Angela Lansbury, the big-eyed, scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels within the Broadway musicals Mame and Gypsy and solved limitless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher within the long-running TV collection Homicide, She Wrote, has died. She was 96.
Lansbury died Tuesday at her residence in Los Angeles, in keeping with a press release from her three kids. She died 5 days shy of her 97th birthday.
Lansbury received 5 Tony Awards for her Broadway performances and a lifetime achievement award. She earned Academy Award nominations as supporting actress for 2 of her first three movies, Gaslight (1945) and The Image of Dorian Grey (1946), and was nominated once more in 1962 for The Manchurian Candidate and her lethal portrayal of a Communist agent and the title character’s mom.
Her mature manner prompted producers to forged her a lot older than her precise age. In 1948, when she was 23, her hair was streaked with gray so she may play a forty-ish newspaper writer with a yen for Spencer Tracy in State of the Union.
Her stardom got here in center age when she turned the hit of the New York theatre, profitable Tony Awards for Mame (1966), Pricey World (1969), Gypsy (1975) and Sweeney Todd (1979).
She was again on Broadway and received one other Tony nomination in 2007 in Terrence McNally’s Deuce, taking part in a scrappy, brash former tennis star, reflecting with one other ex-star as she watches a modern-day match from the stands. In 2009 she collected her fifth Tony, for finest featured actress in a revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and in 2015 received an Olivier Award within the function.
However Lansbury’s widest fame started in 1984 when she launched Homicide, She Wrote on CBS. Primarily based loosely on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple tales, the collection centred on Jessica Fletcher, a middle-aged widow and former substitute college trainer residing within the seaside village of Cabot Cove, Maine. She had achieved discover as a thriller novelist and newbie sleuth.
The actor discovered the primary collection season exhausting.
“I used to be shocked once I realized that needed to work 12-15 hours a day, relentlessly, day in, time out,” she recalled. “I needed to lay down the regulation at one level and say `Look, I can’t do these reveals in seven days; it must be eight days.‘”
CBS and the manufacturing firm, Common Studio, agreed, particularly since Homicide, She Wrote had turn out to be a Sunday night time hit. Regardless of the lengthy days — she left her residence at Brentwood in West Los Angeles at 6 a.m. and returned after darkish — and reams of dialogue to memorize, Lansbury maintained a gradual tempo. She was happy that Jessica Fletcher served as an inspiration for older girls.
“Girls in movement photos have all the time had a tough time being function fashions for different girls,” she noticed. “They’ve all the time been thought-about glamorous of their jobs.”
Within the collection’ first season, Jessica wore garments that have been virtually frumpy. Then she acquired smartness, Lansbury reasoning that, as a profitable lady, Jessica ought to costume the half.
Homicide, She Wrote stayed excessive within the scores via its eleventh 12 months. Then CBS, searching for a youthful viewers for Sunday night time, shifted the collection to a much less beneficial midweek slot. Lansbury protested vigorously to no avail.
As anticipated, the scores plummeted and the present was cancelled. For comfort, CBS contracted for two-hour films of Homicide, She Wrote and different specials starring Lansbury.
Homicide, She Wrote and different tv work introduced her 18 Emmy nominations however she by no means received one. She holds the document for essentially the most Golden Globe nominations and wins for finest actress in a tv drama collection and essentially the most Emmy nominations for lead actress in a drama collection.
In a 2008 Related Press interview, Lansbury stated she nonetheless welcomed the best script however didn’t wish to play “previous, decrepit girls,” she stated. “I need girls my age to be represented the best way they’re, which is important, productive members of society.”
“I’m astonished on the quantity of stuff I managed to pack into the years that I’ve been within the enterprise. And I’m nonetheless right here!”
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