According to a statement from her family, Angela Lansbury, who had a varied, award-winning movie and stage career in addition to being America’s favourite TV sleuth in Murder, She Wrote, has passed away.
Angela Lansbury the London-born actress who brought a commanding and ladylike precedence to each character she embodied, playing the iconic roles of a singing teapot (Beauty and the Beast), a Soviet Spy (Manchurian Candidate), and a domineering Aunt-in-Law (Nanny McPhee) among a line of other memorable roles– has died Tuesday.
“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” her family says in a statement by PEOPLE.
They add, “In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great-grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury,”
“She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held on a determined date.”
Before she passed, she took her final bows as one of the most decorated stage presences in history. Lansbury won a total of 5 Tony Awards during her career, the most recent being a featured part in the Blithe Spirit (2009) as Madame Arcati.
Her other four Tony wins were for her roles in Sweeny Todd (1979), Dear World (1969) and Gypsy (1975). Additionally, Lansbury earned her Actors’ Equity card in 1957 with her work in Hotel Paradiso.
“A star of stage, TV and movies, Lansbury was an Equity member for an astounding 65 years. She leaves behind a library of work to enjoy for many generations. We send our condolences to her friends and family.”according to a statement by Actors’ Equity, the union representing live stage performers.
Before assuming the relatively minor role of Jessca Fletcher, a mystery author and smart crime fighter on the popular series Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury had already had a long and successful career. This role has remained in many Americans’ hearts to this day.
From 1984 through 1996, Murder, She Wrote was shown for a long 12 seasons. The protagonist of the show was a widowed mystery author who used her brilliant intelligence and wit to outsmart regular crooks and occasionally the police. The show was a staple of Sunday night TV at 8 p.m., and was one of CBS’ biggest hits in the 1980s.
“We found our audience and they were loyal to the end,” Angela Lansbury said in a 1998 interview with the television academy.
More than just a great show, Murder, She Wrote ushered in a new era of female representation in media, with her presence undoubtedly ushering in a new era of television and allowing women to play a leading, intelligent roles. Angela Lansbury was nominated for 12 Emmys after “Murder,” but she never got a trophy; yet, she has unquestionably left her impact on the world with or without it and was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 1996.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher noted the lucky generations who got to observe Angela Lansbury’s lengthy and distinguished career.
“She was an inspiration both on and off stage, and I was personally a huge fan. Thank God she lived a good, long life as we were all blessed to bask in her light,” Drescher said in a statement. “I’m grateful that her body of work lives on to inspire generations to come.”
As someone who grew up watching the movies Angela Lansberry starred in later in her career, I’ll seriously miss the presence she gives to the screen and stage, which no actor or actress could hope to match.