscrupulous schemers and larger-than-life eccentrics in favor of variations on reliable, gracious, down-to-earth buttinski, J. B. Fletcher.

—Bill Wine, updated by Robert Pardi