Angela Lansbury, the big-eyed, scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels within the Broadway musicals Mame and Gypsy and solved infinite murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher within the long-running TV sequence Homicide, She Wrote, has died. She was 96.
Lansbury died Tuesday at her house in Los Angeles, in response to a press release from her three youngsters. She died 5 days shy of her 97th birthday.
Lansbury gained 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 might 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), Expensive 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, enjoying 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 greatest featured actress in a revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and in 2015 gained an Olivier Award within the function.
However Lansbury’s widest fame started in 1984 when she launched Homicide, She Wrote on CBS. Based mostly loosely on Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple tales, the sequence centred on Jessica Fletcher, a middle-aged widow and former substitute college trainer dwelling within the seaside village of Cabot Cove, Maine. She had achieved discover as a thriller novelist and novice sleuth.
The actor discovered the primary sequence 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 should be eight days.‘”
CBS and the manufacturing firm, Common Studio, agreed, particularly since Homicide, She Wrote had develop into a Sunday evening hit. Regardless of the lengthy days — she left her house 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 at all times had a tough time being function fashions for different girls,” she noticed. “They’ve at all times been thought of glamorous of their jobs.”
Within the sequence’ first season, Jessica wore garments that have been virtually frumpy. Then she acquired smartness, Lansbury reasoning that, as a profitable girl, Jessica ought to gown the half.
Homicide, She Wrote stayed excessive within the rankings by way of its eleventh 12 months. Then CBS, looking for a youthful viewers for Sunday evening, shifted the sequence to a much less beneficial midweek slot. Lansbury protested vigorously to no avail.
As anticipated, the rankings plummeted and the present was cancelled. For comfort, CBS contracted for two-hour motion pictures 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 gained one. She holds the report for probably the most Golden Globe nominations and wins for greatest actress in a tv drama sequence and probably the most Emmy nominations for lead actress in a drama sequence.
In a 2008 Related Press interview, Lansbury stated she nonetheless welcomed the proper script however didn’t wish to play “previous, decrepit girls,” she stated. “I need girls my age to be represented the way in which they’re, which is significant, 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!”
© 2022 The Canadian Press