Trivia / Angela Lansbury

  • Career Resurrection: She debuted in Hollywood with a bang, earning Oscar nominations for Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) - and was a critical darling. However MGM miscast her in several films, leading her to break her contract. She struggled in minor roles in several B-movies of decreasing quality. It wasn't until The Reluctant Debutante and The Long Hot Summer that she returned to prominence. And then The Manchurian Candidate solidified her star status.
  • Creator Backlash: Says of her early years at MGM - "I kept wanting to play the Jean Arthur roles, and Mr Mayer kept casting me as a series of venal bitches."
  • Executive Meddling: She fought the network's attempts to put Jessica Fletcher into a relationship, wanting her to remain as a strong single woman.
  • Fake American: As Em in The Harvey Girls.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Her reason for being in Blue Hawaii - "I was desperate."
  • Non-Singing Voice: She was dubbed by Virginia Rees in The Harvey Girls. This was apparently because her voice was thought to be unsuitable for a lowlife saloon singer.
  • Old Shame:
    • Described The Purple Mask as the worst movie she ever made.
    • She also disowned In The Cool of the Day.
  • Playing Against Type: It might surprise younger fans to discover that Angela was typecast as bitches and villains for most of her career. Her most famous roles among modern audiences are as Cool Old Lady Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Magical Nanny Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and of course spunk detective Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.
  • Playing Gertrude: Due being Younger Than They Look, Angela was often cast as characters older than she was during The Golden Age of Hollywood.
    "Hollywood made me old before my time."
  • So My Kids Can Watch: She has called her role as Mrs Potts a present to her grandchildren.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • She was seriously considered for the title role of Mary Poppins before Julie Andrews was finally cast. She did later star in a similarly magical role as Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which shared a Production Posse with the earlier film. Julie Andrews had also turned down the lead. Additionally, Lansbury did make it into Mary Poppins Returns, as the Balloon Lady.
    • She was Bryan Fuller's first choice for the role of Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, but she was already committed to a production of Driving Miss Daisy, so the character was rewritten from being an octogenerian to a fortysomething woman when Gillian Anderson was cast.
    • In the 80s she was offered two TV roles - a sitcom and a detective series. Obviously she chose the latter.


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