British-American actress Angela Lansbury, was well-known for her numerous stage, screen, and television performances. She’s actually regarded as one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood because of her nearly 80-year-long career in the entertainment industry.
Her performances in “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Mame,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and “Murder, She Wrote” are what made her most well-known. In addition, Angela has provided the voice for well-known animated movies like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Anastasia.”
Over the course of her long career, she has won numerous honors, including an Honorary Academy Award and a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to receiving numerous nominations, she has won an amazing five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and an Olivier Award.
Angela had a successful profession, but she has also led a full personal life. Richard Cromwell, another actor, and Angela were married when she was 19 and he was 35. The couple separated less than a year later, but it wasn’t because of their different ages. The reason they split up wasn’t made public at the time, but it was later discovered that Cromwell was gay. Even yet, they remained close friends right up until his passing in 1960.
Then, in 1949, when Angela was about 24 years old, she wed Peter Shaw, the love of her life. Anthony, a son, and Deirdre, a girl, were the couple’s two children. Up to Peter’s passing in 2003, the couple’s love did not waver, and Angela went through a melancholy time of bereavement.
Continue reading to find out more about her past relationships.
On October 16, 1925, Angela was born into an upper-middle-class family in the heart of London. Her father, politician and lumber trader Edgar Lansbury, raised her along with actress Moyna Macgill. When Angela was nine years old, her father passed away from stomach cancer, and the actor has remarked that creating characters has helped her deal with her loss.
Due to her mother’s financial difficulties, Angela and her mother moved in with him in Hampstead when she got engaged to another guy. By using books, movies, and the theater, Angela kept up her education. At the Ritman School of Dancing, the young girl also studied music and picked up piano skills. She attended the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art in 1940 to study acting.
In 1940, Angela’s mother made the decision to relocate her family to the United States as the London Blitz began. Angela was able to attend the Feagin School of Dramatic Radio and Arts once she had obtained a scholarship from the American Theatre Wing. When she completed her education in March 1942, her family relocated once more, this time to Greenwich Village.
Angela, who has always been a natural performer, has said:
As a young child, “I did want people to recognize me. I recall sitting on buses when I was 11 or 12 years old and making an effort to look interesting. Or I would say something somewhat outrageous to attract people’s attention by making it seem as though I knew something they didn’t.
My adolescence never came. I was also too preoccupied training to be an actress. Never for a moment did it cross my mind to stop. I also didn’t feel like I was lacking anything.
When Angela was just 17 years old, she unexpectedly signed a contract with MGM Studios after manning the cosmetic counter at a local department shop. This was the start of her professional acting career. Angela was the ideal candidate for MGM’s search for new British actresses to add to their repertoire.
She landed her first significant role in the 1944 film “Gaslight” not long after signing with MGM, sharing the screen with luminaries like Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. Amazingly, the then-rookie actress’s first notable part earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and propelled her career to the top practically overnight.
Shortly after receiving her first Oscar nomination, Angela received a second nomination for “The Picture of Dorian GrayBest “‘s Supporting Actress category. As Angela was under contract with MGM at the time, the majority of her roles were supporting ones, which caused her to gradually become dissatisfied with her casting. In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2017, she expressed her discontent, saying:
“As far as MGM was concerned, I was a support actress. I could perform in nearly any character that they gave me.”
Because of this, the youthful actress frequently played middle-aged ladies despite being at least 20 years younger than the characters she played. She felt undervalued and restricted in her career and abilities as a result of the way MGM handled her. In the same interview, she clarified:
“MGM was completely unsure on how to utilize me. I ultimately became impatient to go because I was making no progress.
In 1952, she ultimately decided to break her contract with MGM and stop acting for a spell in order to devote more time to her expanding family.
Angela’s career grew when she started performing again. She was, however, once more stereotyped into playing older ladies who were frequently negative or malevolent characters. She even said that “Hollywood made me elderly before my time” in her complaint. Despite being just in her 30s, she played a number of middle-aged women during the 1950s and 1960s.
Elvis Presley’s character Chad Gates’ mother was played by 36-year-old Angela in the 1961 film “Blue Hawaii,” despite though Presley was only 26 at the time. She played Laurence Harvey’s spooky mother in “The Manchurian Candidate” the next year, despite Harvey being three years her junior. Nevertheless, Angela received a third Academy Award nomination for the performance.
But Jessica Fletcher, the author-turned-sleuth from the enduring television drama series “Murder, She Wrote,” is arguably her most well-known figure. The program made its debut in 1984 and ran until 1996. The success of the show was attributed to Angela’s wit, kindness, and integrity. Although many people consider her role in the series to be her most well-liked, she almost didn’t land it because she disobeyed her agency, who had preferred the lead role in a sitcom that she was offered at the same time.
But Angela chose the part she most desired to play, and aren’t we all fortunate that she did? It greatly increased her visibility, solidified her role as an icon among a younger TV audience, and rekindled interest among her ardent supporters. She was nominated for multiple awards, including the Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and SAG Awards, for the performance.
In addition, Angela took on the part in “Murder, She Wrote” when she was in her 60s, a period of time that many in Hollywood would view as past the prime of an actor. Instead, it helped her become a force in the entertainment world; at the time, many people considered her to be the most influential woman in television. Angela fought for adjustments to the script if the character wasn’t up to par since she wanted to ensure that her character’s individuality remained intact. Several members of Angela’s family, including her husband and son, contributed to the success of the program. Past the age of 70, she would still portray that role with her characteristic fervor and enthusiasm.
In a September 2018 interview with Studio 10, Angela spoke candidly about the venerable program and her part in changing Fletcher’s character. The writers had intended for the character to be a little sillier, but Angela wanted to show her as a more dynamic, intelligent lady.
She had regained her sense of purpose as a woman by the time we were done, Angela said. She was also attractive, she had boyfriends, and she had a nice wardrobe. She transitioned from being a kook to becoming much more of a “every lady.”
As the century came to a close, Angela’s career took yet another turn when, in 1996, she succeeded in capturing Broadway by portraying the title role in the musical comedy mega success “Mame.” Her accomplishments on Broadway are numerous and diverse. In every role she played on Broadway, from Mama Rose in “Gypsy” to the evil widow Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd,” Angela wowed the audience. Even after appearing in a 2015 London West End revival of “Blithe Spirit,” she has remained devoted to the stage.
According to Forbes, the amazing actress turned down the role of Nurse Ratchet in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975 because she wasn’t sure if she would be able to handle it. Instead, Louise Fletcher was cast, and her depiction of the part earned her the Oscar for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role.
However, Angela’s list of honors and nominations over the course of her extraordinarily lengthy career is nothing short of impressive. She also managed to garner seven Tony Award nominations, five of which she has won, in addition to her three Academy Award nominations. Even though she was unable to win an Oscar for a specific performance, she did eventually receive an honorary Academy Award in 2014. She also received an amazing 18 nominations for Emmys and 15 nominations for Golden Globes.
With such a long career under her belt, it comes as no surprise that Angela is one of the most celebrated actresses of all time and has received numerous awards for her commitment to the entertainment business. For the most Golden Globe Awards won in 2010, Angela surpassed Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, and Alan Alda. Angela won her seventh that year, compared to six wins for each of the other performers. In addition, she was honored by the John F. Kennedy Center in 2000 for all of her outstanding efforts and commitment to the arts.
Angela has frequently gone above and above in her professional life, and she has applied the same mentality to more private undertakings. The actress has been a steadfast supporter of several charities, such as Abused Wives in Crisis, a group that aids domestic abuse victims, as well as a variety of organizations that work to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It’s amazing Angela has time for a personal life at all with such a demanding work. However, she actually got married twice. Angela initially wed Cromwell, a fellow actor, in 1945 when she was barely 19 and he was 35, while she experienced early success in Hollywood. However, the marriage did not last, and by 1946, they had separated. At the time, the couple didn’t discuss the reasons their relationship had failed; but, years later, Angela disclosed that Cromwell’s sexual orientation was also a problem, in addition to their age difference. As reported by Attitude, Angela stated to Radio Times:
“I was unaware that I was getting married to a gay man. He was such an appealing person, in my opinion. He was attracted to me and wanted to marry me due to what he had seen on the screen.”
Added her “But I wasn’t expecting it to end, so it came as a shock to me. He continued to be friends with me and my future husband, Peter Shaw, so it didn’t hurt or harm me in any way. I simply made a bad mistake when I was a very young woman. I don’t regret anything, though.”
In 1960, liver cancer claimed Cromwell’s life. Angela married Peter, an actor and producer, in 1949, but not before she had found real love. The biggest one turned out to be her marriage to him. David Shaw, a son whom Peter already had from his first marriage, was adopted by Angela. Once, David said:
She’s a wonderful lady. She was not required to have me when I entered. It was a truly amazing thing to do. She always prioritizes her family.
Angela gave birth to her son Anthony Shaw in 1952, and a year later, the couple welcomed a daughter named Deirdre Shaw since they had hopes to have more kids.
Angela has always placed a high value on her family, and even while she was away from home performing as an actor, she was certain that Peter was taking good care of her kids. In a 2012 interview, Angela stated:
“I credit Peter for a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have accomplished on my own. Go on; I’ll take care of things here, he would say. Go.’ And I always appreciated him doing it.
The love between the two was so intense that when Peter passed away in 2003, after 53 years of marriage, Angela was devastated. In the same interview from 2012, she stated:
“It’s not what one had planned for their life. And you never think about it until that special someone vanishes out of thin air.
Over the years, the power couple collaborated on many of Angela’s projects, and she acknowledged that losing her soul partner was one of the most “divisive” experiences of her life. After Peter died, Angela went through a melancholy phase, and she spoke with CNN about how she didn’t want to push herself to get over it too soon.
I only knew that I had to wait till the day came when I would have to gaze at the surface once more and figure out how to fix the gap within my soul.
After reflecting on her lengthy and accomplished career, Angela was asked in a 2018 interview whether there was anything she still yearned for. Angela replied:
We “live on the memory of our lives,” and one of the things I treasure most is the memory of my family, the memory of watching my kids grow up, the memory of sharing my life with my husband, and the memory of knowing the people I do. Simply said, I don’t want to forget.