Her next film appearance was as Edwina Brown, the older sister of Velvet Brown in National Velvet ; the film proved to be a major commercial hit, with Lansbury developing a lifelong friendship with co-star Elizabeth Taylor. Although the film was not a financial success, Lansbury's performance once more drew praise, earning her a Golden Globe Award , and she was again nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, losing to Anne Revere , her co-star in National Velvet. On September 27, , Lansbury married Richard Cromwell , an artist and decorator whose acting career had come to a standstill.
Their marriage was troubled; Cromwell was gay, and had married Lansbury in the unsuccessful hope that it would turn him heterosexual. The marriage ended in less than a year when she filed for divorce on September 11, , but they remained friends until his death. Shaw was an aspiring actor, also signed to MGM, and had recently left a relationship with Joan Crawford. He and Lansbury became a couple, living together before she proposed marriage. The couple were intent on getting married back in Britain , but the Church of England refused to marry two divorcees. Instead, they wed in a Church of Scotland ceremony at St.
Keeping her among their B-list stars, MGM used her less than their similar-aged actresses; biographers Edelman and Kupferberg believed that the majority of these films were "mediocre", doing little to further her career. Cronin 's The Citadel.
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In April , her daughter Deirdre Angela Shaw was born. Returning to cinema as a freelance actress, Lansbury found herself typecast as women older sometimes far older than herself in many films in which she appeared during this period. The play only ran for 15 weeks, although she earned good reviews for her role as "Marcel Cat". She later stated that had she not appeared in the play, her "whole career would have fizzled out. Lansbury played Helen, the boorish, verbally abusive, otherwise absentee mother of Josephine played by Joan Plowright , only four years Lansbury's junior , remarking that she gained "a great deal of satisfaction" from the role.
It was from Lansbury's rented flat on East 97th Street that Plowright and Olivier eloped to be married. After a well-reviewed appearance in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll — for which she had filmed in Sydney, Australia — and a minor role in A Breath of Scandal , she appeared in 's Blue Hawaii as an overbearing mother, whose son was played by Elvis Presley. Her rare sympathetic role as Mavis in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs drew critical acclaim, as did her performances as sinister characters in All Fall Down , as a manipulative, destructive mother,  and the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate as the scheming ideologue Mrs.
In the latter, she was cast for the role by John Frankenheimer based on her performance in All Fall Down. Lansbury was only three years older than actor Laurence Harvey who played her son in the film. An experimental work, it opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in April , but was critically panned and closed after nine performances.
Lansbury had played the role of crooked mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper, and although she loved Sondheim's score she faced personal differences with Laurents and was glad when the show closed. The director's first choice for the role had been Rosalind Russell , who played Mame in the non-musical film adaptation Auntie Mame , but she had declined.
Lansbury actively sought the role in the hope that it would mark a change in her career.
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When she was chosen, it came as a surprise to theatre critics, who believed that it would go to a better-known actress; Lansbury was forty-one years old, and it was her first starring role. Everything about Mame coincided with every young man's idea of beauty and glory and it was lovely. Reviews of Lansbury's performance were overwhelmingly positive. In this marathon role she has wit, poise, warmth and a very taking coolth.
And it lasts as long as you are on that stage and as long as you keep coming out of that stage door. The stardom achieved through Mame allowed Lansbury to make further appearances on television, such as on Perry Como 's Thanksgiving Special in November The show opened at Broadway's Mark Hellinger Theatre in February , but Lansbury found it a "pretty depressing" experience.
Reviews of her performance were positive, and she was awarded her second Tony Award on the basis of it.
Reviews of the show more generally were critical, however, and it ended after performances. Set in the Deep South , it dealt with issues of racism, with Lansbury as a wealthy alcoholic who seeks sexual encounters with black men. A controversial play, it opened in Boston but received poor reviews, being cancelled before it reached Broadway. She portrayed the mistress of a dying New England millionaire, and although the play's reviews were mixed, Lansbury's acting was widely praised.
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She had initially turned down the role, not wishing to be in the shadow of Ethel Merman , who had portrayed the character in the original Broadway production, but eventually accepted it; when the show started in May , she earned a standing ovation and rave reviews. The show eventually reached Broadway, where it ran until January ; a critical success, it earned Lansbury her third Tony Award. Desiring to move on from musicals, Lansbury decided that she wanted to appear in a production of one of William Shakespeare 's plays.
Directed by Peter Hall , the production ran from December to May , receiving mixed reviews; Lansbury later commented that she "hated" the role, believing it too restrained. Reviews of the production were mixed, although Lansbury was again singled out for praise. After being offered the role, she jumped on the opportunity due to the involvement of Sondheim in the project; she commented that she loved "the extraordinary wit and intelligence of his lyrics.
In , she took on the role of an upper middle class housewife who champions workers' rights in A Little Family Business , a farce set in Baltimore in which her son Anthony also starred. It was critically panned and induced accusations of racism from the Japanese-American community. Although Lansbury was praised, the show was a commercial flop, with Lansbury noting that "I realised that it's not a show of today. It's a period piece. Lansbury hoped to get away from the depiction of the role made famous by Margaret Rutherford , instead returning to Christie's description of the character; in this she created a precursor to her later role of Jessica Fletcher.
She was signed to appear in two sequels as Miss Marple, but these were never made.
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Returning to musical cinema, she starred as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance , a film based on Gilbert and Sullivan 's comic opera of the same name , and while filming it in London sang on a recording of The Beggar's Opera. Happy at Last. In , Lansbury was offered 2 main television roles, one in a sitcom and the other in a detective series. Unable to do both, she chose to do the detective series despite the fact her agents had advised her to accept the sitcom. Lansbury described the character as "an American Miss Marple ".
Fischer , Richard Levinson , and William Link , who had earlier had success with Columbo , and the role of Jessica Fletcher had been first offered to Jean Stapleton , who declined the role, as did Doris Day. Although critical reviews were mixed, it proved highly popular, with the pilot having a Nielsen rating of I hate violence.
Lansbury was defensive about Jessica Fletcher, having creative input over the character's costumes, makeup and hair, and rejecting pressure from network executives to put her in a relationship, believing that the character should remain a strong single female. Kupferberg described the series as "a television landmark" in the U. By , one third of viewers were under age As the show went on, Lansbury assumed a larger role behind the scenes. The move was an attempt to attract younger viewers and was encouraged by Lansbury.
Lansbury was angry at the move, believing that it ignored the show's core audience. Throughout the run of Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury had continued making appearances in other television films, miniseries and cinema. Potts in the Disney animation Beauty and the Beast , an appearance that she considered to be a gift to her 3 grandchildren. Following the end of Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury returned to the theatre. Although cast in the lead role in the Kander and Ebb musical The Visit , she withdrew before it opened due to her husband's deteriorating health.
Popper's Penguins , opposite Jim Carrey. She's completely off-the-wall but utterly secure in her own convictions. On June 2, , it was officially announced that Lansbury would return to Broadway in the —18 season in a revival of Enid Bagnold 's play The Chalk Garden. The play was produced by Scott Rudin at a theatre to-be-announced. Filming began at Shepperton Studios in February , and the film was released in December Lansbury describes herself as "an amalgam of British, Irish and American" although throughout her life she has spoken with an English accent.
It is what the British call reserved,"  adding that she was "as concerned, as sensitive, and as sympathetic as anyone might want in a friend. Lansbury has been married twice, first to the actor Richard Cromwell , when she was 19 and Cromwell was Cromwell and Lansbury eloped and were married in a small civil ceremony on September 27, The marriage ended in divorce in , but they remained friends until his death in Not many people can say that.
They had two children of their own, Anthony Peter b. While Lansbury repeatedly stated that she wanted to put her children before her career, she admitted that she often had to leave them in California for long periods when she was working elsewhere. In the latter part of the s, Anthony and Deirdre became involved in the growing counterculture movement and started using recreational drugs.
Deirdre developed an acquaintance with the Manson family , while Anthony became addicted to cocaine and heroin, giving it up in As a young actress, Lansbury was a self-professed homebody,  commenting that "I love the world of housekeeping. Scott Fitzgerald as her favorite author,  and cited Roseanne and Seinfeld as being among her favorite television shows. A interviewer for The New York Times described her as "one of the few actors it makes sense to call beloved," noting that a article in People magazine awarded her a perfect score on its "lovability index.
She has been recognized for her achievements in Britain on multiple occasions. It's a lovely thing to be given that nod of approval by your own country and I really cherish it. Lansbury has never won an Emmy Award despite 18 nominations 17 of them Primetime Emmy Awards for which she was nominated over a year period.
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As of , she held the record for the most Emmy losses by a performer. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. British-American actress and singer. Regent's Park , London , England . Actress singer songwriter producer writer. Richard Cromwell m. Peter Shaw m. That's where I got my sense of comedy and whimsy. As for the English half—that's my reserved side But put me onstage, and the Irish comes out. The combination makes a good mix for acting. But my husband recognised the signals in me which said 'I've been doing enough gardening, I've cooked enough good dinners, I've sat around the house and mooned about what more interior decoration I can get my fingers into.
My husband is a very sensitive person to my moods and he recognised the fact that I had to get on with something. Mame came along out of the blue just at this time. Now isn't that a miracle? Nobody there did.