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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Mike Bedigan

Entertainment industry mourns the death of ‘icon’ Dame Angela Lansbury

PA Wire

Heavyweights from across the film, television and live theatre industries have remembered Dame Angela Lansbury as “one of the last Golden Age of Hollywood stars” and a “Broadway and West End icon” following her death.

The Irish-British and American actress, best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher in American drama series Murder, She Wrote, died “peacefully” in her sleep aged 96, her family said on Tuesday.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elaine Paige, Josh Gad and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson were among those sharing memories of encounters with the renowned actress.

Zeta-Jones, who starred alongside Dame Angela in the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, said their time together will “forever be one of the joys of my life”.

In a post on Instagram, Zeta-Jones wrote: “Dearest, Darling, Dame Angela Lansbury. May you Rest In Peace.

“Our Broadway double act will forever be one of the joys of my life. As the lights dim for you on ‘The Great White Way’ you shall glow forever in our heart. Love you Angela, Catherine.”

West End star Paige said Dame Angela was “always so kind and generous” when they had met.

“So upset to hear the news that the legendary Dame Angela Lansbury has died,” Paige tweeted, sharing a picture of them together.

“One of the last Golden Age of Hollywood stars & a Broadway & West End icon.

“Always so kind & generous when I met her. She will be sadly missed. RIP dearest Angela.”

Gad also shared a photo of himself with Dame Angela, saying that she had “touched four generations” with her work.

He said on Twitter: “It is rare that one person can touch multiple generations, creating a breadth of work that defines decade after decade. Angela Lansbury was that artist.

“From ‘Mame’ to ‘Bedknobs’ to ‘Murder She Wrote’ to ‘B&TB’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ she touched 4 generations. RIP Legend.”

Ferguson recalled sitting next to her at the theatre and how they had struck up a lengthy conversation.

“I’ll never forget sitting next to Angela Lansbury at an opening night,” he tweeted.

“Even though I had to pee I refused to leave my seat during intermission. I spent the 15 minutes chatting with her instead.

“She was incredibly lovely and I’m so glad I had that brief time with her. RIP Angela.”

US actress Mia Farrow said it had been an “honour” to work with Dame Angela.

“Gratitude for the magnificent Angela Lansbury who gave us so many great performances,” she wrote.

“It was an honor to have worked with her and to know her as a friend. Thank you dearest Angie. Love forever.”

Other famous names paying tribute included Canadian author Margaret Attwood, Star Trek star George Takei and actor Jason Watkins.

Watkins, who has starred in The Crown and Des, shared a photo of Dame Angela Lansbury as a young woman, wearing a purple dress with her hair clipped up.

He said: “8 decades as an actor. One of the very greats. An extraordinary presence. Rest in Peace.”

Takei said: “Angela Lansbury, who graced the stage for decades winning five Tony awards and brought the sleuthing Jessica Fletcher into our living rooms for a dozen years, has passed.

“A tale old as time, our beloved Mrs. Potts will sing lullabies to us now from the stars. Rest, great soul.”

A nod to Dame Angela’s iconic Beauty and the Beast role was featured in a tribute from the official Disney Animation Twitter account, which tweeted: “We join the world in mourning Disney Legend Angela Lansbury, who brought such incredible warmth and personality to Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.

“Her unforgettable performance will forever be a classic.”

Dame Angela was the recipient of multiple awards, including six Tony Awards – recently earning a special lifetime achievement award at the ceremony in 2022.

Sharing a video of her 1969 lead actress in a musical acceptance speech, the Tonys official account described her as “the ultimate thespian”.

“To the ultimate thespian who hosted the Tony Awards more than anyone else and earned six #TonyAwards including a Special Tony for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre this past June, we’re deeply grateful.”

“We’ll miss you, Dame Angela Lansbury.”

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