Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury DBE (born October 16, 1925) is an English-American-Irish actress who has appeared in theatre, television, and film. Her career has spanned seven decades, much of it in the United States, and her work has attracted international acclaim.
Lansbury was born to Irish actress Moyna Macgill and English politician Edgar Lansbury, an upper-middle-class family in Regents Park, central London; her paternal grandfather was the British Labour Party leader George Lansbury. To escape the Blitz, in 1940 she moved to the United States with her mother and two brothers, and studied acting in New York City. Proceeding to Hollywood in 1942, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and obtained her first film roles, in Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), earning her two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe Award. She appeared in eleven further films for MGM, mostly in supporting roles, and after her contract ended in 1952 she began supplementing her cinematic work with theatrical appearances. Although largely seen as a B-list star during this period, her appearance in the film The Manchurian Candidate (1962) received widespread acclaim and is cited as being one of her finest performances. Moving into musical theatre, Lansbury finally gained stardom for playing the leading role in the Broadway musical Mame (1966), which earned her a range of awards.
Amid difficulties in her personal life, Lansbury moved from California to County Cork, Ireland in 1970, and continued with a variety of theatrical and cinematic appearances throughout that decade. These included leading roles in the stage musicals Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, and The King and I, as well as in the hit Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). Moving into television, she achieved worldwide fame as fictional writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the American whodunit series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for twelve seasons from 1984 until 1996, becoming one of the longest-running and most popular detective drama series in television history. Through Corymore Productions, a company that she co-owned with her husband Peter Shaw, Lansbury assumed ownership of the series and was its executive producer for the final four seasons. She also moved into voice work, thereby contributing to animated films such as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) and 20th Century Fox’s Anastasia. Since then, she has toured in a variety of international theatrical productions and continued to make occasional film appearances.
Lansbury has received an Honorary Oscar and has won five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and an Olivier Award. She has also been nominated for numerous other industry awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, and various Primetime Emmy Awards on eighteen occasions. In 2014, Lansbury was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. She has been the subject of three biographies.