Already with her first film roles in the 1940s, Angela Lansbury was able to celebrate great success. After a nearly 80-year career on the big screen, small screen and theater stage, the actress has now passed away in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles, as US industry magazines report in reference to a message from Lansbury’s three children. On Sunday she would have been 97 years old.
The British actress had her first appearances as an actress in nightclubs and cabarets in North America, where her family had emigrated during the Second World War. But it wasn’t long before Lansbury was discovered for the cinema.
At just 17, she landed the role of the cheeky maid Nancy opposite Ingrid Bergman in the thriller The House of Lady Alquist – and was promptly nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1945. Just one year later, she was nominated for the second time in the same category for her role in the Oscar Wilde adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lansbury still holds the record for being the youngest actress to receive two Oscar nominations.
Although it was not quite able to maintain this unprecedented high in the years that followed, it was still in great demand. After working in smaller films for several years, she gave her career a new boost in 1962 with the political thriller “Ambassador of Fear”. The film earned her another Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. She wasn’t able to get the coveted trophy here either, In 2014, however, Lansbury was awarded an Oscar for her lifetime achievement.
But Angela Lansbury was also a permanent guest at other renowned award ceremonies. The actress, who is also very active on Broadway with leading roles in popular musicals such as “Mame”, “Gypsy” and “Sweeney Todd”, received six Tony Awards over the course of her career and finally an honorary Tony for her life’s work.
She is also one of the actresses with the most Golden Globe trophies with a total of six awards (only topped by Meryl Streep with seven wins). She received four of the awards for just that her internationally best-known role, that of the good-hearted crime writer and smart amateur investigator Jessica Fletcher in the series hit “Mord ist ihr Hobby”which had twelve seasons with over 260 episodes between 1984 and 1996 and also became an absolute cult in Germany.
Angela Lansbury also left a lasting impression with a few speaking roles, most notably in the original version of the Disney masterpiece Beauty and the Beast as Madame Pottine, who also performs the Oscar-winning theme song in the film. Lansbury was less seen in front of the camera after the end of “Murder Is Her Hobby”, but she still enriched isolated family comedies like “An Enchanting Nanny” and “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” with her engaging presence. One of her last film roles came in 2018 as Ballon Lady in the Disney classic sequel Mary Poppins Returns.