WCW: Angela Lansbury


Some may know her as the lady from Murder She Wrote on TV, but Angela Lansbury began her career in historical costume movies. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her first role as a sneaky maid in Gaslight and again for her next frock flick The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lansbury has also done a great deal of theater and musical work, winning multiple Tony Awards. As she did more TV roles in the ’80s and ’90s — plus voice work, such as Mrs. Potts in the original Beauty and the Beast (1991) — she’s done fewer frock flicks, until just this past couple years. Maybe more are coming? She says, “Providing I can put one foot in front of the other, I will continue to act.”


Nancy in Gaslight (1944)

Angela Lansbury, Gaslight (1944)


Sibyl Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)


Em in The Harvey Girls (1946)

Angela Lansbury, The Harvey Girls (1946)


Queen Anne in The Three Musketeers (1948)

Angela Lansbury, The Three Musketeers (1948)


Semadar in Samson and Delilah (1949)

Angela Lansbury, Samson and Delilah (1949)


Mrs. Edwards in Kind Lady (1951)

Angela Lansbury, Kind Lady (1951)


Tally Dickenson in A Lawless Street (1955)

Angela Lansbury, A Lawless Street (1955)


Princess Gwendolyn in The Court Jester (1955)

Angela Lansbury, The Court Jester (1955)


Lady Blystone in The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965)

Angela Lansbury, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965)


Mama Jean Bello in Harlow (1965)

Angela Lansbury, Harlow (1965)


Mrs. Salome Otterbourne in Death on the Nile (1978)

1978 Death on the Nile


Miss Froy in The Lady Vanishes (1979)

Angela Lansbury, The Lady Vanishes (1979)


Nellie Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)

Angela Lansbury, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)


Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in Little Gloria … Happy at Last (1982)

Angela Lansbury, Little Gloria ... Happy at Last (1982)


Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

Angela Lansbury, The Pirates of Penzance (1983)


Aunt March in Little Women (2017)

Little Women (2018)


Balloon Lady in Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Angela Lansbury, Mary Poppins Returns (2018)



What’s your favorite of Angela Lansbury’s historical costume movie and TV roles?

14 Responses

  1. Saraquill

    In a few of these photos, she has serious eyelashes. It makes me curious whether or not she has the same quirk as Elizabeth Taylor. (Genetic mutation which leads to extra eyelashes.)

  2. Cecily

    Court Jester was what made me fall in love with frock flicks…I was like 3 at the time (it was a childhood staple)

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Oh, yes! One reason I love TCJ is that the actresses all get to be as funny and energetic as the males.

      Does “The Company of Wolves” count? Lansbury was a fabulous Grandmama.

  3. Gail

    “The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.”

    and I’ve seen her on stage – she originated the role of Mrs. Lovett and was wonderful in the recent “A Little Night Music” and Noel Coward’s “Blith Spirit.”
    (yes, I live near NYC …) Long may she trod the boards.

  4. Susan Pola Staples

    I quote from my favourite Angela Landsbury movie ‘The vessel with the pestle has… ‘
    Seriously she’s brilliant in anything she does. I still watch her Murder She Wrote reruns on cable. My favourite Broadway role may be Sweeney Todd, but I believe my favourite black and white movie is The Harvey Girls. Garland and Landsbury, they don’t get any better.

  5. Lynelle

    I know it’s a bit more in the fantasy vein but you can’t forget Aunt Adelaide in Nanny McPhee.

  6. Mel (@estelsgirl)

    Awww, I wish that Harvey Girls picture was in color. Although I think that particular dress was more tame color wise than the rest of her costumes in that movie.

  7. mmcquown

    I literally bumped into her once, in a hardware store the the Village. I was surprised at her height; she was wearing flats, and was on eye level with me. I’m 6′ tall.


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