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Angela Lansbury, Broadway misfit and beloved ‘Murder, She Wrote’ star, dies aged 96

THE ANGEL — British actress Angela Lansbury, whose career spanned seven decades and earned her an honorary Oscar, has died.

Lansbury died Tuesday, according to her family. She was 96 years old.

“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are saddened to announce that their mother passed away peacefully in her sleep at 1:30am today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at her home in Los Angeles, just five days before her 97th birthday ‘ the family said in a statement.

Born in 1925, Lansbury was the daughter of Irish actress Moyna Macgill and British politician Edgar Lansbury. Her paternal grandfather was George Lansbury, a founder of the British Labor Party.

At the age of 9, Lansbury’s father died – a moment she said in interviews shaped her life. The actress’ family then fled Britain in 1940 during World War II and moved to the United States, where she began her acting career.

After Lansbury signed with MGM in 1942, Lansbury’s first acting appearance was in 1944’s Gaslight, a role that earned her an Oscar nomination. The actress received two more Oscar nominations for roles in The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1945 and The Manchurian Candidate in 1962. Lansbury eventually received an honorary trophy in 2013.

Thanks to roles on both sides of the pond, Lansbury garnered five Tony Awards and six Golden Globes. She has also been nominated 19 times for Emmy Awards. In 2014 she was made a lady by Queen Elizabeth II.

Lansbury is best known for her role as crime writer Jessica Fletcher on the popular television series Murder, She Wrote. Four years after the series began, which began in 1984, Lansbury’s Corymore Productions began co-producing the series with Universal. Lansbury owned the series and has served as executive producer for the past four seasons. The series ended in 1996 after 12 seasons on television.

Lansbury married her husband, the late British actor Peter Shaw, in 1949. The couple had two children.

The actress told The Telegraph about their marriage in 2012.

“We were a unit. We didn’t shut out the world, but we were almost too self-reliant,” she told the outlet. “He totally controlled my career over time and allowed me to do what I did — we kind of, kind of made it.”

The two were married until his death in 2003, but it wasn’t Lansbury’s first marriage. In 1945, at the age of 19, Lansbury married actor Richard Cromwell. The marriage ended months later, and the actress filed for divorce on September 11, 1946.

Lansbury told The Telegraph that after the marriage dissolved, she was told Cromwell was gay.

“It was a terrible shock. I was devastated,” she said upon learning her ex-husband was gay. “But once I got over the shock, I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to take charge of my life and make sure I never get hurt like that again.'”

Despite this, Lansbury and Cromwell remained friends until his death in 1960.

Following her hit TV series, Lansbury made many appearances in films, such as the voice of Mrs. Potts in the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast. She also appeared in the 2005 film Nanny McPhee and the film “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” from 2011 on. Lansbury also returned to Broadway in 2007 after a 23-year hiatus by starring in Deuce.

She even returned to television, starring in a Season 6 episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Her performance earned her an Emmy Award nomination in 2005.

Lansbury is survived by her children, Anthony and Deirdre, and three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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