STAY CONNECTED WITH US

50 Facts About Angela Lansbury – Mrs. Iselin From ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

Close

Angela Lansbury is a British-American-Irish actress and a fine singer, with an acting career spanning for seven decades in theatre, television and film. Most of her works has earned her global fame, with the most popular being her role as Jessica Fletcher in the series “Murder, She Wrote.” Here are 50 interesting facts about the award winning actress:

Angela Lansbury receives the Volta Award at the Audi Dublin Film Festival in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on February 21, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.
(Photo : Phillip Massey/WireImage) Angela Lansbury receives the Volta Award at the Audi Dublin Film Festival in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on February 21, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.
  1. She was referred as the "First Lady of Musical Theatre," by The New York Times in the 1960s.
  2. With her acting career spanning for seven decades, she could be considered Britain's most successful actress, as per an article in The Independent.
  3. She received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Lifetime Achievement Award in the year 2002.
  4. She was bestowed with the Honorary Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for a lifetime of achievements.
  5. She was described as "one of the few actors it makes sense to call beloved" by a interviewer for The New York Times in the year 2007, while The New Statesman stated that she "has the kind of pulling power many younger and more ubiquitous actors can only dream of."
    The British-born American actress Angela Lansbury acting in 'The Three Musketeers'. USA, 1948
    (Photo : Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images) The British-born American actress Angela Lansbury acting in 'The Three Musketeers'. USA, 1948
  6. She held the record for the most Emmy nominations without a single win with a total of 18 unsuccessful nominations over a 33-year period.
  7. She is the only actress and the third performer ever to be nominated for all four performance awards at the Tony Awards.
  8. She held the record of being the only actress with more than two nominations in Tony Award competition to go undefeated.
  9. For her services to drama, she was honored with the CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in the year 1994 in a ceremony by Charles, Prince of Wales.
  10. She was promoted to the DBE - Dame Commander of Order of the British Empire, in the Queen's New Year Honours List in 2014, for her services to drama and also the charitable and philanthropic services.
  11. In the year 1997, she was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C.
    THE LOVE SHE SOUGHT -- Pictured: Angela Lansbury as Agatha McGee
    (Photo : Sven Arnstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) THE LOVE SHE SOUGHT -- Pictured: Angela Lansbury as Agatha McGee
  12. She was awarded the John F. Kennedy Center Honors for her services to the arts in the year 2000.
  13. She was honored with 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6623 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6259 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
  14. She was among the special guests to be invited to the Grand Opening of the first Disney Park in Europe - Disneyland Resort in Paris, formerly known as EuroDisney Resort, where she impressed her hand prints.
  15. In the year 1982, she was one of the last guest stars on the situation comedy “Newhart.”
  16. She was awarded the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre in November 2015.
    British-born American actress Angela Lansbury posing for a perfume commercial. 1940s
    (Photo : Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images) British-born American actress Angela Lansbury posing for a perfume commercial. 1940s
  17. She was an avid letter writer and had made copies of all her correspondences, which at the request of Howard Gotileb, are housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.
  18. She was born as Angela Brigid Lansbury on October 16, 1925 in Regent's Park, London, England, UK.
  19. Her father, Edgar Lansbury was the former mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar, while her mother Moyna Macgill was a Belfast-born Irish actress. Her paternal grandfather, George Lansbury was the Labour Party leader and anti-war activist. She had an elder half-sister Isolde and two brothers - Bruce and Edgar.
  20. She started playing characters as a means to cope with the loss of her father, who died from stomach cancer, when she was nine years old. In a 2014 interview, she described that losing her father was actually "the defining moment of my life,” noting that “nothing before or since that incident has affected” her so deeply.
  21. She went to South Hampstead High School from 1934 to 1939, after her mother got engaged to Scottish colonel, Leckie Forbes. Following this, in a period of one year, she became a self-professed "complete movie maniac" with regular visits to the cinema. She even used to imagine herself as certain characters.
  22. She attended the acting course at Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art in Kensington, West London in 1940. Her first onstage appearance was as a lady-in-waiting in “Mary of Scotland,” a school production of Maxwell Anderson.
  23. She managed to secure a scholarship from the American Theatre Wing, to study at the Feagin School of Drama and Radio, from where she graduated by March 1942. By this time, she had appeared in a number of performances including William Congreve's “The Way of the World” and Oscar Wilde's “Lady Windermere's Fan.”
  24. By the age of 16, she secured her first theatrical job as a nightclub act at the Samovar Club, Montreal, for a earning of $60 per week, by claiming to be 19 years old.
  25. She landed her first role as Nancy Oliver in the 1944 mystery thriller “Gaslight,” when she met the co-author of the script, John van Druten in a party hosted by her mother. Druten suggested to director George Cukor that he should offer screen tests to Angela Lansbury. Though she had never acted before her screen-test, she wowed the director with her natural talent.
    1953, Vintage colour transparency, Cinema: A portrait of the actress Angela Lansbury
    (Photo : Popperfoto/Getty Images) 1953, Vintage colour transparency, Cinema: A portrait of the actress Angela Lansbury
  26. When she got the chance to star in “Gaslight,” she was working at Bullocks Department Store in Los Angeles for a pay of $28 a week. Her boss was not happy with her idea of leaving and even offered to match the pay at her new job, but was taken aback when she told him she would be earning $500 a week.
  27. Since she was only 17, she had to be accompanied and monitored by a social worker to the sets, while filming the movie. Even in a particular scene when she lights a cigarette in contradiction of Ingrid Bergman's wishes, the social worker refused to allow her to smoke, due to which the shooting of that particular scene was postponed until her eighteenth birthday. Just as Lansbury entered the set on her eighteenth birthday, the entire crew threw her a party and the cigarette scene was shot immediately.
  28. Her performance as Nancy Oliver in “Gaslight,” was widely praised by the critics and even earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
  29. With her role as Nancy Oliver in “Gaslight,” she hired her own agent, Earl Kramer and signed her first contract for seven years with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under the stage name of Angela Lansbury for a payment of $500 a week.
  30. Recalling her first day on the set, director Cukor called her as a natural-born actress, who was perfectly at ease and at home during her time at the set, even with no acting experience.
    Looking like something out of a fairy tale, film star Angela Lansbury amuses a tiny visitor, her son, Michael, by reading a modern fairy tale during a break in Hollywood film work. Angela's dressed for her part in 'The Court Jester', comedy set in medieval times, which also stars Danny Kaye and Glynis Johns.
    (Photo : Bettmann/Getty Images) Looking like something out of a fairy tale, film star Angela Lansbury amuses a tiny visitor, her son, Michael, by reading a modern fairy tale during a break in Hollywood film work. Angela's dressed for her part in 'The Court Jester', comedy set in medieval times, which also stars Danny Kaye and Glynis Johns.
  31. The same day she met director Cukor, she also met Albert Lewin, to sign for another role as Sibyl Vane in her second movie “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” for which she once again received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and also her first Golden Globe Award.
  32. She married Richard Cromwell, an artist and decorator, on September 27, 1945. The relationship ended in less than a year, as Cromwell was gay, who married her in the hope that it would turn him heterosexual.
  33. After the release of her 1946 movie “The Harvey Girls, she was often hissed at in public just because she played the role of Em, Judy Garland’s rival in the movie.
  34. Being an established cabaret singer, Lansbury, just had to intone the "Good-bye, Little Yellow Bird" in the movie “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Even for all of her singing in “The Harvey Girls” movie had to be dubbed by Virginia Rees, as her voice was considered unsuitable for the character she played.
  35. In fact, she once resented that, even though she had a fine voice, MGM had been insistent on giving her voice double for her movies like “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “The Harvey Girls,” and “The Hoodlum Saint.” It was in the movie “Till the Clouds Roll By,” a Jerome Kern biopic, producer Arthur Freed, allowed her to use her own singing voice in the jaunty, set-on-swings production number, "How'd You Like to Spoon with Me?"
  36. She met English expatriate Peter Pullen Shaw, an aspiring actor who was also in a contract with MGM in a party. The duo moved to live together before Lansbury proposed marriage. They married at St. Columba's Church, in Knightsbridge, London in August 1949. Two years after their marriage, they attained naturalized U.S. citizenships, albeit retaining their British citizenship.
  37. Disappointed with the roles given by MGM, she moved into television and made her first appearance in a 1950 episode of “Robert Montgomery Presents” adapted from A.J. Cronin's “The Citadel.”
  38. Until her contract ended with MGM in 1952, she was repeatedly kept in the B-list stars category and the studio made her portray older women and often villainous. Biographers Edelman and Kupferberg believed that majority of her films did nothing to further her career, a view that was also echoed by Cukor.
  39. She once stated in an interview that being typecast as an older, maternal figure, she was receiving fan mail from people who believed her to be in her forties. She said "Hollywood made me old before my time."
  40. After a couple of minor roles in various films and a number of TV series roles, it was her roles in the 1958 movies, “The Long Hot Summer,” and “The Reluctant Debutante,” that biographer Martin Gottfried claims to be the ones that restored her status as an "A-picture actress."
    Honoree Angela Lansbury attends the The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts' 50th Anniversary Gala at The New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on February 1, 2016 in New York City.
    (Photo : Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic) Honoree Angela Lansbury attends the The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts' 50th Anniversary Gala at The New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on February 1, 2016 in New York City.
  41. She debuted on Broadway in “Hotel Paradiso,” in April 1957, at the Henry Miller Theatre in which she played the role of Marcel Cat. Her performance earned her good reviews and later in an interview she stated that had she not performed in the play, her "whole career would have fizzled out."
  42. It was in the year 1966, that Lansbury got her first starring role, when she was 41 years old. She actively sought the title role of Mame Dennis in the musical “Mame.” It came as a big surprise to theatre critics as they believed the role would go to a better-known actress. Even the director had Rosalind Russell as the first choice for the role.
  43. For her role in the musical “Mame,” she underwent extensive training as her role involved ten songs and dance routines. Her performance received overwhelmingly positive reviews with Stanley Kauffmann from The New York Times stating "Miss Lansbury is a singing-dancing actress, not a singer or dancer who also acts... In this marathon role she has wit, poise, warmth and a very taking coolth."
  44. Biographer Margaret Bonanno later claimed that her character as Mame Dennis made Lansbury a "superstar." She even received her first Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, as well as the Antoinette Perry Award.
  45. Following the success of “Mame,” she was offered a number of roles in musical and even several cinematic roles, which she declined. She moved from musicals to plays with her first role being Gertude in the National Theatre Company's production of “Hamlet.” It was after seven years that she accepted her first cinematic role as novelist and murder victim Salome Otterbourne in the 1978 “Death on the Nile.”
    Actress Angela Lansbury attends the 2015 Acting Company Fall Gala at Capitale on November 9, 2015 in New York City.
    (Photo : Ron Adar/Getty Images) Actress Angela Lansbury attends the 2015 Acting Company Fall Gala at Capitale on November 9, 2015 in New York City.
  46. In 1983, she was offered a chance to star in two television roles – a sitcom and a detective series, in which she accepted the latter, going against her agents’ advice. She went on to play the character of Jessica Fletcher in the detective series “Murder, She Wrote.” She felt the character of Jessica was a role model for older female viewers, stating that the role had an "enormous, universal appeal – that was an accomplishment I never expected in my entire life."
  47. The “Murder, She Wrote” series continued for years, with her own company, Corymore Productions co-producing the show with Universal. She was even appointed as the executive producer of the season that aired in 1992-1993. Just as the ratings improved, the show became a Top Five programme.
  48. Her highest profile cinematic role was as the voice of the singing teapot Mrs. Potts in the 1991 “Beauty and the Beast,” which she considers to be a gift to her grandchildren. Her performance in the title song of the Disney animation movie earned her the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
  49. In the year 2001, she was cast in the lead role in Kander and Ebb musical “The Visit,” but she had to withdraw from it, even before the show opened, due to the deterioration health of her husband Peter, who died of congestive heart failure in January 2003. After that, she did not feel like taking on major acting roles, and stuck to a few cameo appearances.
  50. She starred in the 2005 film “Nanny McPhee,” as Aunt Adelaide, a baddie role which she felt was such a fun to play. She even informed in an interview that the role of Aunt Adelaide pulled her out of the abyss of losing her husband. Following this, she went on to star in “Deuce,” a play by Terrence McNally, after a 23-year absence in Broadway. She won a Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Play for her role.

© 2020 Booms Beat, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

angela lansbury facts, angela lansbury, facts about angela lansbury

Share Connect Tweet 0 Comment Email

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Real Time Analytics