In his book "Balancing Act: The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury," author Martin Gottfried argues there's not much to tell about the veteran actress that would interest tabloids or their readers.
Her public life—from her nomination for a supporting actress Oscar for "Gaslight" when she was 17 to her Broadway triumph in "Mame" in her 40s to TV stardom in "Murder, She Wrote"—is the one that matters.
After a brief first marriage to actor Richard Cromwell (who was gay and trying to convince himself otherwise), Lansbury settled into an enduring union with Peter Shaw, who was also British, also reticent and a success in his own right as an agent and studio executive. They bought houses, had children, were productive and happy.
Long stuck in movie character roles—as older, often petulant women, like Laurence Harvey's mother in "The Manchurian Candidate"—she gained the confidence to become a leading lady only on Broadway. Not a trained dancer or a naturally powerful singer, she came to excel at both. On stage in "Sweeney Todd," she reached her pinnacle as a character actress; then, as Jessica Fletcher in "Murder, She Wrote," she won vast audiences by playing herself, as true stars do.
Points of interest
|1944||Best Supporting Actress||Gaslight||Nomination|
|1945||Best Supporting Actress||The Picture of Dorian Gray||Nomination|
|1962||Best Supporting Actress||The Manchurian Candidate||Nomination|