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Disney Legend Dame Angela Lansbury Passes at 96

Dame Angela Lansbury

Disney Legend and actress Dame Angela Lansbury has passed away at age 96. According to a statement from her family, she died early this morning in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles.

Her Beginnings

She was born Angela Brigid Lansbury on October 16, 1925, in London, the daughter of actor Moyna Macgill and timber executive Edgar Lansbury.

At the outbreak of World War II, Lansbury’s mother took her and her two younger brothers to Canada in the summer of 1940. From there, they made their way to New York City, where she enrolled in the Feagin School of Dramatic Arts.

In her teens, the family moved to Los Angeles, and Lansbury signed a seven-year deal with MGM at only 17.

Lansbury received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her very first film role at age 19, acting opposite Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman in George Cukor’s “Gaslight” (1944).

angela lansbury -gaslight

She received another Oscar nomination for her third movie, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1945), and scored her third and final Oscar nomination for portraying Laurence Harvey’s manipulative mother in the Cold War classic “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962). She did finally get an honorary Oscar in 2013.

In 1966, Lansbury made the transition to theater, and Broadway just loved her.

A 1966 production of “Mame” resulted in the first of her four Tonys for Best Actress in a Musical. Her other three were for 1969’s “Dear World,” a 1974 revival of “Gypsy,” and the original 1979 production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.”

She also won the Best Featured Actress in a Play for 2009’s Noël Coward farce “Blithe Spirit,” and an Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2022.

Mrs Potts - Beauty and the Beast

Her Disney Career

Lansbury made her musical comedy motion picture debut in 1971, mesmerizing audiences as the delightful apprentice witch, Eglantine Price, in Disney’s fantasy film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

Twenty years later, she returned to Disney for the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast.” She played Mrs. Potts, a role for which she is beloved, and she also sang the Academy Award-winning title song of the film.

She later voiced Mrs. Potts in Disney’s 1997 direct-to-video sequel “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas,” as well as the video game “Kingdom Hearts II” in 2006.

Angela later served as a segment host for the Studio’s millennial animated classic “Fantasia 2000,” introducing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

Her final Disney role was as The Balloon Lady in 2016’s “Mary Poppins Returns.

She was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1995.

The Balloon Lady in 2016's "Mary Poppins Returns."

Other Career Highlights

While she is best known to Disney fans as Mrs. Potts, Angela Lansbury also was known as mystery writer and amateur crime fighter Jessica Fletcher on the hit series “Murder, She Wrote,” which ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996.

In addition to her Tonys, Lansbury is the recipient of six Golden Globes and eighteen Primetime Emmy® nominations. She was also inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 1996.

She is the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, thereby giving her the title of Dame Angela Lansbury.