Disney Legend Angela Lansbury Dies at 96

Angela Lansbury has passed away at the age of 96. The actress was born in London, England on October 16, 1925.

“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 AM today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” her family said in a statement.

Lansbury studied acting at the Webber-Douglas School of Dramatic Art until World War II. Her family then left London to escape the Blitz and eventually moved to the United States. She enrolled in the Feagin School of Dramatic Arts in New York. She would get her first professional acting gig at 16 performing in a Montreal cabaret act. Eventually her family relocated to Los Angeles. In 1944, director George Cukor cast Lansbury, now 17, as the Cockney maid in Gaslight. This led to her receiving a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and also an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. A year later she received a second Academy Award nomination for her performance as a music-hall singer in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Angela Lansbury would win her first of five Tony Awards in 1966 as Mame Dennis in the musical Mame. Her performances dazzled Broadway audiences with her interpretation of the title role. In the role she was able to show off her wide range of talents as an actor. In 1971 she made her musical comedy motion picture debut in Bedknobs and Broomsticks as Eglantine Price.

Her Disney career spanned decades as she would return to work with Disney by lending her voice to Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast in 1991. She would lend her voice again to the role in the coming decades for various projects. She also was one of the hosts for Fantasia 2000 as she introduced Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Recently, she also appeared as the Balloon Lady in 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns. In an interview after the release of the film, Lansbury joined Rob Marshall shared about the film and also her career and work with Disney. The interview can be seen here:

Her career had many highlights beyond Disney. From 1984-1996, Lansbury starred in Murder, She Wrote. While on the show she was nominated for 12 Emmys. She did not win any of these, however. Her role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as the ghoulish pie maker Nellie Lovett earned her a Tony and also was one of her most well-known.

In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) honor on Lansbury during a ceremony at Windsor Castle. “It is a very proud day for me to be recognized by the country of my birth, and to meet the queen under these circumstances is a rare and lovely occasion,” shared on the day she was honored.

She is survived by her three children, Anthony, Deirdre and David, along with her three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury. Her husband of 53 years Peter Shaw, passed away before Angela Lansbury. The family shared that a private ceremony will be held for Lansbury at a date that is yet to be determined.