Angela Lansbury (Actress) - Murder, She Wrote
Angela Lansbury 1
Updated: 9/15/11

Name: Angela Lansbury

Birth Name: Angela Brigid Lansbury

Born: October 16, 1925, Poplar, London, United Kingdom

Claim To Fame: She is best known to modern audiences as writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher on the American television series Murder, She Wrote (1984?1996).

Family Life: Lansbury was married to American actor Richard Cromwell in 1945 when he was 35 and she was 19. The marriage ended after a year when she learned of Cromwell's bisexuality. She was married to British-born actor and businessman Peter Shaw from 1949 until his death in 2003. They had two children, Anthony Peter Shaw born 1952 and Deidre Angela Shaw born 1953.

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Info: Lansbury was born in London to an upper-class British family, and came to America with her mother and twin brothers when she was 14. Her first professional role was on stage as a cabaret dancer at 16, and soon after came her Broadway debut in 1957's Hotel Paradiso. Her first starring role was in the 1960 play A Taste of Honey with Joan Plowright and Billy Dee Williams.

Her Broadway fame continued as she played the orginial Mame, starred in New York productions of The King and I with Yul Brynner, as Gypsy Rose Lee's mother Mama Rose in Gypsy, and as the baker of human meat pies in Sweeney Todd.

She really became known to audiences when she played the best-selling mystery writer Jessica Fletcher on the TV series Murder, She Wrote. She portrayed the murder-solving Jessica for over a decade, and when the series was cancelled she returned in the role for several made-for-TV movies.

Lansbury's film career included the haunting thriller Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, and a role as Elizabeth Taylor's older sister in the classic National Velvet. She appeared as the music hall singer in Oscar Wilde's 1945 film The Picture of Dorian Gray, in the original Manchurian Candidate alongside Laurence Harvey, as the apprentice witch in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and as detective Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd. She was also the voice of the teapot in Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast, and sang the movie's Oscar-winning theme song.

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Trivia: Became a naturalized US citizen in 1951.

Her daughter and son-in-law, a chef, are restaurateurs in West Los Angeles.

Her son Anthony Shaw, after a brief fling with acting, became producer/director of Murder, She Wrote and currently is a television executive and director.

Her half-sister Isolde was married to Peter Ustinov for some years.

Is related by marriage to actress Ally Sheedy, ex-wife of her nephew David Lansbury.

Was a long-time resident of Brentwood, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

Had knee-replacement surgery on July 14, 2005.

Her brother Edgar was instrumental in bringing Godspell to Broadway.

Her other brother Bruce was a television producer for such shows as The Wild Wild West and Mission: Impossible.

Her paternal grandfather was the Labour Party leader George Lansbury.

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.

Has been 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 didn't win.

Was among the special guests who were invited to the Grand Opening of the first Disney Park in Europe.

Was the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center Honors in 2000 for her services to the arts.

Was awarded a C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to drama in 1994.

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Where Are They Now: She moved to New York City in 2006 and the next year she returned to Broadway to appear in the production of Deuce. In March 2009, she appeared on Broadway again in the role of Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, which played at the Shubert Theatre. She won several awards for this role, including the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. From December 2009 through June 2010, she starred as Madame Armfeldt in the first Broadway revival of A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Lansbury co-starred in the film Mr. Popper's Penguins, with Jim Carrey, which was released this summer. She will also appear in an upcoming film, Adaline, alongside Katherine Heigl.

Write To Angela Lansbury:
Angela Lansbury
c/o WME
9601 Wilshire Blvd, 3rd Floor,
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Videos: Murder She Wrote - Theme Song A Tale as Old as Time - Beauty and the Beast


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