A tune to beat the band

Angela Lansbury had been a working actress for over twenty years when she got her first starring role, as Mame Dennis in the musical Mame in 1966. The show ran for two years and won her a Tony Award. I suspect no one had thought of her as a song-and-dance girl; lyricist Jerry Herman had been hoping to get Judy Garland, then 44, but her management apparently thought Judy wasn’t up to it, and the role fell to 42-year-old Angela.

Angela Lansbury in the late 1940s

Angela Lansbury does some leg arts

Angela Lansbury in a publicity photo

Can she sum up a seven-decade career in ten minutes? Let’s see:

Though frankly, I could listen to her all day.

(Number of times I’ve seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks: eleven.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    9 April 2019 · 7:17 pm

    One of my favorite actresses. If I could create any entertainment tv channel, it would be “Murder She Wrote, 24/7.” That is the one show that always cheers me up when I’m sad or provides a desirable distraction for my mind when I need something a bit diverting to make me stop ruminating on whatever thing is bothering me. When it was in its original run, it was my Sunday-night ease-back-into-the-week TV. (I’m sure I wasn’t in the demographic as a college student/grad student, but I loved the show and several of my dormmates did, and we’d get together in the room of one girl who had a small TV to watch)

    I wish they had filmed the entirety of Broadway “Mame” with her in it; I bet it was great, based on the stills I’ve seen and the cast recordings I’ve heard.

  2. McGehee »

    9 April 2019 · 8:36 pm

    Wait — you mean there isn’t a 24/7 “Murder, She Wrote” channel???

  3. fillyjonk »

    9 April 2019 · 9:05 pm

    If there is, my cable provider doesn’t provide it :(

    I suppose I could buy the dvds and have my own personal version…

  4. Roger Green »

    10 April 2019 · 10:01 am

    The thing about MSW, though, is that a lot of younger people thought that was ALL she did for a good long time. Which of course is quite incorrect.

  5. nightfly »

    10 April 2019 · 12:23 pm

    I always felt bad for Jessica Fletcher’s neighbors. I mean, Cabot Cove was, per capita, more violent than Camden or Detroit. It was so bad even Father Mulcahy killed someone on that show.

  6. CGHill »

    10 April 2019 · 1:05 pm

    A rough sort of town, its genteelness notwithstanding.

  7. fillyjonk »

    10 April 2019 · 3:31 pm

    *side-eyes and prepares to shush all the people drawing in deep breaths and preparing to promote their personal hypothesis that Jessica Fletcher was a serial killer all along*

    St. Mary’s Mead was also no walk in the park, I understand.

    As the sainted MST 3000 said: “I should repeat to myself, it’s just a show, I should really just relax”

    (And MSW is, for me, one of the most relaxing shows there is.)

  8. The Other McCain »

    15 April 2019 · 7:59 am

    Rule 5 Sunday: Maisie Williams

    […] Friday Night Babe is Alison Louder, and at Dustbury, it’s Angela Lansbury and Kate Upton. […]

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