Dame Angela Lansbury, star of the American TV crime series “Murder, She Wrote,” has died at the age of 96.
The three-time Oscar nominee’s career spanned eight decades across film, theater and television.
Born in 1925, she was one of the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
Lady Angela died in her sleep five days before her 97th birthday, her family said in a statement.
“The children of Mrs Angela Lansbury are saddened to announce that their mother passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles,” the family said.
Obituary: Angela Lansbury
Mrs Angela was born in London and later moved to New York to attend the Fagin School of Dramatic Art.
In 1942, a Hollywood executive noticed her at a party and made her first role as a maid in the 1944 film Gaslight, based on the 1938 play of the same name. Her portrayal earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress the following year.
The term “gaslighting” originated in a Patrick Hamilton play about a young woman’s husband slowly manipulating her into believing she’s going crazy.
The British star was nominated for two Oscars as Sybil in 1945’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and played Lawrence Harvey’s manipulative mother – with Frank in 1962’s “The Manchurian Candidate” Sinatra relative – received two Oscar nominations.
After moving to Broadway in the 1960s, she won multiple Tony Awards, including one for her role as Nellie Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 musical “Todd the Sweeney.”
She appeared in Disney’s 1971 hit The Handlebars and the Broom, and later in other children’s films, as Mrs. Potts in the animated Beauty and the Beast; and most recently in Mary Poppins’ return.
But it was her role as detective Jessica Fletcher in the TV series “Murder” that earned her millions of fans around the world.
She took up the role in 1984, and continued for 12 years and nine seasons.
The show made her one of the wealthiest women in the US at the time, with a fortune estimated at $100m.
“I worked much harder on a character in the theatre than I do playing Jessica,” Lansbury said in a TV interview in 1985.
“Jessica’s much closer to home for me. She’s an easy-going woman.
“It’s just that I can relate to her,” she added.
Frank Sinatra Enterprises are deeply saddened by the passing of Dame Angela Lansbury who worked closely with Frank Sinatra in ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’ Our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones during this time. 🕊 pic.twitter.com/V62KJ08fJc
— Frank Sinatra (@franksinatra) October 11, 2022
Her later accolades included an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2013 at the age of 88.
During the ceremony, fellow actor Geoffrey Rush praised her as the “living definition of range”.
It followed a lifetime achievement award from Bafta in 2002, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
She was made a Dame in 2014 for services to drama, charitable work and philanthropy.
Tributes after her death praised Hollywood’s “legend.”
Actor Josh Gad tweeted: “It’s rare for a single person to touch generations and create work that defines decade after decade. Angela Lansbury is that artist.”
Actor Harvey Fierstein added that Mrs Angela was “everything”.
Actress Mia Farrow, who starred alongside Lady Angela in the 1978 film “Death on the Nile,” wrote that it was “an honor” to work with her.
Oscar winner Viola Davis wrote that she thought the late star “will live forever.” “What a beautiful legacy you left,” she wrote. “You have influenced generations of actors to strive for excellence.”
Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander tweeted: “The most versatile, talented, graceful, kind, witty, wise, graceful lady I have ever seen left us,” adding: The great contribution of art and the world has always been there.”
Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin wrote: “I can’t tell you how many ladies and lesbians are upset, moved and nostalgic by the passing of the fabulous Lady Angela Lansbury. ”
Many tributes referred to Mrs. Angela’s work in raising awareness and raising funds for AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting TV campaigns and headline fundraisers.
Mrs Angela was married twice, briefly marrying actor Richard Cromwell at the age of 19 and later to British actor and producer Peter Shaw.
They lived together for more than 50 years until his death in 2003.
She is survived by three children and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.