NEW YORK (AP) — Angela Lansbury, the scene-stealing British actor who kicked up her heels in the Broadway musicals “Mame” and “Gypsy” and solved endless murders as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” has died. She was 96.
Lansbury died Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles, according to a statement from her three children. She died five days shy of her 97th birthday.
Hers was a 75-year career that included beloved musicals on stage, iron-fisted matriarchs on film, singing the theme song for the animated movie “Beauty and the Beast,” being made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II and the creation of one of television’s best loved characters.
Lansbury won five Tony Awards for her Broadway performances and a lifetime achievement award. She earned Academy Award nominations as supporting actress for two of her first three films, “Gaslight” (1945) and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1946), and was nominated again in 1962 for “The Manchurian Candidate” and her deadly portrayal of a Communist agent and the title character’s mother.
Her mature demeanor prompted producers to cast her much older than her actual age. In 1948, when she was 23, her hair was streaked with gray so she could play a fortyish newspaper publisher with a yen for Spencer Tracy in “State of the Union.”