Angela Lansbury Biography

Angela Lansbury is an Oscar-nominated actress, who has been equally successful on stage, in films and on television. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts related to his life.

Angela Lansbury
Quick Facts

Birthday: October 16, 1925

Nationality: British

Famous: Actresses British Women

Age: 94 Years, 94 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Libra

Also Known As: Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury

Born in: London, United Kingdom

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Richard Cromwell (m. 1945; div. 1946) Peter Shaw

father: Edgar Lansbury

mother: Moyna Macgill

siblings: Bruce Lansbury (brother) Edgar Lansbury

children: Anthony Shaw, Deidre Angela Shaw

City: London, England

Continue Reading Below

Angela Lansbury is an Oscar-nominated actress, who has been equally successful on stage, in films and on television. She is a British-American actress with Irish roots. Moving to the United States in 1940 to escape the German bombarding of Britain during the Second World War, she supported her family by doing petty jobs before being cast in major roles in films and on stage. Even before turning twenty, she received two 'Academy Award' nominations for her performance in 'Gaslight' and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', becoming the youngest actor to do so. She failed to receive an Emmy Award despite being nominated for 12 years straight, but has won six 'Golden Globe' awards and five 'Tony Awards'. She has charmed the audience with her performance in films like 'The Manchurian Candidate', 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' and 'Death on the Nile'. She took critics by surprise with her portrayal of Mame Dennis in the musical 'Mame'. She is most recognized for playing the lead in the detective series 'Murder, She Wrote'. She has recently returned to stage and portrayed a number of critically acclaimed roles in plays like 'Deuce' and 'Blithe Spirit'.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Continue Reading Below
Angela Lansbury
Childhood & Early Life
  • Angela Brigid Lansbury was born on October 16, 1925, in Regent's Park, Central London, to actress Moyna Macgill and timber merchant Edgar Lansbury. Her father became a politician, following her grandfather George Lansbury, who was the leader of the British Labour Party and an anti-war activist. She was devastated after her father died from stomach cancer when she was nine.
  • She attended South Hampstead High School from 1934 to 1939, but was largely self-educated, learning from books, theatre and cinema.
  • In 1940, she began taking acting classes at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art in Kensington, West London.
  • After the death of her grandfather in 1940, her mother moved to United States to escape the Blitz. In the US, she gained a scholarship from the American Theatre Wing and started studying at the Feagin School of Drama and Radio, from where she graduated in 1942.
  • Back in Britain, she had appeared onstage for the first time in a school production of Maxwell Anderson's 'Mary of Scotland'. In the US, she initially appeared in performances of William Congreve's 'The Way of the World' and Oscar Wilde's 'Lady Windermere's Fan'.
    Continue Reading Below
  • Angela Lansbury started her career in 1942, at the age of 16, as a nightclub act at the Samovar Club, Montreal. She pretended to be 19 years old and earned $60 a week singing Noël Coward songs.
  • She soon met John van Druten, one of the screenplay writers of the film version of 'Gaslight', at a party hosted by her mother. He recommended her for the role of Nancy Oliver, a conniving cockney maid, in the 1944 movie. She charmed the critics as well as the audience with her debut film role and earned an Academy Award nomination for 'Best Supporting Actress'.
  • She hired an agent and signed a seven-year deal with MGM. In 1944, she acted alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the commercially successful film 'National Velvet'. The next year, she starred in the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. The film did not do well commercially, but her performance earned her a Golden Globe award and her second Oscar nomination.
  • Throughout the next decade, she appeared in a number of MGM productions, including 'The Harvey Girls' (1946), 'State of the Union' (1948), and 'The Three Musketeers' (1948). She was often cast in evil roles, sometimes playing characters much older than her, which led her to end her contract with MGM and move back to stage productions.
  • She debuted on Broadway in 1957, playing Marcel Cat in the play 'Hotel Paradiso'. She received critical acclaim for her role and went on to feature in another Broadway production in 1960, 'A Taste of Honey'.
  • Following a couple of well-received roles in movies like 'The Dark at the Top of the Stairs' (1960) and 'All Fall Down' (1962), she was cast in the 1963 movie 'The Manchurian Candidate'. She earned her third Academy Award nomination for her role of a scheming mother in the film.
  • In 1966, she got her first starring role on stage as Mame Dennis in the musical 'Mame'. She surprised the critics with her song and dance routines, and received overwhelmingly positive reviews, winning her first 'Tony Award'.
    Continue Reading Below
  • She continued to appear in films in the next few years, but started to receive major roles in the 1970s, playing a countess in 'Something for Everyone'. In 1971, she was cast as the witch Miss Eglantine Price in the partially animated Disney movie 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks'. After a long gap, she played Salome Otterbourne in 'Death on the Nile' (1978), a British mystery film based on Agatha Christie's novel.
  • In 1984, she chose to appear in the detective television series 'Murder, She Wrote', despite her agents advising otherwise. Her portrayal of the protagonist, Jessica Fletcher, became one of her most remembered roles, which she would play for the next 12 years.
  • Even after the series ended in 1996, she continued to play Jessica Fletcher in a number of telefilms based on the same storyline. She later appeared in another TV series, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and played an important role in the 2005 movie 'Nanny McPhee'.
Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Major Works
  • Angela Lansbury's major film roles include 'Gaslight', 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', and 'The Manchurian Candidate'. Her portrayal of the witch Miss Eglantine Price in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' is one of her most popular roles.
  • She became a household name after she started to appear on the television series 'Murder, She Wrote'. The series was so popular that she eventually started to produce the show, which ran for 12 consecutive seasons.
Awards & Achievements
  • Angela Lansbury has received three 'Academy Award' nominations for 'Gaslight', 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', and 'The Manchurian Candidate'. She has also received fifteen 'Golden Globe' nominations throughout her career, winning six of them.
  • For her stage appearances, she has received five 'Tony Awards'. She has been nominated for 'Emmy Award' for twelve years continuously, for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in the television series 'Murder, She Wrote', even though she failed to win the award.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • At the age of 19, Angela Lansbury eloped with actor Richard Cromwell and married soon after in 1945. However, the marriage ended in divorce within a year. It has been reported that Cromwell was gay, which Lansbury was unaware of at the time of their marriage.
  • In 1949, she married actor Peter Shaw and lived together for over five decades till his death in 2003. They had two children, Anthony and Deirdre, both of whom later became part of the anti-establishment movement and started using recreational drugs. Anthony later became a television director, while Deirdre opened a restaurant.
  • Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw, both of whom were originally from England, wished to get married back in Britain. However, as both of them were divorcees, the Church of England refused to marry them.

1. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

  (Thriller, Drama)

2. Gaslight (1944)

  (Thriller, Mystery, Film-Noir, Drama, Crime)

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

  (Horror, Fantasy, Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Romance)

4. The Court Jester (1955)

  (Comedy, Family, Musical, Adventure)

5. The Long, Hot Summer (1958)


6. National Velvet (1944)

  (Sport, Family, Drama)

7. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960)


8. State of the Union (1948)

  (Comedy, Drama)


Golden Globe Awards
1992 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Murder, She Wrote (1984)
1990 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Murder, She Wrote (1984)
1987 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Murder, She Wrote (1984)
1985 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Murder, She Wrote (1984)
1963 Best Supporting Actress The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
1946 Best Supporting Actress The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
People's Choice Awards
1985 Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Program Winner

See the events in life of Angela Lansbury in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Angela Lansbury Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- February 15, 2017

People Also Viewed

Emilia Clarke
(American, British)
Naomi Scott
Cara Delevingne
Lily Collins

Karen Gillan
Millie Bobby Brown
(British, Spanish)
Emma Watson