Los Angeles, Oct 11 (EFE).- British actress Angela Lansbury, the star of the beloved television series “Murder, She Wrote” and films such as “Gaslight” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” died Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was 96.
The actress’s death on Tuesday morning came just five days shy of her 97th birthday, her family said in a statement distributed by People magazine.
Lansbury, who became a familiar face on television for playing crime-solving novelist Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote,” was nominated three times for an Oscar for her roles in “Gaslight,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “The Manchurian Candidate,” and she received an honorary Academy Award in 2013.
Born in London in 1925, she fled the British Isles with her mother at the start of World War Two and settled in New York, where after studying acting she landed several roles on Broadway, winning her first Tony Award in 1996 for the musical “Mame.” Later, she went on to win four more Tonys, including an honorary award in 2022.
Before achieving success on Broadway, she worked for MGM Studios in Hollywood, obtaining parts in 11 films, although always in supporting roles and ultimately her contract with the studio was not renewed.
Regarding her stint in the world’s film mecca, the actress later recalled that her contract with MGM had imposed numerous limitations on her and she never was able to decide for herself at the time whether or not to accept film roles: that decision was always made by the studio.
During the 1970s, Lansbury returned to the British Isles and obtained theater roles until, after playing Salome Otterbourne in the film “Death on the Nile,” CBS signed her in 1984 to star in “Murder, She Wrote.”
The series, which ran for 12 consecutive seasons, was an international success and raised Lansbury’s fame and popularity, with viewers loving her in her role as author and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher, a character perfectly combining a love of social customs with the adrenaline generated by the crimes she investigated – and solved.
In that role, Lansbury continued to accumulate honors being nominated for 13 Emmy Awards in all in all for “Murder, She Wrote,” although she lost every time, a situation that she said, given that she was an international success everywhere but in Hollywood, “pissed me off! … I was upset, really. It rankled me. I can’t say it didn’t.”
Even today, reruns of the episodes of the series are regularly shown on television channels all over the world.
She said in 1998 during an interview at the Emmys that the series creators and actors had found their audience and they were faithful to the end.
The respect the US public felt for the British actress resulted in her being awarded the Kennedy Center Honors Medal of the Arts.
Lansbury also gained further renown by providing the voice for the sensitive Mrs. Potts in the animated 1991 version of “Beauty and the Beast,” and she also had roles in Disney’s “Anastasia” (1997) and “Mary Poppins Returns” (2018).
During her long acting career she had roles in some 30 films, 14 theater productions and two television series.
In her personal life, she was married to actor Peter Shaw from 1949 until he died in 2003, and the couple had three children.
Although she made her home in California, she remained linked to the United Kingdom and in 2014 Queen Elizabeth II named her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
She said at the time that she was very proud to be honored by her birth country, adding that meeting the queen under those circumstances was a special thrill.