Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dame Angela gong 'rare and lovely'

Angela Lansbury feels like Ireland is her sanctuary
Angela Lansbury feels like Ireland is her sanctuary

Angela Lansbury has spoken of her pride at being recognised by the country of her birth as she was made a Dame by the Queen.

The star of stage and screen, who is still working in the West End at the age of 88, received the honour at Windsor Castle in recognition of a lifetime in acting and for charity work.

Dame Angela, who left the UK for the United States as a child during the Second World War, said: "It is a very proud day for me to be recognised by the country of my birth, and to meet the Queen under these circumstances is a rare and lovely occasion."

Dame Angela joins a select group of acting Dames, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and most recently Good Life star Penelope Keith.

Dame Angela is known to millions as crimewriter and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the television series Murder, She Wrote and her career includes countless film roles including appearances in Bedknobs And Broomsticks, The Manchurian Candidate and alongside Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii.

She has been nominated three times for an Academy Award, including for her debut in the 1944 thriller Gaslight, but failed to win each time. She was finally presented last year with an honorary Oscar, but said this honour was completely different.

"One (the Oscar) is for my work in motion pictures and this is for the overall accomplishments of my life as an actress," she said.

"It has afforded me the joy of working in America and also in England a great deal."

Dame Angela's son and his wife flew over from the US to be at the castle, and her niece, who lives in England, was also present.

Dame Angela, who was previously awarded a CBE, was born in London, but moved to the US during the Second World War after the death of her father Edgar, who was a politician.

In the US she followed in the footsteps of her mother, actress Moyna MacGill.

She returned to her roots last month when she took to the stage at the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End for a production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

It is the first time in almost 40 years that she has been on the London stage, reprising the role which won her a Tony award on Broadway.

Her award is for services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy.

Dame Angela was not the only Oscar-winner being recognised.

Special effects expert Christopher Corbould, who has worked on Bond films since the 1980s and won a visual effects Academy Award in 2010 for Inception, was made an OBE for services to film.

The 56-year-old, who also worked on Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, joked that he had thought to mention the Queen's Bond-themed "parachute jump" at the London Olympics opening ceremony but had not done so.

He said: "I'm so thrilled and proud to get this. This is for all the guys I've worked with over the years."

He was cagey on whether he would be working on the latest Bond film, which will be directed by Sam Mendes after his success with Skyfall, simply saying he "hoped" to.

His wife Lynne and daughters Felicity and Rachel were at the castle to see him receive his award.

Veteran entertainer Nicholas Parsons was honoured with a CBE for his lifelong work for children's charities, in addition to an OBE he already has for his broadcasting career.

The 90-year-old Just A Minute host said: "It is very nice to be honoured for all the things you do because you enjoy and love them."

He said the Queen had told him his hard work was "greatly admired".

He added: "If you get something out of the work you are doing, it seems only right that you put something back into society, because if you have achieved some recognition for your achievements, what a pleasure to have that opportunity to put something back in and help others less fortunate."

Press Association

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