Angela Lansbury was 'pulled out of the abyss' by Hollywood star after tragedy

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Raphael Coleman stars in Nanny McPhee in 2005

Angela Lansbury was best known for appearing in a number of incredible films and TV shows over her 80-year career. On top of playing the lead role in Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, she was also the leading lady, Jessica Fletcher, in Murder, She Wrote for more than 15 years. But she was not always happy throughout her career. In 2013 she revealed how she struggled to deal with her newfound widowhood.

Lansbury married her second husband, British actor and producer, Peter Shaw in 1949, just a few years after divorcing her first husband of 12 months, Richard Cromwell.

Shaw and Lansbury remained married until 2003, when he died on January 29. He lost his life after suffering heart failure in his Los Angeles home with Lansbury by his side. He was 84-years-old. After his death, Lansbury was absolutely bereft.

The loss of her husband sent Lansbury into deep sorrow. But she later revealed how it was Emma Thompson who helped her through such a difficult time.

The British legend was instrumental in hiring Lansbury for the villainous role of Great-Aunt Lady Adelaide Stitch in 2005’s Nanny McPhee shortly after the death of her husband.

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury spoke out about her grief (Image: GETTY)

Angela Lansbury husband

Angela Lansbury’s husband, Peter Shaw, died in 2003 (Image: GETTY)

Lansbury later told The Observer: “Nanny McPhee pulled me out of the abyss. I love Emma [Thompson]. She has an enormous heart.”

However, Lansbury’s hiring almost didn’t happen, as revealed by Thompson during a speech in 2013. After being told the casting team were going after Lansbury for the role, Thompson replied: “Don’t be ridiculous, that’s like asking for a slice of the moon to be delivered.”

Against all odds, Lansbury agreed to join the movie after being urged to do so by Thompson. Then, during shooting for Nanny McPhee, Thompson was tasked with throwing a pie into the Dame’s face.

The Love Actually star recalled she took the pie like a pro. She added: “That’s why you are a legend and always will be, and why that little slice of moon came into our lives and still and always will be shining.”

READ MORE: Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii co-star Angela Lansbury on ‘caring’ King

Angela Lansbury husband

Angela Lansbury and her husband, Peter Shaw (Image: GETTY)

Murder, She Wrote star Dame Angela Lansbury dies aged 96

Although Lansbury’s choice to dive back into her work helped her wounds heal, she previously berated having spent so much time on film sets.

She said in 1984: “Frankly I wish I had spent more time with my family and less time making mediocre movies in those days.”

She laid particular praise on her “dear, loving husband-manager,” who would “check the dailies, handle the personal affairs and even cook dinner” while she worked long hours on Murder, She Wrote.

Lansbury also opened up about how she also made the difficult decision to break away from her home in Malibu because of drug issues.

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Lansbury confessed: “Both of my children, but particularly my son, became involved with drugs. Malibu, where we lived in the 1960s, was a hotbed of youthful drug abuse – to these kids it was as common as bubble gum. Peter and I were the typical Eisenhower-years couple during the ’50s. But the 1960s were shattering to us as a family. Everything was telling me to take my family and get away, so I did.”

She confirmed: “It was one of the happiest decisions of my life. It was one of the last places on earth that was fairly drug free. It was also a spiritual home for me. I bought an old stone house, on 20 acres of land, that had been built for a vicar in 1825. There were elm trees 300 years old, a river running down in back and lovely Victorian gardens all around. We had a wonderful life.”

Overnight, Lansbury died “peacefully in her sleep” just five days from her 97th birthday.

She is survived by her children – Anthony, Deidre, and stepson David – and her three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and her brother, Edgar.

The Lansbury family released a statement after the Hollywood legend died.

It read: “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.

“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. 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.”

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