Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury DBE (born October 16, 1925) is a British-American actress who has appeared in theatre, television, and film roles. Her career has spanned almost eight decades, much of it in the United States. Her work has received international attention. Lansbury was born to Irish actress Moyna Macgill and British politician Edgar Lansbury, an upper-middle-class family in Regent’s Park, central London. To escape the Blitz, in 1940 she moved to the United States with her mother and two brothers, and studied acting in New York City. Proceeding to Hollywood in 1942, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and obtained her first film roles, in Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), earning her two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe Award. She appeared in eleven further films for MGM, mostly in supporting roles such as National Velvet (1944), and The Harvey Girls. After her contract ended in 1952 she began supplementing her cinematic work with theatrical appearances. Although largely seen as a B-list star during this period, her appearance in the film The Manchurian Candidate (1962) received widespread acclaim, was cited as being one of her finest performances and received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination. Moving into musical theatre, Lansbury finally gained stardom for playing the leading role in the Broadway musical Mame (1966), which earned her a range of awards. Amid difficulties in her personal life, Lansbury moved from California to Co Cork, Ireland in 1970, and continued with her theatrical and cinematic appearances throughout the decade including starring in Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and the stage musicals Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, and The King and I. Moving into television, she achieved worldwide fame as fictional writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the American whodunit series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for twelve seasons from 1984 until 1996, becoming one of the longest-running detective drama series in television history. Through Corymore Productions, a company that she co-owned with her husband Peter Shaw, Lansbury assumed ownership of the series and was its executive producer for the final four seasons. Since then, she has toured in a variety of international theatrical productions and continued to make occasional appearances in films including Beauty and the Beast (1991), Nanny McPhee (2005) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Lansbury has received an Honorary Oscar and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and has won five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and an Olivier Award. She has also been nominated for numerous other industry awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, and various Primetime Emmy Awards on eighteen occasions, and a Grammy Award. In 2014, Lansbury was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. She has been the subject of three biographies.
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS:
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Bill Walsh for Walt Disney Productions. It is based upon the books The Magic Bedknob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1947) by English children’s author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson, John Ericson, and introducing Ian Wheighill, Cindy O’Callaghan, and Roy Snart. During the early 1960s, Bedknobs and Broomsticks entered development when the negotiations for the film rights to Mary Poppins (1964) were placed on hold. When the rights were acquired, the film was shelved repeatedly due to the similarities with Mary Poppins until it was revived in 1969. Originally at a length of 139 minutes, Bedknobs and Broomsticks was edited down to almost two hours prior to its premiere at the Radio City Music Hall. The film was released on December 13, 1971, to mixed reviews from film critics, some of whom praised the live-action/animated sequence. The film received five Academy Awards nominations winning one for Best Special Visual Effects. This was the last film released prior to the death of Walt Disney’s surviving brother, Roy O. Disney, who died one week later. It is also the last theatrical film Reginald Owen appeared in before his death next year in 1972; his last two acting credits were for television. In 1996, the film was restored with most of the deleted material re-inserted back into the film. A stage musical adaptation is in production which is set to debut in 2021.