92-Year-Old Angela Lansbury Reveals How She Dealt With The Death Of Her Father At The Age Of Nine

Date March 20, 2018

Singer and actress, Dame Angela Lansbury's career have spun seven decades. Born to a Belfast-born mother and a British father, she grew up in London. In 1944, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Gaslight.

Though her film work was prolific, she's best known for her role in Murder, She Wrote, the popular detective drama which ran for 12 years. Angela won three Golden Globes for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the series. But all through her life, she has had to deal with the pain of losing her father when she was very young.

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Angela Lansbury's father, Edgar Lansbury, died from the terrible disease, stomach cancer.

Her father was the wealthy English timber merchant and politician Edgar Lansbury, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and former mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar.

He became a politician, preceding her grandfather George Lansbury, who was the leader of the British Labour Party and an anti-war activist. She was devastated when her father died from stomach cancer.


He died when she was nine, and she was heartbroken.

When Lansbury was nine, her father died from stomach cancer; she retreated into playing characters as a coping mechanism. In 2014, Lansbury described this event as:

The defining moment of my life. Nothing before or since has affected me so deeply.

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Facing financial difficulty, her mother became engaged to a Scottish colonel, Leckie Forbes, and moved into his house in Hampstead. She considered herself mostly self-educated, learning from books, theatre, and cinema.

Her life changed after her father's death.

She became a self-professed "complete movie maniac", visiting the cinema regularly and imagining herself as specific characters. Lansbury’s first spark of interest in acting came at the age of nine after her father’s death, as performing became an outlet for her grief.

To help them both cope, her mother, Irish actress Moyna MacGill, traveled around doing stage work and ultimately secured Angela her first job in the entertainment industry: Her very own nightclub act at the Samovar Club in Montreal where her mother was performing in Tonight at 8:30. Lansbury was 16 at the time but told promoters she was 19 so she could play.

In the end, Angela has overcome her troubles in life through her passion, and it's a life lesson for us all.

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