While it is true that there are many actors and actresses who have lengthy careers, I would argue that no one has touched more people than Angela Lansbury. Her career spanned almost 80 years and included roles on Broadway, television and movies. It's the diversity of roles she played that broadened her appeal and exposure to so many.
Angela Lansbury's TV Career
I was first introduced to Angela Lansbury when I fell in love with her TV show Murder, She Wrote. It premiered while I was growing up and continued for 12 seasons. It was part of my Sunday night routine and it was a show that always brought me great joy. I think I enjoyed the show for a number of reasons. First, Angela Lansbury always reminded me of my grandmother. I told my mother this years after my grandmother had passed away and she said it was the biggest compliment.
I've seen interviews with Angela Lansbury and she said that playing Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote was one of the easiest roles she played because it was the character closest to herself. And I think that was part of the comfort and why so many of us feel like we knew Angela Lansbury. She was that mother, or grandmotherly, figure who brought comfort, joy, and hope to us.
But as nice as Jessica Fletcher was, I think it was her grit, strength, and intelligence that made her a truly well-rounded character. And, the reason why I loved the show so much. I have always loved mysteries so the show was right up my alley and I always enjoyed following along as Jessica Fletcher figured out the crime.
Where to Watch Murder She Wrote
If you're fortunate enough to get the Hallmark Channel you can catch reruns of Murder, She Wrote there. However, if you don't get the channel or you simply want to binge more than an episode or two at a time; you can watch seasons 1-6 on Amazon's Freevee. If you want to watch seasons 7-12, you'll have to purchase the complete set. It includes 63 discs, 264 episodes, and over 209 hours.
Angela Lansbury's Movie Career
Angela Lansbury got her big break in Hollywood in 1944 when at the age of 17 she was cast in the movie Gaslight. She went on to have a long and successful career in movies, but I think when you speak with most people in my generation the movie role that stands out is her performance as Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Again, she was playing a motherly role for us, and it was one that brought humor, joy, and delight to fans of all ages.
Angela Lansbury's Career on Stage
I never had the good fortune of seeing Angela Lansbury on stage, but this is another area where I hear she shined. I would love to have seen her on Broadway. She debuted on Broadway in 1957 and was in numerous productions over the years. She won 7 Tony awards for her performances, the last was in 2010 for her role in A Little Night Music.
Angela's Death and Her Legacy
When news of Angela's death broke on October 11, 2022, I think the impact was felt around the world. I think it's unusual for someone to touch generations of people, and to have such a positive impact on their lives. For every report I heard about her life and career, the common theme was that she brought comfort and joy to so many. I think it's why re-runs of Murder, She Wrote are still on TV. Almost 40 years since it first aired, the show still has an impact.
Like a warm fire, a comfy blanket, and a cup of tea, Angela Lansbury's performances have a calming, and comforting impact. Especially for her role on Murder, She Wrote there's a sense of nostalgia, comfort, and appreciation for a more simple time.
A time when there were no streaming services, or cable TV for many of us. But rather, a Sunday night routine where we sat around the TV with siblings, parents, and grandparents to watch Jessica Fletcher effortlessly solve mysteries and prove that women are smart and independent at any age. So I thank you Angela Lansbury for the joy you've brought me. I carry my grandmother with me as I watch Murder, She Wrote on the Hallmark Channel. It's like an old friend who I can't wait to see again.