Angela Lansbury, an iconic figure who achieved an eclectic award-winning stage and movie career along with becoming America’s favorite TV detective in the critically acclaimed series “Murder, She Wrote,” has passed away according to a statement from her family via NBC, whose parent company produce the long-running murder-mystery show. She was 96.
“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles,” the family said.
The three-time Oscar nominee enjoyed a career spanning eight decades across theatre, film, and television mediums.
Born in 1925, Lansbury was among the last stars of Hollywood’s famed “Golden Age of Cinema.”
Lansbury was born in London and later moved to New York to attend the Feagin School of Dramatic Art.
In 1942 she was noticed by a Hollywood executive while attending a party, and he’d given her her first role as a maid in the 1944 movie “Gaslight.”
Her career then took her from Broadway to Hollywood, with smashing success on both the big and small screen.
However, later in life, when she portrayed the inquisitive sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” she gained millions of fans worldwide.
She began the role in 1984 and would continue for 12 years and nine seasons.
The show also made Lansbury among the wealthiest women in America at the time, with an estimated fortune of $100 million.
Lansbury even earned an Oscar nomination for her very first role in “Gaslight,” and would also make one as Sibyl in the 1945 film, “The Picture of Dorian Gray and as Laurence Harvey’s manipulative mother in the 1962 film, “The Manchurian Candidate.”
She was also awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement at age 88 in 2013.
During the ceremony, fellow actor Geoffrey rush praised the legend as the “living definition of range.”
The award followed a lifetime achievement award from Bafta in 2002 and her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The next move onto Broadway in the 60s, she won several Tony Awards, including her portal of Nellie Lovett in a 1970 production of “Sweeny Todd.”
She was made a Dame in 2014 for her charitable work, services to drama, and philanthropy.
Tributes online following her death lauded Lansbury as one of Hollywood’s greatest legends.
Actor Josh Gad wrote via Twitter:
“It is rare that one person can touch multiple generations, creating a breadth of work that defines decade after decade. Angela Lansbury was that artist.”
Actress Mia Farrow, who starred in the 1975 film “Death on the Nile” alongside Lansbury, wrote that it was “an honour” to have worked with her.
Fellow actor Harvey Fierstein said that Dame Angela was “everything.”
Many tributes also mentioned Lansbury’s tireless work to raise awareness and funds for Aids in the 1980s and 1990s, even fronting a TV informational campaign and headlining fundraising events.
Lansbury was married twice, briefly to actor Richard Cromwell when she was 19, then later to Brish actor and producer Peter Shaw.
They remained married for over 50 years before he passed away in 2003.
Dame Angela Lansbury is survived by her three children, her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
On a personal note, “Murder, She Wrote,” was my late grandmother’s favorite show, and I have many fond memories of watching it with her as a child — which is why Mrs. Lansbury will always hold a special place in my heart.
You can also watch a touching tribute to the life and career of Dame Angela Lansbury in the video below.
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- “Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury dies at 96” BBC News.