"Something Had To Be Done": Angela Lansbury Shares How She Dealt With Her Children's Drug Habits In The Sixties

Date December 25, 2018

Angela Lansbury is a legendary actress. She worked a lot and has appeared in television, theatre and film. Her film work was amazing, but she's best known for her role in Murder, She Wrote. This popular detective drama ran for 12 years. Lansbury has won an Honorary Oscar and has received five Tony Awards. 

Her astonishing career has spun seven decades. Born to an Irish descendant mother and a British father, the actress spent her childhood in London. As a mom, she had problems with her own children after they got into bad habits, and this affected her work and personal life. Drug use was a real problem for her kids. 

Angela Lansbury has two children, Deirdre Ann and Anthony Peter, from her second marriage.


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The actress was married two times. She was first married to Richard Cromwell, in 1945. He was an actor. The couple had a small civil ceremony. At the time, Angela was only 19 and Richard 35.

The marriage ended in divorce very soon. One day Angela came back home to find a note from her husband. "Sorry," it said, "I can’t go on." However, It is known that Richard and Angela were friends until his death in 1960.


In 1949, she married second husband and love of her life. His name was Peter Shaw. The couple welcomed two children of their own, a son and a daughter - Anthony Peter and Deirdre Ann.

Her struggle with family problems

Angela Lansbury repeatedly said that she wanted to put her children before her career, but the life was more difficult than she thought. She had to leave them for long periods of time when she was working.


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Everything changed in the 60s when Angela and Peter found out Anthony and Deidre had fallen in with a wrong crowd. The teens become heavily involved with drugs. Angela said: 

It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin. There were factions up in the hills above Malibu that were dedicated to deadly pursuits. It pains me to say it, but at one stage, Deidre was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson.


To save her children, she did only what any mother would do: leave town. She recalled: 

Something had to be done. I said to Peter, 'We have to leave'. So we upped sticks and moved the family to a house I found in County Cork. I was drawn to Ireland because it was the birthplace of my mother, and it was also somewhere my children wouldn't be exposed to any more bad influences. I still have a house there, which I try and visit at least once a year. So I refused all work for a year and simply kept house. I bought Elizabeth David's books and learned how to cook properly. It was a wonderful time in my life.

Present life of Angela's children

Anthony is retired from his job as a TV director. He worked on 68 episodes of Murder, She Wrote. The man is married and has two sons and a daughter. 

Deidre also changed. She left the drug world and also has a family of her own. She is married to a chef, and the couple run an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.