We have had to say goodbye to Angela Lansbury, at 96 years old. Only 5 days separated her from turning 97. And the truth is that a similar number of great characters and works could be rescued from her illustrious career. But in the selection is the taste, do not worry. Lansbury’s filmography in both film and television, as well as the reaction of the entire entertainment industry and her world to her death, reminds us that there are many ways to be a Hollywood star. With her round face and fiery eyes, Lansbury has been showing off her talent in Hollywood since the 1940s. In fact, she debuted with an Oscar nomination. With a physique far removed from that of the leading stars, Lansbury managed to carve out a consistent career. Something more than difficult at the moment, especially for women.
Of course, that her appearance did not marry that of Hollywood divas but her talent was not far from anyone’s had a slingshot effect. In her maturity, when the stars faded from lovers to mothers, Lansbury began to shine, and she did not stop doing so, endowing each of her characters with charm and warmth until her death. Perhaps this is how many viewers remember Angela Lansbury, as a presence that conveyed warmth, honesty and caring, without neglecting her intelligence and daring. And no, we don’t say it just because of ‘A crime has been written’, the successful television series that made her mature in more of a star than the cinema had achieved. The paths of fame are mysterious, what can we do?
Disney is also very much to blame that Angela Lansbury is part of the lives and growth of several generations of viewers, whether from the children of the 70s onwards who saw ‘The Rookie Witch’ to those who saw that famous teapot from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ had more life than the other animated characters. The privilege of every film myth is that, at least, her characters survive her death. Let’s remember the most eternal characters of Angela Lansbury.
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Nancy, from ‘Light that is dying’ (1944)
Angela Lansbury made her film debut in this legendary film by George Cuckor based on the work of Patrick Hamilton. Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman (who won the Oscar) are the ones who shine the most. However, Lansbury left her mark in each scene of Nancy, the maid who sees the horror in which her tormented wife falls.
Sibyl Vane, from ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (1945)
Second Oscar nomination and first Golden Globe for a Lansbury that did not take long to win the gold high school title. This time she succeeded in what is the most legendary adaptation of the legendary novel by Oscar Wilde. Few remember Hurt Hatfield’s Gray, but they do remember Lansbury’s charming Sibyl Vane.
Eleanor Shaw Iselin, from ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ (1962)
For many, this is Lansbury’s best role on the big screen, and it also marked his last Oscar nomination (although he was awarded the honorary in 2013). From a maid or friend she became a mother, and not exactly a good one, if not possessive, toxic and incomprehensible with her traumatized son. John Frankenheimer was crowned with this thriller about the military, the Korean War and the brainwashing that delayed its release by coinciding with the, irony of life, Kennedy’s assassination.
Miss Price, from ‘The Rookie Witch’ (1971)
Unfortunately, Lansbury did not get many opportunities as a leading man in Hollywood. She here she had one, but it flopped at the box office under the shadow of ‘Mary Poppins’. However, over the years and television reruns, it became clear that the adventures of this clueless witch were a classic of family cinema. She shares musical creators, the Sherman Brothers, with the Poppins, but her mix of animation and reality is even better.
Salome Otterbourne, from ‘Death on the Nile’ (1978)
Brannagh and Gal Gadot may have replaced their 2022 version of the Agatha Christie adaptation in our minds. However, for many generations, Lansbury was one of the faces of this puzzle of crime and mystery in Egypt, alongside names like Peter Ustinov, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, David Niven and Jane Birkin.
Jessica Fletcher, from ‘Murder She Wrote’ (1984-1996)
And the star came. She had to wait for her old age and for television, but the starring role that the cinema did not know how to give her came on the small screen. With the long shadow, again, of Agatha Christie, Lansbury gave life for 12 seasons and 264 chapters to this widow and retired English teacher who sets out not only to write mystery novels, but also to solve them.
Miss Potts, from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991)
If you have seen the video that heads this article, we can say little more about Lansbury as Miss Potts. The adorable teapot from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ marked many childhoods with its charm and its adorable motherly warmth. Lansbury, of course, was behind it and we have no doubt that, in addition to giving her unmissable voice, she also marked the character’s iconic design.
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The unforgettable characters of Angela Lansbury