Angela Lansbury started her career when she was only 17 years old. The story behind her first casting was one of those right places at the right time moments.
Lansbury’s father, Edgar, died from cancer when she was nine. Her family’s well-being entirely relied on Edgard’s wood veneer company; therefore, things got tough for her mother and siblings when he passed.
In an interview with Daily Mail, Lansbury confessed that nothing has affected or altered her life like her father’s death. The award-winning actress said her performance at school started to decline until she lost complete interest.
However, she was intrigued by acting. Lansbury’s mother, Moyna MacGill, who was also an actress, took the leap of faith and moved her four children to America. The family first landed in New York before moving to Lose Angeles.
Lansbury worked at the Bullock’s department store. During her time there, the actress met Van Druten, one of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) studio’s scriptwriters for the film “Gaslighters.”
Druten saw something in Lansbury and set up a screen test. In only four days, the actress was cast for her first role as the flirtatious maid Nancy.
This character landed Lansbury a contract with MGM and her first Oscar nomination. In her interview with Daily Mail, the actress described this as “a little short of a miracle.”
From there, it was just uphill for the actress; she worked on films such as; “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” and “The Three Musketeers,” by the time she was in her 20s, Lansbury was accustomed to different characters.
She even played as a middle-aged woman despite her young age. At 36, Lansbury played the mother of 26-year-old Elvis Presley in “Blue Hawaii.”
Lansbury started expanding her portfolio by doing theatre. Her first performance was in the comedy musical “Mame.” She played an unstable but loving woman that raised her orphaned nephews.
The performance was a hit, and Lansbury started landing more broadway roles, like the character Mama Rose in “Gypsy.” As well as the thrilling part of Mrs. Lovett, the killer, in “Sweeney Todd.”
Lansbury then ventured into television, where she played one of her most iconic roles, Jessica Fletcher, in “Murder She Wrote.”
The writer of the TV show Jean Stapleton quit after the first season, which had good ratings. Although when asked by People magazine, Lansbury was skeptical about the show and said, “It looks good, but we’ll see if it lasts for the year.”
The show ended up becoming one of the longest-running TV shows in America. It lasted 12 years and aired 264 episodes.
When Lansbury was 19 years old, she married actor-turned-artist Richard Cromwell, but their marriage did not even last a year.
Lansbury said she arrived home one day and found a note that read, “‘Sorry, ‘I can’t go on.’ The actress was shuttered to experience yet another loss and confused about where could have gone wrong.