On the death of the great Hollywood character actress Angela Lansbury.
Actors are not made, they are born,” Angela Lansbury was convinced. But she probably understood this to be something different than the often external criteria used to search for female offspring in Hollywood in the 1940s. She was a natural as a character actress – and unlike most stars, a rather austere beauty.
Her first role as a maid in the classic The House of Lady Alquist earned her an Oscar nomination. Today, the original title of the 1944 film, “Gaslight”, is on everyone’s lips again. “Gaslighting” is understood as the manipulative persuasion of false things – whereby her film character afflicts the victim played by Ingrid Bergman more with her adorable flippantness than with evil intentions. Responsible for this is Charles Boyer as her malevolent husband, with whom Lansbury’s Nancy shamelessly flirts.
She landed that challenging role as a teenager, as did her second Oscar nomination for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Most recently, the 96-year-old was one of the last survivors of this heyday of US studio cinema.
Angela Lansbury began a career with somewhat coarse lower-class figures, which ultimately made the British actress the ideal embodiment of ladylike noblesse in Hollywood. From Miss Marple, who she portrayed in the star-studded 1980 crime thriller Murder in the Looking Glass, to the teapot Mrs. Potts, who she voiced in Disney’s animated film Beauty and the Beast. There she also sang the famous theme song. An earlier Disney production made use of her singing talent: In “The daring witch in her flying bed” – appreciated in Germany above all for its cartoon soccer game – she plays the leading role, a quirky hobby witch who reluctantly takes care of orphans during the war got to. Lansbury is also the perfect cast for this gruff Mrs. Price.
Like Bette Davis
Lansbury, who was also successful on Broadway in musicals such as “Mame” and “Sweeney Todd”, was an extremely versatile actress – and yet she was remembered for a crime series that was not particularly demanding in terms of acting. In the 80s and 90s she played investigative crime writer Jessica Fletcher 264 times in the series “Murder Was Her Hobby”. The series – first known in Germany as “Always when she wrote crime novels” – was also a liberation from earlier role models: “I was just tired of playing sluts on wheels and people’s mothers,” she later summed up with the British title of nobility Lady honored actress. The closest thing that classic Hollywood had to offer to Lansbury and her often harshly dominant female characters was a star she deeply admired: Bette Davis (“neither before nor after her could anyone hold a candle to her”).
In fact, that also applied to Angela Lansbury: She was active into old age, most recently one of the last bridges to old Hollywood. If you only know her from her popular television series, you might be surprised at how present she was on screen: she played Queen Mary in “The Three Musketeers” in 1948, and she can be seen as Semadar in the monumental film “The Ten Commandments”. Angela Lansbury died in Los Angeles on October 11, five days before her 97th birthday.