Angela Lansbury. The Detective writer who wasn’t

Angela Lansbury (1925-2022)

Angela Lansbury, (1925-2022) born in London, to an affluent family became one the best known film and TV actors in the world in a glittering career that spanned eight decades. She moved to America to escape the blitz. Encouraged by her actor mother, she studied acting in New York and then moved to Hollywood.

Her first two films were Gaslight and National Velvet.

Gaslight brought into common use the term gaslighting, referring to the deliberate and systematic efforts to drive a victim into a state of mental delusion and lack of self worth.

Despite the success of her first films she remained a B-list figure at her studio MGM. It took a move to musical theatre in the broadway hit Mame to raise her profile, over 20 years after the start of her career.

Another twenty years saw her remaining in the public eye though a range of roles including the stage musical The King and I. 

A successful and entrepreneurial business woman she took control over the TV Show Murder she wrote that was to establish her fame. The title comes from Murder, She Said, a film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novel 4:50 from Paddington.

In it she plays the role of Jessica Fletcher, a detective and thriller writer. Reruns continue to be screened around the world. It has broken numerous records for its longevity. Retaining her English citizenship she was appointed Dame Angela Bridgid Lansbury, in 2014.

Three years ago, at the age of ninety three, she played a nostalgic cameo role in Mary Poppins returns.

In her later years, she moved from California to County Cork.

But it it is her role in Murder she wrote which will define her rich contributions to film and stage, as the detective writer whose character solved countless crimes.