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Dame Angela Lansbury was hailed as “truly inspirational” after her death

Tributes have been paid to the ‘truly inspirational’ Dame Angela Lansbury following her death aged 96.

The Irish-British and American actress is best known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in the American drama series Murder, She Wrote.

Five days before her 97th birthday, Dame Angela died “peacefully” in her sleep, according to the family.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who starred opposite Dame Angela in the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, said their time together will “forever be one of the joys of my life.”

In a post on Instagram, Zeta-Jones wrote: “Darling darling, Dame Angela Lansbury. may you rest in peace

“Our Broadway double act will forever be one of the joys of my life. When the lights dim for you on The Great White Way, you will shine in our hearts forever. I love you Angela Catherine.”

Julian Morris starred opposite Dame Angela in Little Women in 2017 and praised her as “truly inspiring”.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, he said: “She was so forthcoming with advice. She was just an inspiration for being in her 90’s and knowing her craft so well.

“Know your text, work, have the power, have the care.”

Referring to a picture of them together, he added: “She saw me and I was on my lunch break and she said to come and see me in her trailer.

“We both skipped the main courses and went straight to dessert. And she told me all about her life when she moved to America. It was 1940, which is hard to believe.

“She was just a wonderful, genuinely authentic person and really inspiring.”

Antonio Banderas shared a selection of pictures of Dame Angela from across the years and wrote: “rest in peace” while also sharing a red rose.

Describing her as “one of the brightest stars of the last decade”, Marie Osmond added: “Rest in peace Angela Lansbury. The world is a better place because of you.”

West End star Elaine Paige said Dame Angela was “always so kind and generous” when they met.

“So sad to hear the news that legendary lady Angela Lansbury has passed away,” Paige tweeted, sharing a picture of them together.

“One of the last stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age and an icon on Broadway and the West End.

With a career spanning more than eight decades, Dame Angela was a three-time Academy Award nominee and five-time Tony Award winner.

Born in London in 1925, she moved to the United States during World War II, where she studied at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York.

Dame Angela’s first film role was in George Cukor’s Gaslight as a young maid named Nancy Oliver who worked in the home of the film’s protagonist, Paula Alquist, played by Ingrid Bergman.

Dame Angela, then 19, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1944 film.

Dame Angela garnered critical acclaim and is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Murder, She Wrote novelist and detective Jessica Fletcher – a retired schoolteacher from the fictional town of Cabot Cove who became a successful crime writer after the death of her husband.

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