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Though she could have never imagined the illustrious career ahead of her, Angela Lansbury dreamed of being an actress as a young girl. A star in films, television, and Broadway, Lansbury was able to appeal to audiences of all kinds. In a career spanning over five decades, she was frequently recognized for her outstanding performances. Interestingly, while trying her hand at Broadway, Lansbury resided in Douglaston.
Angela Brigid Lansbury was born on October 16, 1925 in London, England. Her mother, Moyna MacGill, had been a popular stage and motion picture actress in the United Kingdom. Hoping to follow in her mother's footsteps, Lansbury attended the Webber-Douglas School for Dramatic Arts. At 14 years of age however, Lansbury and her family left their homeland and moved to the United States at the start of World War II.
With two brothers and an elder half-sister, Lansbury ventured out on her own to develop her career. Although she became a citizen in 1951, Lansbury found that finding work as an actor to be difficult. She held various jobs including a stint as a sales clerk in a Bullocks Wilshire department store.
In 1944 however, Lansbury landed a leading role in a film titled, Gaslight. That role would prove to be a harbinger of Lansbury's talent to come. Her performance as the malevolent maid, Nancy, in Gaslight earned her an Academy Award Nomination as best supporting actress. The following year, she earned another nomination for playing Sybil Vane in the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Rarely had a newcomer experienced such immediate success. She appeared in films such as The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1972), and Death on the Nile (1978).
When her film career hit a dry spot, Lansbury decided to try Broadway. While refining her art, Lansbury lived near Hollywood Avenue and Douglas Road in Douglaston. She made her Broadway debut in 1957 in Hotel Paradiso. She wowed audiences and went on to have an even more successful career on stage than she had enjoyed on the silver screen. She won four Tony Awards for her performances in Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1974), and Sweeney Todd (1980). She soon returned to film where she focused on character voice work. She voiced Mrs. Pitts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991) and was the Dowager Empress in Anastasia (1997).
Her most recognized role however came in 1984, as Lansbury played detective/author Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. It was her first try at television and the show was a hit for more than a decade. Running from 1984 to 1996, Lansbury stared in 264 episodes and attracted a worldwide audience. The show continues to run frequently in syndication.
Lansbury's career aged like fine wine in the 90's. She was named a Disney Legend in 1995 and received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Her most prestigious award however was the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II.

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