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By and On Angela

Balancing Act
The Authorized Biography of
Angela Lansbury

By Martin Gottfried


Balancing Act - The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury - Written by Martin Gottfried
Editorial Reviews

Fully authorized, this biography of Angela Lansbury, one of the most beloved stars of stage, screen, and television, completely covers her life and fabulous career.


FEW WOMEN in public life today command the unqualified affection and respect that are conferred upon Angela Lansbury. In a carrer that has spanned more than fifty years, she has achieved the singular distinction of enjoying triumphs in film, theater, and television, giving in each area an astonishing range of performances and creating a gallery of unforgettable characters, from Mame to Sweeney Todd's Mrs. Lovett to her beloved Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote.

In Balancing Act prizewinning drama critic and author Martin Gottfried tells the story of this remarkable woman's life with, for the first time, her authorization and full cooperation. From a childhood in one of England's most prominent political families to her first Academy Award nomination at age seventeen to her overcoming television's prejudice against strong women, Lansbury has had, by any measure, an extraordinary career. But her success have never been easily won, and Balancing Act traces candidly the commitment and determination of a dedicated professional who often found herself having to struggle to practice the craft she so loved.

After being wartime England, the young actress began her film career at MGM, where she rewarded the studio's faith in her by giving classic portrayals in Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray. But Lansbury was soon relegated to supporting roles, more often than not playing women older than she herself actually was, and her frustration took its roll. The Manchurian Candidate finally presented a part worthy of her gifts, and she responded stunningly, giving one of the great performances of the decade - though the recognition she received for it again proved to be short-lived.

Only four years later Lansbury descended a staircase in the lead role in Mame and made theater history. How an actress with almost no musical experience and a reputation for playing embittered older women managed to conquer Broadway in the part of a great, vivacious force of nature is one of the classic tales of show business, and Gottfried recounts its drama in rich detail. But even this triumph proved not to be the climax of Lansbury's career, for when she began to appear in Murder, She Worte, in 1985, she not only created one of television's enduring classics but redefined the possibilities for women in the medium.

In Balancing Act Lansbury appears frequently in her own inimitable voice - wry, candid, irreverent, unsentimental, and always thoroughly engaging. She shares dozens of wonderful anecdotes about her career, and discusses frankly her love of home and family, her disappointments, and her thoughts about her craft. Here in all its color, drama, and inspiration is a model biography of a consummate actor.


Martin Gottfried has known Angela Lansbury for more than twenty years. He is a prizewinning drama critic, formerly with the New York Post and currently with the New York Law Journal. His ten previous books include biographies of Bob Fosse, Stephen Sondheim, Danny Kaye, and George Burns.


Read the Introduction to the book, written by Martin Gottfried.


Balancing Act - The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury
Published by Little, Brown and Co.
Copyright 1999 by Martin Gottfried - All Rights Reserved.


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