Angela Lansbury Young
|Died: October 11, 2022. Los Angeles, California, USA (natural causes)|
|Died: October 11, 2022 . Los Angeles, California, USA (natural causes)|
|Birth name: Angela Brigid Lansbury|
|Height: 5′ 8″ (1.73 m)|
Angela Lansbury Bio
Early Life and Family Background
Angela Lansbury, born in 1925, belonged to an influential upper-middle-class family residing in London’s Regent’s Park area. Her father, Edgar Isaac Lansbury (1887-1935), held dual membership in the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the Labour Party, serving as Honorary Treasurer of the East London Federation of Suffragettes (term 1915) and later as the Mayor of Poplar (term 1924-1925). He was the second British Communist mayor, following Joe Vaughan (1878-1938). Moyna Macgill (1895-1975), an Irish film actress from Belfast, was Lansbury’s mother. During Angela’s early years, the Lansbury family resided in a flat in Poplar. In 1930, they relocated to a house in the Mill Hill neighborhood in north London. They would spend their weekends vacationing on a farm situated in Berrick Salome, a village in South Oxfordshire.
In 1935, Edgar Lansbury passed away due to stomach cancer. Angela purportedly sought solace in “portraying characters” as a way to handle the grief. Shortly after, the widow Moyna Macgill got engaged to Leckie Forbes, a Scottish colonel, and moved into his residence in Hampstead.
Education and Acting Beginnings
From 1934 to 1939, Angela attended South Hampstead High School. She developed a fascination for films during this time, frequently visiting the nearby cinema and envisioning herself in different roles. Angela gained proficiency in playing the piano and received a musical education at the Rotman School of Dancing.
Lansbury began her acting education in 1940 at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art in Kensington, West London. She debuted in the school’s production of “Mary of Scotland” (1933) by Maxwell Anderson, a play about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Lansbury portrayed one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting.
Relocation to the United States
In 1940, George Lansbury, Lansbury’s paternal grandfather, passed away due to stomach cancer. As the Blitz commenced, Moyna Macgill had concerns about her family’s safety and limited connections to England. Macgill relocated to the United States with her three youngest children to evade the Blitz. Isolde, being already married, remained in England.
Macgill obtained financial sponsorship from American businessman Charles T. Smith. She and her children, including Angela, relocated to Smith’s residence in Mahopac, New York, a small area in Putnam County. Lansbury desired to pursue further education and acquired a scholarship from the American Theatre Wing. Between 1940 and 1942, she attended the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York City to study acting. Lansbury participated in various performances arranged by the school.
Career Breakthrough and Personal Life
In 1942, Lansbury relocated with her family to a flat on Morton Street in Greenwich Village. Subsequently, she accompanied her mother on a theatrical tour of Canada. Lansbury attained her initial paid employment in Montreal, performing at the Samovar Club for a wage of $60 per week. Despite being 16 years old, Lansbury falsely declared herself to be 19 in order to secure the job.
Lansbury came back to New York City in August 1942, but shortly after, Moyna Macgill relocated herself and her family. They settled in Los Angeles, where Moyna aimed to revive her acting career. Their initial residence was a bungalow in Laurel Canyon, a neighborhood situated in the Hollywood Hills.
Lansbury supported her family financially by working at the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. Despite earning only 28 dollars per week, she had a steady income while her mother was jobless. Through her mother, Lansbury met screenwriter John Van Druten (1901-1957), who had recently finished writing the script for “Gaslight” (1944). Impressed by her, he suggested Lansbury for the role of Nancy Oliver, the cunning cockney maid in the film. This opportunity secured Lansbury’s first film role at 17 and a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She received a weekly salary of 500 dollars and opted to use her own name instead of adopting a stage name.
In 1945, Lansbury wed actor Richard Cromwell (1910-1960), who was 15 years her senior. The troubled marriage ended in divorce in 1946, yet they maintained a friendly relationship until Cromwell’s passing.
Relationship with Peter Shaw and Marriage
Shortly after, in 1946, Lansbury entered a romantic involvement with aspiring actor Peter Shaw (1918-2003), who was 7 years older than her. Shaw had recently concluded a relationship with actress Joan Crawford (c. 1908-1977). The new couple began cohabiting and planned to marry. Although they desired a wedding in the United Kingdom, the Church of England declined to marry them due to their previous divorces. Consequently, they exchanged vows in 1949 at St. Columba’s Church, a Church of Scotland establishment situated in Knightsbridge, London. Upon returning to the United States, they settled in Lansbury’s residence in Rustic Canyon, Malibu. In 1951, both Lansbury and Shaw acquired United States citizenship through naturalization, while retaining their British nationality.
Lansbury continued appearing in MGM films, featuring in 11 between 1945 and 1952. Occasionally, MGM loaned her to other studios for films like United Artists’ “The Private Affairs of Bel Ami” (1947) and Paramount Pictures’ “Samson and Delilah” (1949). In 1948, she debuted in radio roles and made her television debut in 1950.
Return to Broadway and Television Success
In 1952, Lansbury requested the termination of her MGM contract instead of renewing it due to dissatisfaction with her film career. She then joined East Coast touring productions of two former Broadway plays. By 1953, Lansbury had two children of her own and was also raising a stepson. Her family moved to a larger house on San Vincente Boulevard in Santa Monica. In 1959, they relocated to a house in Malibu, allowing their children to attend a local public school.
She pursued her film career as a freelance actress while being consistently cast in middle-aged roles. Her acclaimed performances in the drama film “The Long, Hot Summer” (1958) and the comedy film “The Reluctant Debutante” (1958) brought her back as an A-list actress. She also made frequent television appearances and became a regular on the game show “Pantomime Quiz” (1947-1959).
In 1957, Lansbury debuted on Broadway in “Hotel Paradiso,” an adaptation of Maurice Desvallières (1857-1926) and Georges Feydeau’s (1862-1921) 1894 play “L’Hôtel du libre échange” (“Free Exchange Hotel”). Her portrayal of “Marcel Cat” received positive reviews. She continued her presence on Broadway, notably portraying the verbally abusive mother in “A Taste of Honey,” where she played the mother of her co-star Joan Plowright (1929-), who was only four years younger.
During the early 1960s, Lansbury starred as an overpowering mother in “Blue Hawaii” (1961). Elvis Presley (1935-1977) portrayed her son, despite being just 10 years younger. The movie achieved great success, ranking as the 10th highest-grossing film in 1961 and the 14th in 1962 according to the “Variety” national box office survey. This brought Lansbury newfound popularity during a challenging phase in her career.
Lansbury received critical acclaim for her sympathetic role in the 1960 drama film “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and her portrayal of a manipulative mother in the 1962 drama film “All Fall Down”. Her success in “All Fall Down” led to her being cast in a similar role in the Cold War-themed thriller “The Manchurian Candidate” in 1962. In the film, she played Eleanor Iselin, the mother of her co-star Laurence Harvey (1928-1973), who was just 3 years younger than her. This role became one of the highlights of her career, earning her critical acclaim and a third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. However, the award was ultimately won by Patty Duke (1946-2016).
Lansbury achieved a successful return as Mame Dennis in the musical “Mame” (1966), written by Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004) and Robert Edwin Lee (1918-1994). The production, based on Patrick Dennis’ (1921-1976) novel “Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade” (1955), centered around the unconventional and artistic Mame Dennis. This musical garnered both critical and popular acclaim, leading to Lansbury’s first Tony Award win for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Her remarkable triumph catapulted her to stardom, establishing her as a renowned figure.
Honors and Recognitions
Her newfound fame resulted in notable appearances, including a musical performance at the 1968 Academy Awards and co-hosting the 1968 Tony Awards. In 1968, Lansbury was elected “Woman of the Year” by the Hasty Pudding Club, a Harvard social club.
Following her success, Lansbury starred in the 1969 production of “The Madwoman of Chaillot” by Jean Giraudoux. The play portrays the challenges faced by an eccentric Parisian woman when dealing with figures of authority. Despite being 44 years old, Lansbury was cast in the lead role of Countess Aurelia, a 75-year-old character. The production received positive reviews and ran for 132 performances, earning Lansbury her second Tony Award.
In 1970, a brush fire destroyed Lansbury’s Malibu residence. In response, she and her husband purchased Knockmourne Glebe, an Irish farmhouse dating back to the 1820s, located near the village of Conna in rural County Cork.
Her film career soared when she was chosen to play the lead role of kind-hearted witch Eglantine Price in Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971). The movie was a box-office hit, receiving critical acclaim and introducing Lansbury to a wider audience of children and families.
In 1972, Lansbury returned to the British stage, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company for performances in London’s West End. In 1973, she took on the role of Rose in the London production of Arthur Laurents’ musical “Gypsy” (1959). The show enjoyed great success. In 1974, “Gypsy” embarked on a United States tour, featuring the same cast. Lansbury’s performance earned her the Sarah Siddons Award and her third Tony Award. The musical embarked on its second tour in 1975.
Her Mother Passed Away
Lansbury, tired of musicals, sought Shakespearean roles in the UK. She played Queen Gertrude in the National Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet from 1975 to 1976. In November 1975, Lansbury’s mother Moyna Macgill passed away at 79. Lansbury arranged for her mother’s cremation and scattered the ashes near her own County Cork home.
In 1976, Lansbury returned to the American stage. In 1978, she temporarily replaced Constance Towers in the starring role of Anna Leonowens in The King and I. During Towers’ break, Lansbury performed in 24 shows.
In 1978, Lansbury returned to the big screen after a seven-year hiatus, portraying the character Salome Otterbourne, a novelist and murder victim, in the mystery film “Death on the Nile” (1978). This movie was based on Agatha Christie’s (1890-1976) 1937 novel, with Otterbourne drawing inspiration from the real-life novelist Elinor Glyn (1864-1943). “Death on the Nile” enjoyed moderate success at the box office, and Lansbury formed a friendship with her co-star Bette Davis (1908-1989).
Lansbury was chosen for the part of Mrs. Lovett, a meat pie vendor, in the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (1979), created by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler (1912-1987). This musical drew inspiration from the penny dreadful serialized novel “The String of Pearls: A Domestic Romance” (1846-1847), which introduced the fictional serial killer Sweeney Todd. Lansbury portrayed the character for 14 months before being replaced by Dorothy Loudon (1925-2003). She earned her fourth Tony Award for this performance and later reprised the role for another 10 months in 1980.
Lansbury’s subsequent significant film part came as Miss Froy in “The Lady Vanishes” (1979), a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 film. Following that, she portrayed amateur detective Miss Jane Marple in the mystery movie “The Mirror Crack” (1980), based on Agatha Christie’s novel “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side” (1962). The novel drew loose inspiration from Gene Tierney’s life (1920-1991). The film achieved moderate commercial success, although plans for at least two sequels fell into development difficulties.
Honored by American Theatre
In 1982, Lansbury was honored by the American Theatre Hall of Fame. During that time, she appeared in “A Little Family Business” and a revival of “Mame,” but both productions failed commercially. Lansbury lent her voice to the character Mommy Fortuna, the witch, in the animated fantasy film “The Last Unicorn” (1982). Although the film received critical acclaim, it did not perform well at the box office.
In 1983, Lansbury portrayed Ruth in the musical comedy “The Pirates of Penzance,” which was a film adaptation of the comic opera by William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900). Unfortunately, the film was a financial disappointment, earning only approximately 695,000 dollars.
Lansbury’s next film part was as Granny in the gothic fantasy film “The Company of Wolves” (1984), which was adapted from Angela Carter’s (1940-1992) 1979 short story. Lansbury portrayed the grandmother of the main character Rosaleen (portrayed by Sarah Patterson) in a story involving werewolves and shape-shifting. The film garnered positive critical reception but had a modest box office performance.
Television Success and “Murder, She Wrote”
Around that time, Lansbury started appearing frequently in television films and mini-series. Her notable television portrayal was as Jessica Fletcher in the detective series “Murder, She Wrote” (1984-1996). Jessica was depicted as a successful mystery writer from Maine who comes across and unravels numerous murder cases. The character was seen as an American equivalent to Miss Marple. The series followed the “whodunit” structure and generally steered clear of portraying violence or graphic content.
The series achieved a television milestone by featuring an older female character as the main lead. It targeted middle-aged viewers primarily, while also captivating younger and senior audiences. Ratings remained consistently high throughout its duration. Lansbury resisted network executives’ pressure to involve her character in a romantic relationship, as she believed in maintaining Fletcher’s independent strength as a single woman.
Lansbury co-founded Corymore Productions in 1989, a production company that began co-producing the TV series with Universal Television. This enabled Lansbury to have greater creative input and she became an executive producer. When the series concluded in 1996, it shared the record for the longest-running detective drama series on television with the original “Hawaii Five-O” (1968-1980).
Cultural Impact and Influence
Lansbury’s role in “Murder, She Wrote” made her a sought-after figure for advertisers. She was featured in ads and infomercials for Bufferin, MasterCard, and the Beatrix Potter Company.
Lansbury’s notable film role in decades was as the voice of Mrs. Potts, the singing teapot, in Disney’s animated fantasy film “Beauty and the Beast” (1991). She performed the film’s title song, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, Lansbury primarily resided in California. In 1991, she built Corymore House, a farmhouse in Ballywilliam, County Cork, as her new family home. She spent Christmas and summers there.
Her Husband Peter Shaw Passed Away
After “Murder, She Wrote” ended, Lansbury resumed her career as a theater actress. In 2001, she briefly retired from the stage to care for her husband, Peter Shaw, who was in declining health. Shaw passed away in 2003 at their home in Brentwood, California, due to congestive heart failure. They had been married for 54 years (1949-2003).
Lansbury believed she couldn’t handle additional leading roles but was open to making cameos. In 2006, she returned to New York City and purchased a Manhattan condominium. After years, her notable film appearance was as Aunt Adelaide in the fantasy movie “Nanny McPhee” (2005). She attributes her recovery from depression, which had persisted since her spouse’s passing, to her performance in the film.
Lansbury resumed performing on Broadway in 2007 after a 23-year break, winning her fifth Tony Award in 2009. She held the same number of Tony Awards as Julie Harris (1925-2013). Throughout the 2010s, she consistently appeared in theatrical productions. In 2014, she made a comeback to the London stage after an absence of nearly 40 years.
In 2015, Lansbury, at the age of 89, received her first Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming one of the oldest first-time winners. She was also honored with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre in November 2015.
In 2017, she portrayed Aunt March in the mini-series “Little Women,” which was based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name (1868-1869). The mini-series consisted of 3 episodes and received favorable critical reception.
The following year, Lansbury secured her next film role in Disney’s fantasy film “Mary Poppins Returns” (2018), serving as a sequel to the original “Mary Poppins.” Lansbury was cast as the Balloon Lady, a kind elderly woman who sells balloons at the park. The film achieved commercial success, grossing approximately 350 million dollars worldwide at the box office.
In 2019, Lansbury acted in a single-night benefit production of Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895), a farce that satirizes Victorian morals. She played Lady Bracknell, a society lady and the mother of Gwendolen Fairfax.
By 2020, Lansbury, who is one of the oldest-living actresses, reached the age of 95. She has maintained her acting career without retiring and continues to be a beloved figure in the entertainment industry.
Angela Lansbury’s Net Worth
Lansbury, renowned for her acting and singing, had a successful career playing famous roles in the industry. Acting and singing served as her primary sources of income. Angela Lansbury’s net worth reached approximately $70 million, with her salary averaging around $300,000 per episode. At 96 years old, Hollywood actress Angela Lansbury passed away, with her family being notified of her death.
Throughout nearly eight decades, she portrayed multiple characters, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. In a statement, Angela’s family revealed that she peacefully passed away in her sleep at her residence in Los Angeles. It is with regret that we inform you that Angela departed this world just five days before her 97th birthday. The family is grieving her loss and kindly requests privacy during this time.
Peter Shaw (August 12, 1949 – January 29, 2003) (his death, 2 children)
Richard Cromwell (September 27, 1945 – September 11, 1946) (divorced)
Anthony Pullen Shaw
Deirdre Angela Shaw
George Lansbury (Grandparent)
Edgar Lansbury (Sibling)
Bruce Lansbury (Sibling)
Isolde Denham (Half Sibling)
Oliver Postgate (Cousin)
Lan Lansbury (Grandchild)
Robert B. Mantell (Aunt or Uncle)
Felicia Lansbury (Niece or Nephew)
|Cropped strawberry blonde hair|
|Classic skirt suit|
|Large, round, expressive eyes|
|Huge, over-sized blazer lapels|
|Deep sultry voice|
Angela Lansbury was married twice and had three children. In 1945 she eloped and married her first husband, actor Richard Cromwell when she was 19 and he was 35.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Lansbury had a net worth of $70 million at the time of her death. She was the oldest living Academy Award nominee when she died. Fox News Digital’s Will Mendelson contributed to this report
If you’ve been following her career for the past 80 years, you may be wondering how Angela Lansbury died and what her cause of death was when she passed. Lansbury—whose full name is Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury—died on October 11, 2022. She was 96 years old.