Angela Lansbury, icon and Murder She Wrote star, tragically dies, aged 96

Angela Lansbury wears red as she smiles for the camera

Angela Lansbury – the iconic talent who inspired generations of fans through her work in film, TV and theatre – has died. She was 96. 

Lansbury died in her sleep at her Los Angeles home on Tuesday (11 October), her family said in a statement. Her family said the news was especially tragic as Lansbury’s passing comes “just five days shy of her 97th birthday”. 

The London-born actor will leave behind a legacy as one of the most decorated and beloved performers on stage, on TV and in film. 

Lansbury received five Tony Awards, six Golden Globes, an Olivier Award, an honorary Oscar and a lifetime achievement award from BAFTA throughout her storied career. In 2014, she was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II.

Angela Lansbury was best known for her stunning work on CBS’s Murder, She Wrote in which she played Jessica Fletcher, a successful mystery writer turned amateur sleuth. The show ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 and was consistently among the most-watched shows on TV at the time. 

Lansbury was born in London on 16 October 1925, and her family moved to New York City at the beginning of World War II to avoid the bombings by Germany during the London Blitz. She studied acting from a young age and moved to Los Angeles to break into the film industry. 

Her first role was in the 1944 classic Gaslight, and she earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role in the film. 

Angela Lansbury wears a white outfit as she smiles for the camera

Angela Lansbury won a lengthy list of awards and garnered widespread critical acclaim across her decades-long career. (Getty)

She earned her second nomination just a year later for best supporting actress for her role in 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

Lansbury performed with some of the biggest names of the 40s and 50s film era in Hollywood including Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and Paul Newman.

Beyond the silver screen, Angela Lansbury had profound success in the theatre world. She garnered widespread acclaim for her signature performance as Nellie Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. She won a Tony for the best musical actress for the role that year. 

Lansbury also won three Tony Awards for her stellar work in Mame in 1996, Dear World in 1969 and Gypsy in 1975. Her most recent win came in 2009 for best featured actress in a play for her work in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

Angela Lansbury was universally beloved for her leading role in the 1971 Disney hit musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks and later as the iconic singing teapot, Mrs Potts, in 1991’s animated film Beauty and the Beast