Angela Lansbury’s Best Performances, Ranked | Pretty Reel

Angela Lansbury carried a powerful dignity with her whenever she graced the stage or the screen, even from the very beginning. Lansbury’s first-ever film performance (1944’s Gaslight) earned him an Academy Award nomination at age 19; as if to prove that was no fluke, the actress earned another Oscar nomination (and won a Golden Globe) the following year for The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The awards barely end there for Lansbury, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe 10 years in a row (from 15 nominations) and a Primetime Emmy Award 12 years in a row (from 18 nominations), and has won five Tony Awards. Thankfully, she received her much-deserved Tony Lifetime Achievement Award this year before passing away on October 11 at the age of 96, just five days before her 97th birthday. On Lansbury’s 95th birthday, she showed her usual humility, kindness and warmth by saying:

What a lucky life I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, doing what I love most – performing and entertaining large audiences all over the world. I feel so lucky to be able to celebrate my 95th birthday with my dearest family here in California. I am blessed to be able to stay safe and my heart goes out to everyone who is hurting or who has lost loved ones. »

NBCUniversal Television Distribution

That same kind feeling and gratitude was displayed for most of his life. Lansbury meant many things to many people. As well as a lauded stage queen and on-screen performer, she was a true Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a gay icon, a loving wife of 53 (until the death of her husband Peter Shaw), a discreet but intimate nun. woman, a social activist and a devoted mother to her children despite the very difficult times in their lives.

She left the world with not only a large and loving family, with three grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also an incredible filmography that will forever be a gift to film and television fans. These are just a few of Angela Lansbury’s most beloved performances in film and television.

9/9 The mirror cracked

Columbia Warner

Lansbury leads a truly all-star cast (Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Geraldine Chaplin, a very young Pierce Brosnan) in the otherwise mediocre 1980 film The Mirror Crack’d. Although the film was not critically acclaimed and only made $11 million off its $6 million budget, it was critically important to Lansbury’s career as he found her (at unbeknownst to Lansbury) essentially auditioning for the role that would land her on the television sets of millions and millions a few years later in Murder, She Wrote.

Lansbury does a good job of inhabiting the classic Agatha Christie character, Miss Marple, in this film that has an woefully weak script and poor direction. Her Miss Marple (and the recent portrayal of another Christie character in Death On the Nile) sealed the deal for her casting in Murder, She Wrote, and provided a great experience as a charming, witty detective. before his iconic role in this Show.

8/9 A life at stake

Filmmakers Liberation OrganizationMonarch Film Corporation

This woefully underrated 50s film noir was financed and distributed outside of the traditional Hollywood studio system at the time, allowing Lansbury to sink his teeth into a much meatier role than the smaller supporting characters. that she has always been chosen as in the previous decade with MGM. Lansbury is wonderful in Life on the Line as the scheming femme fatale Doris Hillman, who begins an affair with a man caught in the middle of her real estate scam. She’s sexy, dangerous and dominant in this dark indie flick.

7/9 Mrs. Santa Claus


As a Christian and a gentle, kind woman, Lansbury has participated in several Christmas movies and projects (Mickey’s Magical Christmas, Buttons: A Christmas Tale, The Grinch, The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story), but her made-for-The tv movie Mrs. Santa Claus is probably the biggest and definitely the weirdest. A lavish musical period piece with Emmy nominations for all of her meticulous visuals (hair and makeup, art direction, choreography, costume design), Mrs. Santa Claus featured a 70-year-old Lansbury delivering a feisty, feisty, and superb performance. .

Lansbury plays the titular wife of Santa Claus in the early 20th century. Fed up with her husband’s preoccupation bloated with the Christmas hustle and bustle, Mrs. Claus takes the sleigh out alone but lands in New York. Stranded, she is taken in by a Jewish immigrant family and begins to spread joy in her community, eventually participating in the women’s suffrage movement and becoming an activist to end child labor. Again, it’s a bizarre story that unites the spirit of Christmas with secular humanism, political action and women’s rights, and Lansbury sells it all. In addition, she sings at the top of her lungs in the superb soundtrack of this film by the composer of Hello, Dolly!

6/9 The Company of Wolves

ITC Entertainment

Neil Jordan’s masterful, surreal, Freudian take on the Little Miss Riding Hood story, The Company of Wolves is a beautifully gothic horror fantasy in which Lansbury shines brightest as a grandmother in the woods. With her wise demeanor and deliberate phrasing, she becomes the guiding line of the film with the stories she tells her grandmother. Her somber warnings combined with maternal affection are eerily memorable, ensuring Lansbury would become the favorite grandmother everyone wished they had.

5/9 Death on the Nile

EMI Distributors

Death on the Nile is the strong and equally star-studded sequel to 1974’s smash hit Murder on the Orient Express. This 1978 take on the Agatha Christie classic stars Peter Ustinov as famed detective Hercule Poirot alongside Maggie Smith, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, David Niven, Jack Warden, Jane Birkin and George Kennedy. Although she has a much smaller supporting role than her Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack’d, Lansbury plays the character of Christie Salome Otterbourne and proved for the first time that she fit right into the atmosphere of a smart, light-hearted murder mystery.

4/9 Bed knobs and brooms

Buena Vista cast

One of Disney’s underrated films of the 70s, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a delightful and often surreal hybridization of live action and animation based on the 1940s children’s books The Magic Bedknob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons and Bonfires and Broomsticks by Mary Norton. With Oscar-winning visual effects, the film feels like a much lighter, brighter, and sweeter version of Forbidden Games or Pan’s Labyrinth, those films that use elaborate fantasy to sublimate the terrors children experience in times of war. .

Bedknobs and Broomsticks follows a group of children in 1940 when England is in the midst of World War II, who are sent to stay at Pepperinge Eye under the care of Miss Price (a matriarchal, tall Lansbury in a pitch-perfect performance), who turns to be a witch in training. In what has become a cult classic counterpoint to the sweeter, more normal Mary Poppins, the film follows their adventurous escapades that include magical beds, underwater dancing contests, Nazis and more. It’s a wacky, wild ride, and Lansbury is a real joy.

3/9 The Picture of Dorian Gray

Loew’s Inc.

In this great adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s timeless story, a man cheats death and never ages as long as his painted portrait ages in its place. It’s a seemingly simple concept, but Wilde imbued it with great character, deep philosophy, and dark melancholy, attributes that writer/director Albert Lewin perfectly exploited in his magnificent film (although the censors have seriously damaged the end).

Lansbury plays Sibyl Vane, the long-suffering fiancée of the title character in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Barely 20 at the time, the actress proved her greatness (winning the only acting awards and nominations for the film), bringing heartbreaking pathos to the character. Cinematographer Harry Stradling, who won an Oscar for his work here, perfectly captures the emotion of Lansbury’s features.

2/9 Manchu Candidate

United Artists

Arguably the darkest and most vicious role she’s ever played (a role highly incongruous with her public image), Lansbury is chillingly stunning as the truly evil character Eleanor Iselin in the original 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate. . John Frankenheimer’s classic film is one of the great political thrillers of all time, following Korean War veterans who are brainwashed to act on behalf of the Soviet Union and the China.

Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh star in The Manchurian Candidate, a perfectly made film that can still send shivers down the spine of viewers 60 years after its release. It’s a true testament to Lansbury’s skills that when this film was remade in 2004, even the great Meryl Streep (who played the same role) couldn’t rival or compare to Lansbury’s mesmerizing, award-nominated performance. Oscars.

1/9 Murder, she wrote

NBCUniversal Television Distribution

While this article has hopefully proven just how diverse and phenomenal Lansbury’s 80-year-old career was, it’s evident that the actress was best known and most acclaimed internationally for her character though. -loved Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. After gradually mastering the murder mystery genre, Lansbury received the scripts for this classic TV series when Jean Stapleton (who the role was written for) dropped out of the project – no offense to Stapleton, but thank goodness, because the rest is up to the story. .

The show followed mystery author Jessica Fletcher as she became an amateur detective in the small Maine town of Cabot Cove (which apparently has more crimes than anywhere else in the world). The incongruity of a sweet older woman outwitting criminals and the police with her creative imagination, wit and fluency in English was simply delightful and captivated audiences around the world. Moving, Lansbury’s son directed 68 episodes of the series.

What seems like a cute little premise actually became a cultural phenomenon due to Lansbury’s clever writing and immaculate performances, peaking at 40 million weekly viewers and, even in its 11th season, still pulling in 25 million per week. week. Murder, She Wrote was among the ten most-watched shows on TV for eight of its seasons, and even when it ended in 1996 it was popular enough to return with four wonderful TV movies over the next eight years, each one attracting more than 10 million live viewers. Angela Lansbury earned her immortality here, and though she left this mortal body at the age of 96, she will always be a part of our culture.

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Angela Lansbury’s Best Performances, Ranked | Pretty Reel