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From sleuth to singing teapot

We head across the Atlantic from the UK/Europe for the location of today’s Great Detective series, but both the award-nominated actor and award-winning composer were originally British. Angela Brigid Lansbury (her mother was an Irish-born theatrical actress) was born in London and started her formal musical and dramatic education in Kensington, West London. The dangers of the coming Blitz took the family to the US in 1940, and Angela continued her acting studies in New York City. Angela secured her first film role as Nancy Oliver in “Gaslight” (and a seven-year contract with MGM) at the age of 17. She had a long and successful Broadway/musical, theatrical and film-acting career, both in the US and the UK, before landing the role of Jessica Fletcher in the “Murder, She Wrote” TV detective series, at the age of 58. You can hear about this from Angela herself here.

This became her most prominent and successful role, continuing from 1984 to 1996, but you may recognise her distinctive voice in the 1991 Disney production “Beauty and the Beast”. Can you remember which role she had?

Lansbury's highest-profile film role in decades was voicing the character of singing teapot Mrs. Potts in Disney's animated fantasy film "Beauty and the Beast". Lansbury performed the film's title song, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

Did you know that Angela Lansbury also took the role of one of our other Great Detectives? She was cast in the role of Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple in the 1980 film "The Mirror Crack'd". Watch the trailer and be tempted to re-visit the original film.

In addition to reading a detailed biography, why not listen to Angela’s story as she described it herself in an interview recorded in 2004?


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