Disney Legend Angela Lansbury Passes Away at Age 96

We’re sad to share that Disney Legend Angela Lansbury passed away this morning at the age of 96. To Disney fans, she is best known for her on-screen roles in the musical films Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018) and as the voice of Mrs. Potts in the animated classic Beauty and the Beast (1991).



Born on October 16th, 1925 in London, England, Angela Lansbury was studying acting at the Webber-Douglas School of Dramatic Art when World War II broke up and her family emigrated to New york City. With a career spanning more than 75 years, her first professional role came at the age of 16 in a cabaret act. By 1944, she was living in Los Angeles where she was soon hired under contract at MGM and garnered her first Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in her first film Gaslight. She would be nominated for an Oscar two more times (for The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Manchurian Candidate) and was given the Academy Honorary Award in 2013.

With talent that couldn’t be confined to the screen, Dame Angela Lansbury won five Tony Awards, starting in 1966 with the title role in Jerry Herman’s Mame. Her other awards on Broadway came from performances in Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Blithe Spirit. In 2022, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award. She has also received three Drama Desk Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards, and a Laurence Olivier Award for her contributions to the theater.

Despite all of her success in film and theater, it wasn’t until 1984 that Angela Lansbury was catapulted into superstar status with the hit CBS series Murder She Wrote, which ran for 12 seasons. The role of Jessica Fletcher gave Lansbury the chance to stay in one place for a while and the series racked up two Emmy wins, plus multiple Golden Globe awards for Lansbury’s performance.

Beyond her starring role as Eglantine Price in the Sherman Brothers' musical comedy Bedknobs and Broomsticks and her work as the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and its spin-off projects, Angela Lansbury also introduced a segment of Fantasia 2000 and had a cameo in the Disney MGM Studios short film “Mickey’s Audition” (later retitled “Mickey’s Big Break” when it played in Magic Kingdom). Several of her projects were also acquired by Disney with the purchase of 20th Century Fox. She voiced The Dowager Empress Marie in Anastasia and appeared in the film Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

One of her final film roles was as The Baloon Lady in Mary Poppins Returns, which was fitting because she was one of the leading contenders for the role that made Julie Andrews a household name. It’s why her name rose to the top when it came time to cast Bedknobs and Broomsticks, forever linking Lansbury’s legacy with Disney. She was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1995.

Dame Angela Lansbury is survived by her brother Edgar Lansbury, children Anthony, Deirdre, and David; grandchildren Peter, Katherine, and Ian; and five great-grandchildren. She passed away peacefully at her home in Los Angeles and would’ve celebrated her 97th birthday on October 16th.

Celebrate Angela Lansbury’s Legacy on Disney+