7 Surprising Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Angela Lansbury

Dame Angela Lansbury has entertained audiences for seven decades on stage and screen, including a 12-year stint on Murder, She Wrote. We dug up some lesser-known facts about the star.

At 93, Dame Angela Lansbury is often touted as Britain’s most successful actress. It should come as no surprise, given her seven decades in show business, wowing audiences on stage and screen. She’s shown no signs of slowing down, either—Lansbury is set to play cranky Aunt March in 2018’s Little Women miniseries and filmed a small cameo in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt.

Born on October 16, 1925, in East London, Angela Brigid Lansbury immigrated to the United States with her family during the Second World War. It was during her stay in New York City that she cultivated her natural talent for performing. Unlike the usual rigors most aspiring actors face, Lansbury had a relatively smooth rise to the top, earning an Oscar nomination for her film debut in 1944’s Gaslight.

Although she continued to work steadily in stage and film throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, it was her role as Jessica Fletcher on TV’s Murder, She Wrote that cemented her status as a British acting icon. The series, which aired from 1984 to 1996, earned a rabid following and kept Lansbury in steady employment for more than a decade. It even helped her land the role of Mrs. Potts, the kindly teapot, in the 1994 Oscar-nominated Disney animated musical, Beauty and the Beast.

We look at some lesser-known facts about the life and career of Dame Angela Lansbury.

1. Global citizen
Lansbury holds not one, not two, but three citizenships. Her passports include England (her place of birth), Ireland (her mother’s homeland) and the United States (her adopted country) as her homes.

4. Beginners luck
Lansbury never had to wallow in obscurity: after signing a contract with MGM in 1942, she was immediately put to work, receiving an Oscar nomination for her first feature film, 1944’s Gaslight. Only 17-years-old at the time of filming, Lansbury more than held her own against costars Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. Her work was acknowledged by the Academy with a Best Supporting Actress nod.

6. Emmy, She Lost
She holds the record for most Emmy losses, having received 18 nominations—and zero wins!—in 33 years. However, 12 of those 18 noms came for her portrayal of the beloved Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote, which aired between 1984 and 1996.