Angela Lansbury, the star of “Murder, She Wrote,” died on Thursday, according to her family. She was 96.
The British-born actress died in her sleep in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, they said. No official cause of death was revealed.
“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 AM today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” her family said in a statement to news outlets.
“In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre, and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury,” their statement said. “She was proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined.”
While Lansbury starred in numerous TV shows, movies, and stage productions, she is best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote.” The show premiered in 1984 and ran for 256 episodes before ending in 1996.
”I had a lot of say in it, and I didn’t want the character to be quirky,” the actress told the New York Times in 2009 about the popular role. ”I wanted her to be real. I didn’t want to have to put on any kind of veneer for 24 hours a day, which is what a television schedule sometimes feels like.”
Two years later, she told news outlets that she wanted to make a comeback as Jessica Fletcher. However, in 2015, she said that it won’t happen.
“I think it would be a downer. In some way, we’d have to show her as a much older woman, and I think it’s better to maintain that picture we have in our mind’s eye of her as a vigorous person,” she said. I’m still pretty vigorous, especially in the garden … but if I wanted to transform myself back into the woman I looked like then, it would be ridiculous. And I can’t do that.”
Lansbury was awarded the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in June. She also got a 1996 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, an American National Medal of the Arts in 1997, a Kennedy Center Honor in 2000, and a ceremony at Windsor Castle in England in 2014.
She made her Broadway debut in 1957 and appeared in “Mame,” “Gypsy,” and “Sweeney Todd,” as well as other productions.
“It has been an outstanding life, especially for me,” Lansbury said when she received the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, honor. “I feel absolutely galvanized to keep going and strike out for new career goals … After all, a career, as far as I’m concerned, is still a work in progress,” she added.