Monday 26 February 2018

Angela Lansbury on her honorary Oscar in 2013

There were no reporters on the red carpet asking about my clothes and there was no television...

Portrait of Dame Angela Lansbury photographed by John Lee
Portrait of Dame Angela Lansbury photographed by John Lee

Angela Lansbury

'I was only 17, 18 at most, when I made Gaslight and really didn't know what I was doing. I certainly didn't have any idea how important being nominated was [Lansbury was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 1945].

There were some very big stars, like Lana Turner and Greer Garson - but I didn't for a minute assume I was among their contingent so I wore a simple, understated dress. I was an English girl, you know.

I brought my mother and brothers as my dates, and we went in a car provided by MGM. Our lives were governed by the publicity department: if you were under contract, they had you 24 hours a day. There were no reporters on the red carpet asking about my clothes; there was no television. Photographs were published in the papers the next day, and that was the extent of any publicity. The world was different.

I was nominated twice more [for The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1946, and The Manchurian Candidate in 1963], but it wasn't until 2013 that I got a little gold man of my own. I found out I was going to be given the lifetime achievement award when I was in a car, on my way home from the airport after finishing the Australian tour of Driving Miss Daisy.

The driver said: "There's a call for you, Miss Lansbury" and it was my son, Anthony, and he told me this extraordinarily unexpected piece of news. I was quite blown away: it had never entered my mind, but there it was. They do a special dinner, and once again I brought all my family, this time including my grandchildren.

Murder, She Wrote was nominated for an Emmy 18 times, and never won. You do start to get a bit of a chip on your shoulder, even though you don't want to, because you see the same people getting the award, year after year.

They deserve it, but it amazed me that we were overlooked for so long. I was so proud of that show. After all those nominations, and no wins, to have that fella on my mantelpiece gives me a big kick.'

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