Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury was born October 16, 1925 in London, England to Belfast born actress Monya MaGill and Edgar Lansbury, a politician and prominent businessman. Her mother would appear with Angela in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Kind Lady (1951).

Just prior to the German bombing campaign of London, Angela's mother was given the opportunity to take her children to North American and under the cover of darkness they fled and sailed for Montreal and from there headed to New York City. Her mother settled in Hollywood following a fund-raising Canadian tour of a Noel Coward play and Angela and her brothers joined her there.

Angela Lansbury worked at the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. At one of her mother's frequent parties, she met would be actor Michael Dyne who arranged for her to meet Mel Ballerino. Ballerino was the casting director for upcoming films The Picture of Dorian Gray and Gaslight. He offered Angela roles in both movies.

She made her film debut in Gaslight (1944), playing the role of the impertinent and slightly malevolent maid, Nancy. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut.

She would earn her second Academy Award nomination for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945).

Angela Lansbury's most popular films include National Velvet (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), State of the Union (1948), The Three Musketeers (1948), Sampson and Deliah (1949), The Court Jester (1956), The Long Hot Summer (1958), Blue Hawaii (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Death on the Nile (1978), Beauty and The Beast (1991), Anastasia (1997).

She would also earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

She won the Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Angela Lansbury also has had a successful career on Broadway earning five Tony Awards. Her Broadway credits include Hotel Paradiso (her debut), Mame (won Tony), Prettybelle, Gypsy (won Tony), The King and I, Sweeney Todd (won Tony), Dear World (won Tony) and Blithe Spirit (won Tony).

On television, Angela Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote (1984 -1996) which would earn her four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Drama Series and 13 Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Her other television credits include Law & Order, Trial by Jury, Law & Order, SVU, Touched By an Angel, Magnum P.I., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Playhouse 90, and Your Show of Shows.

She has been nominated for an Emmy 18 times, holding the record for the most nominations without a win.

In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Angela her Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1995, Angela Lansbury was named a Disney Legend.

In 1997, Angela received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2000, she was a Kennedy Honor recipient.

She has a two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one for televison and one for motion pictures.

Angela Lansbury is also a vegetarian and a longtime animals rights activist.

Angela Lansbury was first married to Richard Cromwell (1945 - 1946, divorced). Angela Lansbury would marry Peter Shaw on August 12, 1949 and remained married until his death in 2003. Peter and Angela had two children, Diedre and Anthony.

Her son Anthony Shaw directed several of the Murder She Wrote episodes and television movies.

Angela Lansbury is currently active on Broadway. She just completed starring in Blithe Spirit and in December 2009 will play Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.

Angela Lansbury accepting her fifth Tony Award for Blithe Spirit at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards June, 2009.

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