Tragically gunned down in a drive-by shooting while participating in extreme inline skating in the ‘hood.

OK, maybe not.

Wait a sec.

Angela Lansbury was still alive?

Was anyone ever an old lady longer? Elvis would be 87 if he were still alive – and Angela Lansbury played his mom in Blue Hawaii. That was in 1961, and Elvis was certainly old enough then to be a dad (26), so she was playing granny age. The very next year she played Laurence Harvey’s mother in The Manchurian Candidate. Harvey was 33 or 34 at the time, and would be 94 if alive today! So Angela ended up playing women of granny age for about 60 years. That has to be some kind of a record.

Surely she must have looked young once, but there was no photography then, and not even paint. The only images were those early cave drawings. All we know about her youth is that she must have been quite cold in the area now called England because mankind had not yet learned to create fire. Of course it’s not easy to create her biography from those days before written languages, but from the whispers and legends that have come down through the ages, Variety has given it a try.

Of course there really are photos of her in her late teens. Here she is at 18 or 19, doing some kind of event to promote Gaslight, in which she played Charles Boyer’s mom.

Oh, I’m kidding about the Boyer thing. She didn’t play his mom. He was already in his mid-40s and she was in her late teens, but she already looked mature in this actual scene with Boyer. From this angle, she resembled Bernadette Peters.

12 thoughts on “R.I.P. Angela Lansbury

  1. Charles Manson watch
    (One of) Angela Lansbury’s daughter(s) was briefly a member of the Manson Family.

    The 1960s prior to, ironically I guess, the Tate Killings were an interesting time in Hollywood where even the A-List celebrities were generally accessible to the public.

    After the fact, Neil Young said something like ‘any (Los Angeles based) celebrity who tells you they didn’t know or at least met Charles Manson is probably lying.’

    I believe even Lisa Simpson met Neil Young at the Whiskey-a-God-God.

    1. Deirdre ‘Didi’ Shaw was born April of 1953 to famed actress Angela Lansbury and her second husband, Peter Shaw. Didi grew up in Malibu with two older brothers. The children were frequently left in the care of their father while their celebrated mother was traveling the world and by her mid-teens, Didi was dabbling in drugs. Her mother later lamented, “It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin. There were factions up in the hills above Malibu that were dedicated to deadly pursuits. It pains me to say it but, at one stage, Deidre was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson. She was one of many youngsters who knew him — and they were fascinated. He was an extraordinary character, charismatic in many ways, no question about it.” — Angela Lansbury quoted in “Angela Lansbury: How Drugs and Divorce Have Shaped My Life”

  2. I’ve seen better pictures of her in her teens and she actually was kinda cute and with a good body. The Bernadette Peters comparison is right on.

    And to tie it to another recent topic, she reportedly was one of the women who was offered and turned down the Nurse Ratchet role in Cuckoo’s Nest.

  3. Columbo watch:
    Laurence Harvey was in a Columbo episode where he played an American who was the world chess champion when the previous champion, a Soviet, comes out of retirement after his health improves. This episode was written not too long after the Spassky vs Fischer matches, although that’s about where the similarities end.

    If you check the IMDB page for The Manchurian Candidate, you’ll see a lot of comments wondering why Harvey, who has a heavy accent, was playing an American, the same question for the Columbo episode.

    Decent episode otherwise, though the ending is a bit mute.

  4. My Ex was a theater major in college. She had videotapes with recordings of some Broadway shows, including Sweeney Todd, which starred Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett (who served the worst/best meat pies in London). She was phenomenal in the role. I really believed that the priest was much more tasty than the poet. Really, try the priest!!!

    Interestingly enough, while my Ex and I were living together in Stamford, CT, I used to get my hair cut in the Stamford Mall at Sweeney Todd’s Hair Salon. But while I got my hair cut there many times, I never asked for a shave. But the first time I went there, I wasn’t familiar with the show. This was before the Johnny Depp film. That salon is the reason my Ex dug out the videotape so I would understand how funny the name was.

  5. Fairly well-known movie fact: Lansbury was only three years older than Laurence Harvey when she played his mother in The Manchurian Candidate.

  6. The hairstyle doesn’t help, but how the hell do you look old at 18? That imdb photo was not what I was expecting.

      1. Interesting (at least to me):

        While amuck and amok are both fine, the preference trend has shifted dramatically in the past hundred years. Amuck was far more popular circa WW1, and now amok is far more popular.

        The N-Gram

        1. I actually wrote amok at first, but I checked the lyric sheet that came with the album and ol’ Warren used amuck, so there ya go. Good enough for him, good enough for me.

          His words even more relevant today it seems. “Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan”

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