What You Don't Know About Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury has proven herself to be one of the most talented women of her generation. The actor has starred in films, television, and stage throughout her career. She's earned praise for her roles in the wildly popular television series Murder, She Wrote, as well as for her work in The Manchurian Candidate, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Gaslight, Beauty and the Beast, Little Women, and many more (via IMDb). Lansbury was born in London in 1925. Her mother, Moyna MacGill, was also an actress, and her father was a politician (via Biography). 

Lansbury has captivated audiences for decades, and she's not ready to stop just yet. In 2019, she told KABC-TV that she doesn't consider herself to be a retired actress. "I'm always ready for anything, and I think most actors are. We never stop wanting to get out there and do it, you know?" While Lansbury has played an array of interesting characters on screen and stage, her real life has been just as intriguing.

Angela Lansbury comes from an influential family

While Angela Lansbury is likely the most well-known member of her family, others in her brood have also made their mark on the world. According to TCM, Lansbury's mother Moyna Macgill grabbed attention for her roles in films such as Black Beauty, My Fair Lady, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, before passing away in 1975 at the age of 80. Meanwhile, Lansbury's father, Edgar, came from a wealthy family that worked in the timber industry (via Factinate). He also served as a politician that represented the Labour and communist parties before passing away from stomach cancer in 1935 (via PeoplePill). 

Edgar's first wife, Minnie, as well as his father George, were also prominent figures in the women's suffrage movement. They were both arrested for protesting taxes during what was called the Poplar Rates Rebellion. According to Socialists Review, Minnie died in 1921 during the Spanish Flu epidemic at the age of 32. Meanwhile, Lansbury's twin brothers Bruce and Edgar Jr. also grew up to work in the entertainment business as producers, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Angela Lansbury's controversial first marriage

Angela Lansbury has been married two times. Her first marriage to actor Richard Cromwell was considered a bit controversial as she was only 19 years old when they tied the knot (via Biography). In addition, Cromwell was 15 years older than Lansbury. The couple's marriage didn't last long. Cromwell left his wife just months after walking down the aisle. It was later revealed that Cromwell was gay.

"I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man. I found him such an attractive individual, a very glamorous person — he knew everybody, he was a friend of Joan Crawford's, these people who I was fascinated by as a young actress. And he wanted to marry, he was fascinated with me, but only because of what he had seen on the screen, really," she told Radio Times in 2017.

Despite it all, Lansbury says she has no regrets about her first marriage. "It didn't injure or damage me in any way, because he maintained a friendship with me and my future husband. But it was a shock to me when it ended, I wasn't prepared for that. He simply couldn't continue — he just left. It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman. But I don't regret it, and I'm sorry for the sadness that it caused him down the road... [when] he realized he couldn't fulfil his function."

Angela Lansbury saved her kids from drug addiction

According to Biography, Angela Lansbury met the love of her life, Peter Shaw, not long after her split from Richard Cromwell. Shaw was an English actor and producer. The couple married in 1949 and were married for 54 years before Shaw's death from heart failure in 2003 (via Factinate). The couple shared two children together, son Anthony and daughter Deirdre. They were also granted custody of Shaw's son David from his first marriage. 

The family lived in Malibu while Lansbury was working as an actress. However, when her kids began to develop a drug problem she knew she had to take action. Lansbury and Shaw decided to leave California and relocate their family to Ireland, where she helped to get her kids clean while taking a year off from acting. "It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin. I said to Peter, 'We have to leave.' So we upped sticks and moved the family to a house I found in County Cork ... I refused all work for a year and simply kept house," Lansbury previously said of the situation, per Closer Weekly.

Angela Lansbury was given an honorary Oscar

According to Gold Derby, Angela Lansbury has been nominated for three Academy Awards. Her first Oscar nomination came when she was just 19 years old. The actor was recognized for her work in the film Gaslight. However, she didn't take home the award. She would go on to be nominated two more times in her career without ever winning the coveted Oscar. However, in 2013 she got to accept an honorary Oscar for her over 70 years in the entertainment business (via the Chicago Tribune). "It's very, very special for me," said of earning the lifetime achievement recognition. "It is very unique and wonderful to receive at my time of life though I am still in the running — doing things and acting," Lansbury added. 

In addition to her Oscar nominations, she's also earned 18 Emmy nominations and seven Tony nominations. Lansbury has cleaned up at the Tonys, winning five times for her work in productions such as Dear World and Sweeney Todd. While she was nominated for an Emmy multiple times for her role on Murder, She Wrote, it wasn't until 2017 that she earned her first win for her work in Little Women.

The surprising reason Angela Lansbury took the part in Beauty and the Beast

Although Angela Lansbury may be a well-known actor to many, she became beloved by children around the globe when she opted to voice the role of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. According to Factinate, Lansbury took the role in hopes of delighting her young grandchildren at the time. Lansbury hasn't shied away from revealing how important her family has always been to her. In 2017, she gushed over becoming a great-grandmother, telling Woman & Home that she wants more time with her family during the current stage of her life.

"One of the biggest joys for me right now is my family. I've just become a great-grandma for the first time (it's my grandson Peter's first child) — now that feels pretty wonderful. And of course, I'm doing all the spoiling. If there's one thing I want more time for at this stage of my life, it's them," she revealed. Lansbury has been an inspiration on and off screen, and is clearly one of Hollywood's most beloved actresses.