Friday, 23 October 2009

all the king's women # 12 - angela lansbury

that's right, six time Golden Globe, five time Tony winner, eighteen time Emmy nominee Angela Lansbury actually found time in her seven decades of acclaimed roles to appear in an Elvis movie. and so, she makes her way into this series...

Angela Brigid Lansbury was born in London, England in 1925. when her father, Edgar Landsbury, died of stomach cancer, Angela's mother Moyna became involved with a Scotsman named Forbes, who proved to be a violent and jealous tyrant. just prior to the German bombing campaign of London, Moyna gathered up her children and fled to North America under cover of night, sailing to Montreal and later settling in Hollywood. Angela's mother was an Irish actress and it was through her that Angela landed her very first role -that of a malevolent maid in Gaslight (1944)- for which received an academy award nomination.

Angela went on to have a long and varied career, with roles in film, television and theatre, perhaps the most famous of which being Samson and Delilah (1949), the Manchurian Candidate (1962), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and of course, Murder She Wrote (1984-1996).

it was in 1961 that Lansbury played the role of Elvis' mother in Blue Hawaii, despite being 35 at the time, and a mear 10 years older than Elvis. Lansbury's interplay with veteran actor Roland Winters, who plays her husband, is classic Hollywood comedy at it's best. Angela once recounted a story where she and her husband had dinner with Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis during the casting of the film. she said Elvis was a nice, polite young man who barely said three words during the dinner.

Lansbury married husband Peter Shaw (former boyfriend of Joan Crawford) in 1949, and until his death in 2003, the two enjoyed one of the longest show business marriages in history.

She is the mother of two, stepmother of one, and a grandmother several times over.

there are so many fascinating stories in Angela's life that i couldn't possibly record them all here in this brief entry. stories of scandal (a child involved with the Manson Family, a brief marriage to a bisexual man...) and of acclaim (her accolades go on forever and include being appointed by the Queen of England as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire). Ms. Lansbury remains active in both television and theatre to this day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Angela to be the epitome of cute, quick spoken and energetic.