The Legendary Angela Lansbury

Tuesday 30 August



In a heartfelt and revealing conversation between two well-known British actresses (and firm friends), Emma Thompson meets one of Hollywood and Broadway’s most legendary figures, Dame Angela Lansbury, to discuss her 70-year show business career.

Best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, Angela’s career began aged 17 alongside Ingrid Bergman in the film Gaslight when she landed a contract with MGM. She went on to act alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls, Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, Elvis in Blue Hawaii and Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate. But because of the restrictive roles MGM offered her, she moved towards Broadway where she felt she could become a real actress.

With a string of Tony awards to follow, Angela was taking Broadway by storm starring in hit musicals such as Mame, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd. She had to fight to win the title role of Mame in 1966 and she describes the opening night as one of the most exciting experiences of her life. Emma asks Angela what it was like behind-the-scenes juggling a flourishing career and a family, and how musical theatre challenged being a film star. Listeners also hear how, nearing the end of his life, Frank Sinatra stunned Angela in conversation when they went out for dinner together.

Now in her 90th year, and having recently completed an American tour (and London run after 40 years) in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit as the eccentric Madame Arcati, Angela has no plans to retire. She says: “I still have the freshness of excitement about it all today as I did playing Nancy in Gaslight 72 years ago."

Emma Thompson says: “Having been brought up in the theatre myself she’s always been a part of my childhood, my youth and a star in my own firmament. And it’s really my great pleasure to share this personal discussion about her life and her extraordinary, unique career”.

Presenter/Emma Thompson, Producer/Hayley Redmond for Sue Clark Productions

BBC Radio 2 Publicity