“My greatest gratification in acting, now that I'm older, is simply that I get to play some fantastic parts. The key, I think, is that I seem to ring a bell with women. They do understand the way I get at them in my parts, and portray women not as famous stars portray them but as women are. Movies are now beginning to take a more realistic approach to life and its problems, and this is in my favor. In the past the era of the thirties and forties women were portrayed in a too narrowly defined way. There were no nuances in a script. A woman was a woman; a mother was a mother; a femme fatale was a femme fatale. The parts have more appeal for me now.”—Angela Lansbury, quoted in Lillian Ross and Helen Ross, The Player: A Profile of an Art (1961)
Angela Lansbury—born on this day 90 years ago in Regent's Park in London, England—was still only 36 when she expressed this thought. Moreover, though she said she preferred film acting to the stage, she would go on to have some of her greatest triumphs in the theater. In fact, she won five Tony’s for Mame, Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, and Blithe Spirit. And let’s not forget how long she ruled on TV, as mystery novelist-sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.