American-British actress Angela Lansbury, known for her role as a tireless detective in the series “Arabesque“, died at the age of 96, her family announced Tuesday to American media. The actress “died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles (…), just five days before her 97th birthday “, explained his relatives.
If even today the role of detective Jessica Fletcher sticks to her skin, it is because the actress interpreted it, during 12 seasons, or 264 episodes, from 1984 to 1996, on the CBS channel. Angela Lansbury immortalized this character of a woman of character, intuitive and insightful, ex-English teacher, who became a novelist and detective in her spare time. His talent for deduction and his tenacious side of everything have led to many comparisons with Colombo, is right. The two characters indeed have the same duo of creators: Richard Levinson and William Link (The Fugitive, Mannix), aided by a third thief, Peter S. Fisher. Added to this is a little retro side that is revealed from the credits on the piano. The American series Arabesque earned him four of his six Golden Globes.
Over the seasons, the viewer follows this dynamic and determined widow who puts her curiosity and her talents at the service of her fellow citizens in her ordinary small town in the eastern United States: Cabot Cove, Maine. (In reality, the series was shot in Mendocino, a village in California) A bit like Miss Marple whose character is very freely inspired. The title of the series Murder she wrote is directly inspired by one of Agatha Christie’s novels featuring the character of Miss Marple: Murder she said (The 4:50 p.m. train).
Detective and globetrotter
Jessica Fletcher conducts her investigations during her family travels (with a nephew or niece) or as a novelist invited to various literary fairs across the United States or the world. The opportunity to explore various sociological or professional backgrounds and to test the extent of human nature. A character who, under ordinary airs, imposes himself by his humor, the strength of his spirit and his tenacity, thus thwarting many sexist clichés.
become very popular, Arabesque has summoned many former Hollywood glories such as Cyd Charisse, Mel Ferrer, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Graves, Robert Vaughn, but also future stars of the small and big screens such as George Clooney, Courteney Cox, Marcia Cross, Julianna Margulies, or Bryan Cranston. The series even offered a crossover episode with the most famous mustachioed of television: Magnum. Jessica Fletcher, on vacation in Hawaii, is asked by Higgins to try to exonerate Magnum.
The series earned the actress 4 Golden Globes and even had four extensions in the form of TV movies between 1997 and 2003.
On the boards of Broadway
The success of the series Arabesque (Murder, she wrote) could make us forget that Angela Lansbury was first a great lady of Broadway where she shone in multiple roles from Gypsy to Sweeney Todd (the first musical thriller in Broadway history) through Anna and the King, Hamlet Where Mom, the greatest success of a career that has seen him sing, declaim and dance alongside the greatest. The premiere of Mom took place on May 24, 1966 and it will remain on display for nearly 4 years, the actress ensuring 1508 performances. His success on the boards has practically never been denied, we know of only one commercial failure: Anyone can whistle in 1964.
This success was manifested from his very first role in the cinema. In 1944, his first film haunting with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, earned him an Oscar nomination. A year later, she was awarded a second Oscar nomination for her role as Sybil Vane in The Picture of Dorian Graydirected by Albert Lewin in 1945. There follows a long list of very diverse roles through 60 films.
Among these, no one can forget the energetic Mrs. Samovar (Mrs Potts in VO), friendly cartoon teapot Beauty and the Beast of which Angela Lansbury performs the title track (Tale as Old as Time) which will receive the Oscar for best original song in 1992. We saw it again in Mary Poppins Returns by Robert Marshall, in 2018, and in the mini-series The four daughters of Doctor March with Emily Watson. She has also narrated numerous cartoons and documentaries for Disney.
Her notoriety is also due to her exceptional longevity: Angela Lansbury won her 5th Tony Award in 2009, at the age of 84, for her role alongside Rupert Everett in the comedy The mind has fun by Noel Coward.
Born on October 16, 1925 in London to a British father (Edgar) and an Irish mother (Moyna McGill), Angela Lansbury emigrated to the United States during the war (1942) and then settled down with her husband and children. in Ireland, before regularly staying in Hollywood and New York for work. She married British actor and producer Peter Shaw for a second time in 1949. He died in 2003 of a heart attack.
Angela Lansbury was elevated to the rank of Commander in the Order of the British Empire in 1994, then to the title of Dame Commander in 2014 by Queen Elizabeth II. The actress had also received an honorary Oscar for her career the same year.
“A private ceremony for the family will be held on a date yet to be determined,” his family added in the statement.