Angela Brigid Lansbury, CBE (born 16 October 1925) is an English actress and singer in theatre, television, and motion pictures. Her career has spanned eight decades and earned an unsurpassed number of performance Tony Awards (tied with Julie Harris), with five wins. Her first film appearance was in the film Gaslight (1944) as a conniving maid, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Among her other films are The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Anastasia(1997).
She expanded her repertoire to Broadway musicals and television in the 1950s and was particularly successful in Broadway productions ofGypsy, Mame and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Lansbury is perhaps best known to modern audiences for her twelve-year run starring as writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher on the American television series Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996). Her recent roles include Lady Adelaide Stitch in the film Nanny McPhee (2005), Leona Mullen in the 2007 Broadway play Deuce, Madame Arcati in the 2009 Broadway revival of the play Blithe Spirit and Madame Armfeldt in the 2010 Broadway revival of the musical A Little Night Music.
Lansbury has won five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, and has been nominated for numerous other industry awards, including theAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, and nineteen Emmy Awards.
In 1945, Lansbury married American actor Richard Cromwell when he was 35 and she was 19. Cromwell was bisexual, and the marriage dissolved after a year, but the two reportedly remained friends. In 1949, Lansbury married British-born actor and businessman Peter Shaw. She had two children, Anthony Peter Shaw (born 1952) and Deidre Angela Shaw (born 1953). Shaw was instrumental in guiding and managing Lansbury's career. They were married for 54 years until his death in January 2003.
Lansbury became a naturalized US citizen in 1951
She is the mother of two, stepmother of one and a grandmother. A fire destroyed the family's Malibu home in September 1970, prompting a move to a rural area of County Cork in Ireland. Her daughter and son-in-law, a chef, are restaurateurs in West Los Angeles. Her son Anthony Shaw, after a brief fling with acting, became producer/director of Murder, She Wrote and currently is a television executive and director.
Lansbury's half-sister Isolde was married to Peter Ustinov for some years, but they divorced in 1946. Lansbury and Ustinov appeared together once in Death on the Nile (1978). She is related by marriage to actress Ally Sheedy, ex-wife of her nephew David Lansbury. Both her brothers, twins Bruce and Edgar, are successful theatre producers: Edgar was instrumental in bringing Godspell to Broadway, and Bruce Lansbury was a television producer for such shows as The Wild Wild West and Mission: Impossible and Murder, She Wrote.
Lansbury was a long-time resident of Brentwood, a neighbourhood of Los Angeles, California, where she supported various philanthropies. She hadknee-replacement surgery on July 14, 2005. She had two hip replacement surgeries. In 2006, she moved to New York City, purchasing a condominium at a reported cost of $2 million. The following year, she returned to Broadway in Deuce, opposite Marian Seldes. Lansbury's papers are housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.