It seems that one more star has passed into legend with the death of Angela Lansbury after 96 years of stardom. Rest in peace, Mrs. Potts. We fans, Disney and non-Disney alike, shall miss you.

Angela Lansbury: Life

Angela Lansbury photo by Everett from 1950.
Lansbury from 72 years ago doesn’t actually look all that different from recent photos, aside from the obvious signs of age.

Angela Lansbury (also known by her full title of Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury) was an Irish-British and American actress and singer born to an upper middle class family in the district of St Pancras, London on October 16, 1925. Her mother, Moyna Macgill, was a famous Irish actress of the period who regularly appeared on stage in the West End, and also starred in several films like Jane Eyre (1943) and Les Misérables (1952). Her father, Edgar Lansbury, was a wealthy English timber merchant and politician, being a member of the Communist Part of Great Britain and former mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar.

Angela Lansbury lost her father at the age of 9 due to stomach cancer, which resulted in her retreating into playing characters as a coping mechanism. Lansbury was a self-professed “complete movie maniac”, regularly visiting movie theaters and imagining herself in the role of her favorite characters. Which became the catalyst for her later career.

Angela Lansbury married twice. Her first marriage was to American actor Richard Cromwell in 1945. They divorced shortly afterwards in 1946, but they remained friends until Cromwell’s death from liver cancer in 1960. Lansbury then went on to marry fellow English actor and producer Peter Shaw in 1949. This marriage was much more lasting, with the couple remaining married for the next 54 years right up until Shaw’s death in 2003.

Angela Lansbury: Notable Filmography

"Gaslight" screenshot showing a young Angela Lansbury as Nancy Oliver.
The frown and lighting will tell you she’s playing a villain this time.

Angela Lansbury’s first film debut was in Gaslight (1944) at the age of 17. The role resulted in her going from a complete unknown to movie star in just 4 days. The film itself received mixed reception, but everyone agreed that Lansbury’s performance was praise-worthy.

The origin of the term “gaslighting”, no less.

From there, the career of Angela Lansbury took off. She appeared in numerous live action films over the course of the years. Her most famous live action role was in the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Later in life though, Lansbury also went into voicework. Her most famous roles as a voice actress were in The Last Unicorn (1982), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and Anastasia (1997). In fact, Disney fans will readily recognize her name as the voice behind Mrs. Potts, and even singing the title song “Beauty and the Beast”, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

Lansbury aptly demonstrating her skill as a singer here.

Angela Lansbury: Death

Angela Lansbury in 2013. Source: Wikipedia.
Rest in peace. We will miss you.

Angela Lansbury passed away on 1:30 AM (PDT) on October 11, 2022 at her Los Angeles home. According to a statement by her children, they announced that “their mother died peacefully in her sleep…just five days shy of her 97th birthday”. Lansbury’s life ended as one of the most highly regarded and decorated actresses in history. Both in live action and in animated roles. She was beloved by fans, Disney and non-Disney alike. Rest in peace, Lansbury. She shall be missed.