Murder, She Wrote and Bednobs and Broomsticks star Angela Lansbury dies aged 96

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Angela Lansbury’s mother was Belfast-born actress Moyna Macgill and her father was the wealthy English timber merchant and politician Edgar Lansbury.

Dame Angela Lansbury, star of Murder, She Wrote and Beauty and the Beast has died at the age of 96.

Dame Angela died in her sleep just five days before her 97th birthday, her family confirmed her death in a statement: "The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles."

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The three time-Oscar nominee had a career that spanned eight decades appearing in theatre, TV and film productions. The actress played some of the industry favourite characters such as Mrs Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and of course, sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.

Lansbury gained worldwide acclaim and millions of fans from her role as Jessica Fletcher which she took up in 1984 and played for almost 20 years - her final outing as Fletcher came in 2003. The show made her one of the wealthiest women in the US at the time, with a fortune estimated at $100m.

Angela Lansbury, best-known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, has died at the age of 96. (Credit: Getty Images)Angela Lansbury, best-known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, has died at the age of 96. (Credit: Getty Images)
Angela Lansbury, best-known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, has died at the age of 96. (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Lansbury was given an honorary Oscar in 2013 at the age of 88 for lifetime achievement in the business.

Lansbury was born in London but later moved to New York where she attended the Feagin School of Dramatic Art. Her first Hollywood role came when she played a maid in 1944’s Gaslight, for which she earned her first Oscar nomination. She was also nominated for roles as Sibyl in The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1945 and Laurence Harvey’s manipulative mother in The Manchurian Candidate in 1962.

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She is survived by three children and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

How have her peers reacted to her death?

People across the world have taken to social media to give tribute to the legend, sharing their sadness at her passing as well as remembering her incredible career.

Viola Davis tweeted a heartfelt tribute: “Thought you would live forever. What an absolutely beautiful legacy you’ve left. You have influenced generations of actors to aspire to excellence. Rest well!!! May flights of angels…”

Actor Josh Gad wrote on Twitter: "It is rare that one person can touch multiple generations, creating a breadth of work that defines decade after decade. Angela Lansbury was that artist."

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Disney Animation tweeted: “We join the world in mourning Disney Legend Angela Lansbury, who brought such incredible warmth and personality to Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Her unforgettable performance will forever be a classic.”

The former CEO and Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger said: “Disney’s beloved Mrs. Potts, Angela Lansbury…a consummate professional, a talented actress, and a lovely person. Rest In Peace.”

George Takei tweeted: “Angela Lansbury, who graced the stage for decades winning five Tony awards and brought the sleuthing Jessica Fletcher into our living rooms for a dozen years, has passed. A tale old as time, our beloved Mrs. Potts will sing lullabies to us now from the stars. Rest, great soul.”

Will & Grace star Sean Hayes said: “We lost another amazing woman and talent - Dame Angela Lansbury. Your talent and career were an inspiration to the world. Rest in peace, dearest Angela.”

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