Angela Lansbury, star of 'Murder, She Wrote' fame, dead at 96

Ben Flanagan
al.com (TNS)

Angela Lansbury, the accomplished actress best known for films like “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Beauty and the Beast” and the television series “Murder, She Wrote,” has died.

She was 96.

Her family announced she died on Tuesday, per NBC News. “The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 AM today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” the statement said.

Born in England, Lansbury’s acting career began on stage in Canada during the early 1940s before she appeared in the 1944 film “Gaslight,” alongside Ingrid Bergman. She would then star as Edwina Brown in the 1944 film “National Velvet.” Other films included “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress.

FILE - Angela Lansbury appears during the press day for "Blithe Spirit" at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Dec.16, 2014. The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced Monday that the legendary actor will receive a 2022 special Tony for lifetime achievement in the theater, making it her sixth. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP, File)

Lansbury would find regular work in major studio films during the next few decades like “The Harvey Girls,” “The Hoodlum Saint,” “Till the Clouds Roll By,” “The Court Jester” and “Please Murder Me.”

One of Lansbury’s most famous film roles came in John Frankenheimer’s 1962 Cold War thriller “The Manchurian Candidate,” also starring Frank Sinatra. In 1971, she starred as Eglantine Price in the Disney film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

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In 1991, Lansbury voiced Mrs. Potts in the Disney blockbuster animated film “Beauty and the Beast,” which earned an Oscar nomination for best picture. She sang the title song, which won the Academy Award for best original song as well as Golden Globe and Grammy awards.

On television, Lansbury’s signature role came as Jessica Fletcher, a writer and sleuth on the mystery series “Murder, She Wrote,” which ran on CBS for 12 seasons until 1996. She earned 12 Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a drama series throughout the show’s run, but never won. She also earned nominations for roles on “The Blackwater Lightship” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/Trial by Jury.”

Lansbury earned three Oscar nominations, all for best supporting actress, in the films “Gaslight,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” She received an honorary Oscar in 2013.

A highly decorated stage actress, Lansbury earned Tony Award wins for performances in “Mame,” “Dear World,” “Gypsy,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Blithe Spirit,” as well as a lifetime achievement award.

Some of her final film roles include 2005′s “Nanny McPhee,” “2018′s “Mary Poppins Returns” and the upcoming “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”