By and On Angela
The Authorized Biography of
By Martin Gottfried
Fully authorized, this biography of Angela Lansbury,
one of the most beloved stars of stage, screen, and
television, completely covers her life and fabulous
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.
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.
- The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury
Published by Little, Brown and Co.
© Copyright 1999 by Martin Gottfried - All Rights Reserved.
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