Angela Lansbury: Murder, She Wrote actress dies aged 96

Angela Lansbury: Murder, She Wrote actress dies aged 96

Dame Angela Lansbury, who starred in the TV show Murder, She Wrote and the film Beauty and the Beast, has died at the age of 96.

Her family said in a statement: “The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1.30am today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday.

“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 proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined.”

The London-born actor won five Tony Awards and was nominated for three Oscars, and received an honorary award in 2013.

She was also known for her roles in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and for voicing Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast.

Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher, a middle-aged widow and mystery writer, in the hit US crime drama series Murder, She Wrote which began in 1984. The series stayed high in the ratings until its 11th year.

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Her mature demeanour prompted producers to cast her much older than her actual age. In 1948, when she was 23, Lansbury’s hair was streaked with grey so she could play a forty-ish newspaper publisher with a yen for Spencer Tracy in “State of the Union.”

Her stardom came in middle age when she became the hit of the New York theatre, winning Tony Awards for Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975) and Sweeney Todd (1979).

She holds the record for the most Golden Globe nominations and wins for best actress in a television drama series and the most Emmy nominations for lead actress in a drama series.

In an interview in 2008, Lansbury said she still welcomed the right script but did not want to play “old, decrepit women”.

She said: “I want women my age to be represented the way they are, which is vital, productive members of society.

“I’m astonished at the amount of stuff I managed to pack into the years that I have been in the business. And I’m still here.”