“We Had The Perfect Relationship”: Angela Lansbury Speaks About Her Long-Lasting Marriage With Peter Shaw
The British actress Angela Lansbury is best known for starring the mystery program Murder, She Wrote (1984). Her role of Jessica Fletcher brought her success and love of millions of people for over 10 years.
In her youth, Lansbury departed for the US when the WWII began. Being still a teenager, she was contracted by MGM, and for her first film Gaslight (1944), Lansbury was nominated for an Academy Award. For her role in The Picture of Dorian Gray, she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
In the video below, Angela Lansbury can be seen opening the 45th Academy Awards in 1973.
Her talents go way beyond acting, as it is proved by the next video. Here, Angela Lansbury joins the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square to give a fabulous performance of the "Beauty and the Beast” song from the 1991 Disney movie with the same name, where she acted as Mrs. Potts.
As amazing as Angela's performances were, her personal life proved to be even more eventful. When she was only 19, she eloped, marrying actor Richard Cromwell, who was 16 years older than her. The marriage ended in divorce just a year later, but Angela got married again to another actor, Peter Shaw.
This time, the union proved to be strong: It lasted for 54 years until Peter’s death in 2003. One wouldn’t call it cloudless, as the couple was faced with both of their children, Anthony and Deidre, struggling with drugs in the 60’s. Angela recalls:
It was a juggling act. Juggling marriage and children and problems with drugs. But all those things contribute to building the person you become and the person they become. It’s a simple question of facing up to certain aspects of family life that have to be dealt with.
Angela never considered being a stay-at-home mom. She says, her giving up her job wouldn’t be good and wouldn’t solve anything. She adds:
I was unable to help my kids so I pulled them out of where they were and put them in a safe place. That was the most I could do at the time, because we didn’t have the help back then, the places where youngsters could go that they have today.
And she found that safe place in County Cork, and Lansbury has considered it home since 1970’s. For her, this place is about "rediscovering her roots."
On the street people say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and I say, ‘Grand, how are you?’ It’s a very easy place to live, and I love Ireland for that reason.
When Peter died, Angela was devastated. At that time, she said:
We had the perfect relationship. Not many people can say that. He was everything to me: We were partners at work, as well as husband and wife and lovers. I don't know how we had such a long marriage, but the simple fact was that we were devoted to one another.
Nowadays, Lansbury speaks of the powerful bond that they shared, saying they “made all the decisions together, helped and supported each other all the time.” Her career was important for her, but her children always came first.
Angela Lansbury and Peter Shaw’s marriage, along with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy's, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's, Bob and Ginny Newhart’s examples, are truly inspiring for new generations of young people getting married nowadays. Maybe, there is no real secret to their long-lasting relationships, and the key is to simply help and support each other.