Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury DBE (16 October 1925 – 11 October 2022) was an Irish-British and American actress and singer working in film, stage, and television. Her career, one of the longest in the entertainment industry, spanned eight decades, much of it in the United States; her work also received much international attention. She was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema at the time of her death.
- I'm eternally grateful for the Irish side of me. That's where I got my sense of comedy and whimsy. As for the English half — that's my reserved side ... But put me onstage, and the Irish comes out. The combination makes a good mix for acting.
- As quoted in Angela Lansbury : A Biography (1987) by Margaret Wander Bonanno, p. 3
- I was a wife and a mother, and I was completely fulfilled. But my husband recognised the signals in me which said "I've been doing enough gardening, I've cooked enough good dinners, I've sat around the house and mooned about what more interior decoration I can get my fingers into." It's a curious thing with actors and actresses, but suddenly the alarm goes off. My husband is a very sensitive person to my moods and he recognised the fact that I had to get on with something. Mame came along out of the blue just at this time. Now isn't that a miracle?
- As quoted in Angela Lansbury : A Biography (1987) by Margaret Wander Bonanno, p. 78
- I'd like to be remembered as somebody who entertained — who took one out of oneself — for a few minutes, a few hours — transported you into a different venue — gave you relief, gave you entertainment, and gave you joy and laughter, and tears — all those things. I would like to be remembered as somebody who was — capable of doing that.
NPR interview (27 May 2022) edit
- What I experienced at drama school was the fun and the excitement of being given a part. And when you're a student and you are given a role, something is assigned to you. And you're going to do a little scene at the end of the term. That's absolutely the most thrilling thing in the world. So you're doing it, in other words.
- My first role was to play Audrey in As You Like It, which is a very comic part. And Touchstone and Audrey have a very funny scene together. And during that scene, I suddenly got this - the feel and the smell of being able to make an effect by the way I played the role, the way I comported myself. All of the physical aspects of acting suddenly came to me. And I got a laugh, you know, the first time I did it. Well, this was a tremendous kind of boost to my self-esteem.
- I went very fast in drama school and ended up working in one of the senior plays. Even just in my first year, I was assigned a role of a lady in waiting in Mary Of Scotland. So they obviously knew that this young person had something. She had a talent. And I sort of felt that, although I didn't get big-headed about it, but I felt it — gave me tremendous confidence.
- The only, let's say, the comfort I took was — and even then, I kind of leant on it — was the fact that I knew that I was an actress and that I could play different roles because I was continuously being offered extraordinary stretches, shall we say, as an actress, to play parts which were way out of my range. However, I would do it. And I managed to just skin by by the skin of my teeth, you know, playing roles where I was much older than I actually was, playing Walter Pidgeon's wife in "If Winter Comes," you know?
- I was never going to get to play the girl next door. And I was never going to be groomed to be a glamorous movie star. And I sort of realized that. So I had to make my — make peace with myself on that score.
- Any actress will tell you that evil roles to play are the best. You can go to town, you know? And in that instance, I think that woman had so many layers and so many personas in a sense, she was riveting and so interesting to play. I relish the — having had that opportunity to play that role because I don't think there are many written like that. I consider that she was the Lear among, you know, movie women.
- When I first started Murder, She Wrote, I thought it would last maybe two, three years, you know, or maybe a year if we were lucky. But when it extended and I realized the deep inroads it had made into family life in America, I couldn't stop. So I was sort of trapped — happily trapped — for 12 years with it. And I'm still playing Jessica from time to time and loving it. I wouldn't want to let go of that lady. … She was the sort of woman I like, and therefore, I enjoyed playing her. And being Jessica was second nature to me because she embodied all of the qualities that I like about women. She was valiant and liberal and athletic and exciting and sexy and all kinds of good stuff that women are of a certain age and are not given credit for. So to be able to play that gave me tremendous sort of pleasure, and I'm so glad I've done it.