West End to dim lights in honour of ‘immensely talented’ Dame Angela Lansbury

West End to dim lights in honour of ‘immensely talented’ Dame Angela Lansbury

London’s West End theatres will dim their lights in memory of “immensely talented” Dame Angela Lansbury, after her death at the age of 96.

The Irish-British and American actress, best known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in American drama series Murder, She Wrote, was a leading light on Broadway and the West End throughout her career.

According to a family statement, Dame Angela died “peacefully” in her sleep five days before her 97th birthday.

As a tribute to her, West End theatres will dim their lights before performances for two minutes at 7pm on Wednesday, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have said.

The co-chief executives of SOLT and UK Theatre, Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, said: “The theatre world is a smaller place tonight after the passing of Dame Angela Lansbury, whose work touched so many generations.

“She lit up every stage she graced, and her extraordinary talent will be very much missed.”

Dame Joan Collins was among the famous names who paid tribute to Dame Angela, describing her as “immensely talented”.

The veteran actress shared a video clip on Instagram of them performing together with Dana Wynter at the 1959 Oscar ceremony and wrote: “Farewell to the wonderful Angela Lansbury.

“She was immensely talented and deserved her long life and career.”

Catherine 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.”

Katherine McNamara, who also starred in the musical, said Dame Angela had encouraged her to improve on stage with her, which she described as the “biggest gift and freedom given to me by someone of her calibre”.

In a post on Twitter, she added: “Angela was a true leading lady in all aspects and did so with presence and grace that extended to everyone around her.

“Thank you for the laughs, the lessons, the love – and for giving me some of the most insightful words of wisdom I carry with me every day.

“You are and always will be a treasure. Thank you for changing this little Fredrika’s life. Love you always, Grandmother Armfeldt”.

Jennifer Hudson shared a photo of her with Dame Angelam saying: “There will never be another like Dame Angela Lansbury. A true pioneer of the stage and screen. Rest in peace!”

Julian Morris starred opposite Dame Angela in 2017’s Little Women and described her as “truly inspirational”.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, he said: “She was so forthcoming with advice. She was just an inspiration in terms of being in her 90s and knowing her craft so well.

“Knowing her lines, working, having the energy, having the care.”

Referring to an image of them together, he added: “She saw me and I was in the lunch line and she said to come and join me in her trailer.

“The two of us, we skipped the mains and went straight to dessert. And she was telling me all about her life, moving to America. It was 1940 which is hard to believe.

“She was just a wonderful, sincerely authentic person and truly inspirational.”

Antonio Banderas shared a selection of images of Dame Angela and wrote: “Rest In Peace” with a red rose.

The official Twitter account for Beauty And The Beast, in which she voiced Mrs Potts, said: “Today we remember our dear friend, Broadway, West End and Disney legend, Dame Angela Lansbury.

“Her voice and extraordinary talent will be remembered for all time as the voice of Mrs Potts and spirit at the centre of Beauty and the Beast.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) shared a photo of a “cosmic rose” to mark her death.

Quoting lyrics from the Beauty And The Beast, its official Twitter account wrote: “Tale as old as time. True as it can be.

“In memory of Angela Lansbury, we offer this cosmic rose plucked by our Spitzer Space Telescope.”

Marie Osmond described her as “one of the brightest stars in the last decade” and added: “Rest in peace Angela Lansbury. The world is a better place because of you.”

West End star Elaine 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.

With a career spanning more than eight decades, Dame Angela was a three-time Oscar nominee and five-time Tony Award winner.

She was born in London in 1925 and moved to the US during the Second World War where she studied at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York.

Angela Lansbury death
Angela Lansbury is made a Dame Commander by the Queen (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Dame Angela garnered a great deal of recognition and is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Murder, She Wrote novelist and sleuth Jessica Fletcher – a retired school teacher from the fictional town of Cabot Cove who became a successful detective novelist after her husband’s death.

She played the character in the crime drama TV series for 12 years and nine seasons, after first starring in the role in 1984.

Her Tony-winning roles on stage include Mame Dennis in Mame, Countess Aurelia in Dear World, Rose in Gypsy and Mrs Nellie Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

She also won the Olivier Award and Tony Award for best supporting actress for playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit.

Flowers have been placed on Dame Angela’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The walk’s producer, Ana Martinez, said: “Sadly, we have lost another Walk of Famer.

“Beloved actress Angela Lansbury has passed and Hollywood is again in mourning for the loss of another one of our very talented performers.

“We send our condolences to her family.”

In 2013 Dame Angela was given an honorary Academy Award for her lifetime achievements in the film industry and was also awarded a lifetime achievement award by Bafta in 2002.

Dame Angela was made a CBE in the Queen’s 1994 birthday honours and was made a DBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to drama, charitable work and philanthropy.