Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury

Actor
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Life Story

British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. 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, while not at all old-appearing, gave her an air of maturity that allowed her to pass as 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 program Murder, She Wrote (1984). As Jessica Fletcher, she became known and loved by millions for well over a decade. She also became known for the odd fact of almost annual Emmy Award nominations for the role without ever winning for it. An institution in American theatre and television, she is also an inspiration for the graciousness of her personality, which is often exploited and always admired.

Family

Peter Shaw (12 August 1949 - 29 January 2003) ( 2 children)

Trivia

Daughter of actress Moyna MacGill, who appeared with her in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Kind Lady (1951).
Granddaughter of George Lansbury, British Labour Party leader in 1930s.
Sister of Edgar Lansbury and Bruce Lansbury, and half-sister of Isolde Denham.
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 were in the last boatload of family members evacuated from London to America during World War II.
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.
Her daughter was a follower of Charles Manson's gang. After the Sharon Tate murders, she thought it best to get her out of the country. She took her to Ireland to help her with drug problems.
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.
As for 2012, Ms. Lansbury holds the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win among performers with 18 unsuccessful nominations.
She has one half-sister, Isolde, 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.
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 (1975).
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.

Personal Quotes 

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.

Filmography

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