Born in London, October 16th, 1925, Dame Angela Lansbury has been entertaining audiences on and off stage since 1942, with roles such as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (1979), Mrs. Potts in Beauty and The Beast (1991), and Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote (1984 – 1996). Through her 80 years in the acting industry, Lansbury has left an unsurprisingly remarkable legacy, touching the hearts of thousands who were able to witness her abilities before her passing on October 11th, 2022 at 97 years old. Though many hearts are broken by this sudden news, today we pay tribute to the late actress and her journey through the arts.
Kickstarting her career in film was Lansbury’s role in Gaslight (1944). At only 17, she portrayed the role of Nancy Oliver, a cockney maid who stole the hearts of critics everywhere, and pushed Lansbury into the public’s interest. She was claimed by Variety magazine for having gone from “unknown to moviestar in just four day” in 1943. Throughout her extensive career, Lansbury managed to rack up 88 film credits for acting and voice acting, with more on the stage. She kept theater goers entertained with award winning shows like Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), and Blithe Spirit (2009). 2022 granted her the Lifetime Achievement Tony award, giving her a total of 6 awards and 8 nominations. As for film, she held two Golden Globe awards for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), and The Manchurian Candidate (2004). In 2013 she won the Honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement. Though her achievements in film and theater were astounding, her ambitions in her personal life proved her to have a strong sense of self and determination.
Lansbury studied at South Hampstead Highschool from 1934 – 1939 as well as studying drama at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts and Ritman School of Dancing. Further along in her life, after her divorce from husband Richard Cromwell in 1946, Lansbury went on to marry Peter Pullen Shaw in August of 1949 after her proposal to him some time earlier. Intent on marrying in England years prior, the couple had to settle to marry in St. Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge, London after their previous church rejected the marriage, for Peter’s ex wife was still alive. Following their honeymoon in France, the couple settled in Lansbury’s Los Angeles home, both later becoming naturalized US citizens via dual nationality in 1951. They stayed a happy couple until Shaw’s death in 2003, after having two children of their own, Deidre Angela Shaw and Anthony Pullen Shaw, accompanied by Peter’s son from his previous marriage, David Shaw.
Through film and theater, Dame Angela Lansbury has provided onlookers around the world with stunning performance after stunning performance. She inspired many up and coming actors and actresses alike to pursue their dreams with not only her talent, but her wit and ambition. No matter how big or small the role, Lansbury made sure it had a lasting impression on anyone who saw it.