Dame Angela Lansbury was known as one of the most successful Hollywood actresses of all time. From the classic TV show Murder, She Wrote, to the sparkling, all-singing, all-dancing, Mrs. Santa Claus, Lansbury truly was an unforgettable presence on our screens. Following her death on Tuesday 11th October 2022 at age 96, Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes discusses her inspirational and far-reaching career and life.
Actress. Singer. Legend. Those are the words that I would use to describe Dame Angela Lansbury, whose incredible career spanned over 70 years. Born in London in 1925, Lansbury moved to the United States in 1940 to escape the Blitz, and begun studying acting in New York City. By 1944, she had already secured a role in two films: Gaslight and National Velvet.
Lansbury had joint British, American and Irish nationality. She moved to Ireland in 1970, and starred in the famous Disney movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Her entrance into the world of television marked the beginning of the series that rocketed her to fame: Murder, She Wrote. This has become one of the most popular detective/”whodunnit” series of all time, with Lansbury leading as the fictional sleuth and fiction writer, Jessica Fletcher.
Other notable acting roles include voicing the charismatic Mrs. Potts in Disney’s 1991 film Beauty and the Beast, playing the snobby Great-Aunt in Nanny McPhee, and starring in Mary Poppins Returns. Angela Lansbury had such diverse talent, and the roles she has taken on are numerable.
In her personal life, Lansbury enjoyed reading, tennis, playing the piano and riding. She was a self-proclaimed Democrat, and a supporter of the Labour party in her home country, the United Kingdom.
In addition to her dynamic acting career, Lansbury supported a variety of important charities, particularly those that targeted help to wives who had suffered domestic abuse, and organisations that extended help people with drug problems. In the 1980s and 90s, she was a strong endorser of charities that combated the rise in AIDS and HIV.
I have not spoken to many people my age who are actually aware of who Angela Lansbury was, and I do think that is a shame
Despite the fact that this was by no means her most inspirational role, for me, Angela Lansbury will also be the loving, warm and adventurous wife of Father Christmas, in the classic 1996 film, Mrs. Santa Claus. This is, without doubt, my favourite Christmas movie, and I have many wonderful memories of snuggling up to watch it with my mum and grandparents, losing ourselves in the astonishing musical numbers, and heartfelt storyline. It will be difficult to watch it this Christmas, without a tear in my eye.
I have not spoken to many people my age who are actually aware of who Angela Lansbury was, and I do think that is a shame, because she was such an amazing lady, who graced both stage and screen with her wonderful presence over her lifetime.
Dame Angela Lansbury died peacefully in her sleep on 11th October 2022, just five days before her 97th birthday. She will be greatly missed.
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