~Angela Lansbury, Very Young~

 
~Angela Lansbury, Very Young~
Born in Poplar, London, England,[1] Lansbury was the daughter of Belfast-born actress Moyna MacGill and Edgar Lansbury, a politician and prominent businessman, and the granddaughter of the former Labour Party leader George Lansbury. She is the older sister of producer Edgar Lansbury and a cousin of the late English animator and puppeteer Oliver Postgate (another grandchild of George Lansbury). Her cousin, the academic Coral Lansbury, was the mother of Australian federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. Her earliest theatrical influences were the teenage coloratura Deanna Durbin, screen star Irene Dunne, and Lansbury's mother, who encouraged her daughter's ambition by taking her to plays at the Old Vic and removing her from South Hampstead High School for Girls in order to enroll her in the Ritman School of Dancing and later the Webber-Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art (later the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art). Following her father's death from stomach cancer, her mother became involved with a Scotsman named Leckie Forbes, and the two merged their families under one roof in Hampstead. A former colonel with the British Army in India, Forbes proved to be a jealous and suspicious tyrant who ruled the household with an iron hand. Just prior to the German bombing campaign of London, Lansbury's mother was presented with the opportunity to take her children to North America, and under cover of dark of night they fled from their unhappy home and sailed for Montreal, from there they headed to New York City. When her mother settled in Hollywood following a fund-raising Canadian tour of a Noel Coward play, Lansbury (and later her brothers) joined her there. Lansbury worked at the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. At one of the frequent parties her mother hosted for British émigré performers in their Laurel Canyon home, she met would-be actor Michael Dyne, who arranged for her to meet Mel Ballerino, the casting director for the upcoming film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ballerino was casting Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, as well, and he offered her the role of the impertinent and slightly malevolent maid Nancy. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her 1944 film debut, and the following year garnered another nomination for her portrayal of Sibyl Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray. [edit] Career [edit] Theatre Angela Lansbury in Deuce, New York City, 2007On Broadway, Lansbury received good reviews from her first musical outing, the short-lived 1964 Stephen Sondheim musical Anyone Can Whistle, which co-starred Lee Remick. Two years later, she was offered what proved to be the biggest triumph of her theatrical career, the title role in Mame, Jerry Herman's musical adaptation of the novel and subsequent film Auntie Mame, which had starred Rosalind Russell. Opening at the Winter Garden Theater on 24 May 1966, Mame ran for 1508 performances. Lansbury's portrayal, opposite Bea Arthur as Vera Charles, earned her the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She and Arthur became life-long friends. In addition, Lansbury's version of one of the play's songs, "We Need A Little Christmas", became the definitive version, and has received substantial radio air-play around Christmas time every year since its release. Lansbury won additional Tony Awards for Dear World (1969), the first Broadway revival of Gypsy (1974), and her English music hall turn as meat pie entrepreneur Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (1979). In a television interview with Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies aired in August 2006, Lansbury stated that, theatrically, she feels she would "most like to be remembered for this role". Signing autographs after performing in Blithe Spirit, 2009.In 1971, Lansbury accepted the title role in the Jule Styne – Bob Merrill musical Prettybelle. After a difficult rehearsal period, the show opened to brutal reviews in Boston, where it closed within a week. In 1982, a recording of the show was released by Varese Sarabande which included most of the original cast and Lansbury's 11 o'clock number "When I'm Drunk, I'm Beautiful" along with "You Never Looked Better", a song removed early in the run. She had been announced for the lead role in the Kander-Ebb musical The Visit, to open on Broadway in 2001, but withdrew from the show before it opened because of her husband's health.[2] Lansbury returned to the Broadway stage for the first time in more than 25 years in Deuce, a play by Terrence McNally, co-starring Marian Seldes. The play opened at the Music Box Theatre in May 2007 in a limited run of eighteen weeks. Lansbury received a Tony Award nomination in the category of Leading Actress in a Play for her role in this production. In October 2008, she was cast as Madame Arcati in the revival of Blithe Spirit, which opened at the Shubert Theatre in March 2009. The New York Times praised her performance, but described the show as "uneven".[3] Both Deuce and Blithe Spirit were directed by Michael Blakemore. Lansbury won numerous awards for her performance, including the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (her fifth win).[4] Lansbury's popularity from and association with Mame on Broadway in the '60s had her very much in demand everywhere in the media. Ever the humanitarian, she used her fame as an opportunity to benefit others wherever possible. For example, when appearing as a mystery guest on the popular Sunday night CBS-TV show, What's My Line?, she made an impassioned plea for viewers to contribute to the 1966 Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraising drive, chaired by Jerry Lewis. While Lansbury has won every Tony Award for which she has been nominated (with the exception of her nomination for Deuce in 2007), she has not been a recipent of an Academy Award or an Emmy Award. She has been thrice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and holds the record for the most primetime Emmy nominations (twelve) as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. However, she has received several other prominent awards, including the People's Choice and Golden Globe. Lansbury is tied with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep for most Golden Globe Award wins with six each. In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom appointed her a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[7] She was named a Disney Legend in 1995. She received a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, Kennedy Center Honors in 2000, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Personal life In 1945, Lansbury married American actor Richard Cromwell when he was 35 and she was 19. Unbeknownst to her, Cromwell was bisexual, and the marriage dissolved after a year, but the two remained friends. In 1949, Lansbury married British-born actor and businessman Peter Shaw, who was a former boyfriend of Joan Crawford. Shaw was instrumental in guiding and managing Lansbury's career. Until his death in January 2003, they enjoyed one of the longest show-business marriages on record. Lansbury is the mother of two, stepmother of one, and a grandmother several times over. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Lansbury revealed a firestorm that destroyed the family's Malibu home in September 1970 was a blessing in disguise, as it prompted a move to a rural area of County Cork in Ireland, where her children were separated from the hard drugs with which they had been experimenting. Her son Anthony Shaw, after a brief fling with acting, became producer/director of Murder, She Wrote and presently is a television executive and director. Her only daughter Deirdre and son-in-law, a chef, are restaurateurs in West Los Angeles. Lansbury was related to the late Sir Peter Ustinov by her half-sister Isolde's marriage to the British actor (they divorced in 1946). The two former in-laws appeared together professionally just once, in 1978's Death on the Nile. Lansbury is related by marriage to actress Ally Sheedy, wife of her nephew David Lansbury. Both her brothers, twins Edgar and Bruce, are successful theater producers (Edgar Lansbury was instrumental in bringing Godspell to Broadway, and Bruce Lansbury was also a television producer, notably for shows like Mission: Impossible). Lansbury was a long-time resident of Brentwood, California, and supported various philanthropic groups in Southern California. In 2006, Lansbury moved to New York City, purchasing a condominium at a reported cost of $2 million. The following year she returned to Broadway in Deuce.
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