Angela Lansbury solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” has died. She was 96.
Lansbury died Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles, according to a statement from her three children. She died five days before her 97th birthday.
The star had a 75-year career that included beloved musicals on stage, iron-fisted matriarchs on film, singing the theme song for the animated movie “Beauty and the Beast,” being made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II, and the creation of one of television’s best-loved characters.
Lansbury won five Tony Awards for her Broadway performances and a lifetime achievement award. She earned Academy Award nominations as a supporting actress for two of her first three films, “Gaslight” (1945) and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1946), and she was nominated again in 1962 for “The Manchurian Candidate” and her deadly portrayal of a Communist agent and the title character’s mother.
AP News continues:
Her mature demeanor prompted producers to cast her much older than her actual age. In 1948, when she was 23, her hair was streaked with gray so she could play a forty-ish newspaper publisher with a yen for Spencer Tracy in “State of the Union.”
Her stardom came in middle age when she became the hit of the New York theater, winning Tony Awards for “Mame” (1966), “Dear World” (1969), “Gypsy” (1975), and “Sweeney Todd” (1979).
She was back on Broadway and got another Tony nomination in 2007 in Terrence McNally’s “Deuce,” playing a scrappy, brash former tennis star, reflecting with another ex-star as she watches a modern-day match from the stands. In 2009 she collected her fifth Tony award for best-featured actress in a revival of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” and in 2015 won an Olivier Award in the role.
Broadway royalty paid their respects. Audra McDonald tweeted: “She was an icon, a legend, a gem, and about the nicest lady you’d ever want to meet.” Leslie Uggams on Twitter wrote: “Dame Angela was so sweet to me when I made my Broadway debut. She was a key person in welcoming me to the community. She truly lived, lived, lived!”
Playwright Paul Rudnick added: “she provided the most fabulous, irreplaceable joy. She was beloved as a person and an actress and managed to be approachable, glamorous, and heartbreaking. She’ll be missed, celebrated, and adored.”