Angela Lansbury born - HISTORY
Year
1925

Angela Lansbury born

On this day in 1925, the stage and screen actress Angela Lansbury, who starred in the TV series Murder, She Wrote and earned Oscar nominations for her performances in such films as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Manchurian Candidate, is born in London, England. In Hollywood, a place that prizes youth (particularly for its female performers), Lansbury became one of a rare breed of actresses who managed to carve out a lengthy, successful career.

After fleeing England with her family during World War II, Lansbury eventually ended up in Los Angeles. As a teenager, she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her first feature film, the 1944 romantic-thriller Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer and Joseph Cotten. In Gaslight, which was directed by George Cukor and received a total of seven Oscar nominations, Lansbury played a maid who becomes involved in a man’s plot to drive his wife insane. Lansbury’s next film, 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, based on the Oscar Wilde novella of the same name, earned her a second Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Sibyl Vane, a woman who kills herself after she is betrayed by the movie’s title character, a man obsessed with staying young. In 1962, she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the spy thriller The Manchurian Candidate and earned her third Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as the manipulative mother of a Korean War hero brainwashed into becoming a Communist assassin.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Lansbury starred on Broadway in a string of musicals and earned the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in Mame, Dear World, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd. She also continued to work steadily in film, appearing in Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Death on the Nile (1978) and The Mirror Crack’d (1980),in which she portrayed Agatha Christie’s tweedy amateur sleuth, Miss Marple. From 1984 to 1996, Lansbury played the role for which she is perhaps best known—the crime-solving mystery writer Jessica Fletcher on the TV series Murder, She Wrote. Lansbury received 12 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as the friendly amateur detective from the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine, who constantly stumbled across dead bodies. After the show ended, she reprised her role in four Murder, She Wrote made-for-TV movies.

In 1991, Lansbury memorably voiced the character of Miss Potts, the singing teapot, in Disney’s blockbuster Academy Award-winning animated feature Beauty and the Beast.

Lansbury also voiced the character of the Empress Dowager Marie in 1997’s Anastasia. In 2005, Lansbury appeared in Nanny McPhee, starring Emma Thompson, and in 2007, she returned to Broadway for Deuce, which earned her yet another Tony Award nomination.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon is killed in crash

On this day in 2011, 33-year-old Dan Wheldon, a popular, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, dies following a fiery, 15-car crash during the IndyCar World Championship at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. Wheldon’s death marked the first on-track IndyCar fatality since 2006, ...read more

Nazi war criminals executed

At Nuremberg, Germany, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials are executed by hanging for their crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and war crimes during World War II.Two weeks earlier, the 10 were found guilty by the International War Crimes Tribunal and sentenced to death ...read more

Marie-Antoinette is beheaded

Nine months after the execution of her husband, the former King Louis XVI of France, Marie-Antoinette follows him to the guillotine.The daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, she married Louis in 1770 to strengthen the French-Austrian alliance. At a time of economic ...read more

The Long March

The embattled Chinese Communists break through Nationalist enemy lines and begin an epic flight from their encircled headquarters in southwest China. Known as Ch’ang Cheng—the “Long March”—the retreat lasted 368 days and covered 6,000 miles, nearly twice the distance from New ...read more

Bombing halt discussed

In a series of meetings with U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu insists that North Vietnam assent to three conditions prior to a bombing halt. He said the North Vietnamese had to (1) agree to respect the neutrality of the Demilitarized ...read more

Lincoln speaks out against slavery

On this day in 1854, an obscure lawyer and Congressional hopeful from the state of Illinois named Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech regarding the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which Congress had passed five months earlier. In his speech, the future president denounced the act and outlined ...read more

Oscar Wilde’s birthday

Oscar Wilde is born on this day in Dublin, Ireland. He grew up in Ireland and went to England to attend Oxford, where he graduated with honors in 1878. A popular society figure known for his wit and flamboyant style, he published his own book of poems in 1881. He spent a year ...read more

Stampede kills 84 at World Cup match

A stampede of soccer fans before a World Cup qualifying match in Guatemala City kills 84 people and seriously injures more than 100 on this day in 1996.The Guatemala national team was set to face off against Costa Rica on a Wednesday night in Guatemala City. Approximately 60,000 ...read more

Twenty-three diners massacred at Texas restaurant

George Jo Hennard drives his truck through a window in Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas, and then opens fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The incident was one of the deadliest ...read more

China joins A-bomb club

The People’s Republic of China joins the rank of nations with atomic bomb capability, after a successful nuclear test on this day in 1964. China is the fifth member of this exclusive club, joining the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.U.S. officials were ...read more

John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry

Abolitionist John Brown leads a small group on a raid against a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery. Born in Connecticut in 1800 and raised in Ohio, Brown came from a ...read more

Chevrolet introduces the El Camino

On October 16, 1958, Chevrolet begins to sell a car-truck hybrid that it calls the El Camino. Inspired by the Ford Ranchero, which had already been on the market for two years, the El Camino was a combination sedan-pickup truck built on the Impala body, with the same “cat’s eye” ...read more