Friday, October 14, 2022

Smiling person sitting among people (blurred) wearing a black dress and white pearls.

Americans for the Arts mourns the loss of beloved Artists Committee member Dame Angela Lansbury, who passed away in her Los Angeles home on October 11, 2022, at the age of 96. Born in London on October 16, 1925, she graced Broadway stages and Hollywood screens, but was most broadly recognized for her leading role in the long-running television series Murder, She Wrote.  

In 2010, Americans for the Arts honored Lansbury with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Arts Awards. She became a member of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee in 2015.  

“Angela Lansbury was an unstoppable force whose journey was an inspiration for what the arts can mean for a nation or a single life. The vibrancy that she brought to the arts and culture sector left an indelible mark. Americans for the Arts is fortunate to have been associated with Angela, and joins the country in remembering the lasting legacy she leaves behind,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.  

With a powerful and energetic presence on stage, Lansbury won six Tony Awards, the first in 1966 and the last in 2009, at the age of 83. In 1944, she earned her first Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress in the film Gaslight. She was only 18 and it was her very first movie role.

Lansbury made the shift from film to Broadway in 1957, finding shining success as the leading role in Mame in 1966. She continued to volley between the stage and the screen over the years. Stepping back onto the stage, she starred as Mama Rose in a revival of Gypsy (1974) in London and as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (1979). Five years later, Lansbury was cast as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher on the soon-to-be hit CBS series Murder, She Wrote, for which she received 12 successive Emmy nominations. She later shifted back to film for several Murder, She Wrote films and voiced Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast (1991) and then once again back to Broadway.  

In 2013, Lansbury received an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role in inspiring actors and audiences alike by creating memorable characters, and in 2014 she was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II. She took on roles even through 2018 when she appeared in BBC mini-series Little Women and Mary Poppins Returns.  

Americans for the Arts is deeply saddened by her passing and extends its deepest sympathy to her family and all whose lives she touched.

(Photo of Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Angela Lansbury at the 2010 National Arts Awards in New York City by Clint Spaulding.)