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If you’ve been following her career for the past 80 years, you may be wondering how Angela Lansbury died and what her cause of death was when she passed.
Lansbury—whose full name Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury—died on October 11, 2022. She was 96 years old. She was born on October 16, 1925 in London. She made her Hollywood debut in 1944 in the movie Gaslight, which earned her her first Oscar nomination at the 17th Academy Awards. Lansbury earned her second Oscar nomination a year later in The Picture of Dorian Gray, which she won a Golden Globe Award for in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 1966, Lansbury won her first Tony Award for her lead role in the Broadway musical Mame. Lansbury—who voiced roles in animated movies like 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 1997’s Anastasia—also made a name for herself in television after she starred in the lead role of Jessica Fletcher in CBS’ Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1995. She also executive produced the series.
Throughout her career, Lansbury received an Honorary Academy Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BAFTA, a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, five Tonys, six Golden Globes and an Olivier Award. She was also nominated for 18 Emmys and a Grammy. In 2014, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2014. So how did Angela Lansbury die and what was her cause of death when she passed? Read on for what we know about how Angela Lansbury died and where she was when she passed.
How did Angela Lansbury die?
How did Angela Lansbury die? Lansbury died at 1:30 a.m. on October 11, 2022, while asleep in her home in Los Angeles, California, her family confirmed in a statement to People. Her death came five days before her 97th birthday on October 16, 2022. “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 a.m. today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” the statement read.
Lansbury is survived by her three children: stepson David Shaw; son Anthony Shaw; and daughter Deirdre Shaw. Lansbury shared her children with her second husband, Peter Shaw, whom she was married to from 1949 until his death on January 29, 2003 of a heart attack. He was 84 years old. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
What was Angela Lansbury’s cause of death?
What was Angela Lansbury’s cause of death? Lansbury’s family suggested she died of natural causes. Lansbury’s death came 17 years after she underwent a knee replacement surgery, which replaced deteriorating cartilage of her knee joint with metal and plastic, in July 2005. “I found that people were helping me across the street. I had to pull myself up the stairs,” Lansbury told the East Bay Times in 2006, explaining that her dance career in her early life left her with “crippled” knees. “I began to feel ancient, and I feel very young at heart.” She added, “I’m not going to be dancing with the stars at this stage in my life. But I want to dance and bop around, and I did, and I can.” She told the East Bay Times at the time that she waited to have the surgery because she feared it would be too painful.
The knee replacement surgery also came after Lansbury underwent a hip replacement surgery in May 1994. “She has had some problem with (the hip) but not to the extent that it impinged on her work,” a CBS spokesperson for Murder, She Wrote told the Greensboro News & Record at the time. “She knew that if she was going to deal with it this was the time to do it, the minute she went on hiatus.” Lansbury’s death also came after her long struggle with arthritis, a disease she started experiencing symptoms of in the 1990s. “Angela suffers a variety of things, such as arthritis,” a source told Closer Weekly in 2022 after Lansbury skipped a tribute to her at the 75th Annual Tony Awards. “And being in a theater with 6,000 people when COVID cases are still popping up regularly made Angela believe that staying home was the best course of action.” In her interview with Closer Weekly, which was published three months before her death, Lansbury told the magazine that, while she remained healthy, she had to stop hobbies like gardening because of her arthritis. She also told Closer Weekly that she struggled to maintain her weight, though she still liked to do activities like cook, read and complete crossword puzzles. “I take a lot of vitamins and get enough sleep,” she said. “I believe age should not stop you from keeping on. Here I am, I still go on, you know, like the tides.”
In an interview with NPR in 2022, Lansbury also revealed that she started smoking at 14 years old and hadn’t quit until 30 years before her death. “I was able to take a cigarette out of a packet in my purse and smoke it, which I hadn’t been able to let on, that I had been smoking from the time I was, really, about 14 years old,” she said at the time. “I say that without any sense of pride at all. And I stopped smoking 30 years ago. But nevertheless – I don’t know if you remember, but I do smoke a rather long Cigarettello in the movie. And that was part of the business in the movie of Gaslight. But they only let me puff it. And I wasn’t allowed to inhale, as Mr. Clinton would say.”
In an interview with The Daily Mail in 2014, Lansbury explained why she thought Murder, She Wrote was a success. “I know why [Murder, She Wrote was a success],” she said. “There was never any blood, never any violence. And there was also a satisfying conclusion to a whodunnit. The jigsaw was complete. And I loved Jessica’s everywoman character. I think that’s what made her so acceptable to an across-the-board audience.”
Lansbury also told Radio Times in 2017 about her reaction to receiving an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for each season of Murder, She Wrote, but never winning. “It pissed me off!” she said at the time. “Because I just didn’t add up at all in Hollywood. Everywhere else in the U.S., Murder, She Wrote was huge, but not in Hollywood — no, no, no, they didn’t want to know. I wasn’t upset… well, I was upset, really. It rankled me. I can’t say it didn’t.” Despite her lack of awards recognition, Lansbury told Star2 in 2018 of how proud she was of the show. “It was a slice of my career that was totally unconnected to anything that I had done before,” she said. “Making Jessica Fletcher the character I ended up playing took me several years. She started off a little bit goofy, but I finally made her a woman of my age and of my intellect. I think that is what made her such an appealing character of the world — because she was somebody that people could understand and make part of their lives.”
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