Lansbury to be a stage and screen star, and also her decision to shift to tv was a huge career gamble.

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While quiet in the nascence in the beforehand 1980s, the producer of Murder, She Wrote had one actress in mental they believed would it is in perfect to personify the collection main character, the gentle writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher: British-born star the stage and screen Angela Lansbury. But convincing such a respect actress to eschew the footlights and premieres because that what amounted to a continual weekly gig in the climate not-so respected tool of tv was no simple task.

Lansbury and also her household moved come Ireland to escape Hollywood life in the 1970s

Lansbury was a respected star, well-known for Tony-winning Broadway successes in Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979) and Blithe Spirit (2009), and Oscar-nominated film duties in Gaslight (1944), The picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Having emigrated to the United states in 1940 at period 14, she do the decision to go back to Europe along with her second husband, Peter Shaw, and their two youngsters in 1970, this time to the quieter life of ar Cork, Ireland. The decision to transplant the household to a more rural setting, away from the Hollywood life, was made adhering to hip surgical procedure for Shaw, a heroin overdose by child Anthony and also subsequent coma, daughter Deirdre’s involvement through members that the Manson household cult and the devastation of your Malibu home by fire.

But Broadway beckoned as soon as again in 1973. Lansbury hesitated when offered the duty of Mama increased in a revival of Gypsy, follow to Playbill. To be the musical precious transplanting herself and family back throughout the Atlantic and away from their ireland idyll? A year later Lansbury opened up in Gypsy, receiving rave reviews and also an eventual lead actress in a musical Tony Award because that the role.

Her agents advised her against taking the role

Lansbury remained a Broadway draw for the remainder of the 1970s and also early 1980s, featuring in productions that Sweeney Todd, A tiny Family Business (1982) and also another renewal of Mame (1983) prior to Hollywood and also television attracted her come the West coast.

In 1983, Lansbury was available roles in two tv series: one a sitcom, the other a drama based about a widowed former school teacher rotate successful mystery writer and also amateur sleuth. Though her agents reportedly advised her to take it the sitcom, Lansbury select the drama and also made she debut together Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote top top September 30, 1984.

Airing generally on Sunday evenings, Murder, She Wrote aired for 12 seasons (1984 - 1996) through 264 episodes. Averaging more than 30 million viewers every week in that is prime, the series spawned four made-for-TV movies and also continues to run in syndication globally.

“I recognize why <Murder, She Wrote was a success>,” Lansbury stated in 2014. “There was never any blood, never any kind of violence. And also there was likewise a solve conclusion to a whodunnit. The jigsaw to be complete. And also I love Jessica’s everywoman character. I think that’s what made she so agree to an across-the-board audience.”


Despite gift a large hit, Lansbury never won one Emmy for he

Audiences in their millions tuned in every week to witness Lansbury as Fletcher settle the secret and help bring criminal to justice, v Lansbury taking on creating responsibilities as well as acting throughout the show’s 12-year run.

Though the duty brought financial gain, and viewers and fans taken on the character both during its initial run and also over subsequent years in syndication, Lansbury to trust the show and also her character were not constantly given the acknowledgment they deserved. At the yearly Primetime Emmy Awards, the Hollywood establishment was not rapid to bestow a statuette top top the already Oscar- and Tony-winning actress. Each year Murder, She Wrote ran, Lansbury to be nominated in the lead actress in a drama collection Emmy category. Annually she lost.

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“It pissed me off!” she told the Radio Times in 2017 of the lack of recognition. “Because I just didn’t include up at all in Hollywood. Everywhere else in the U.S., Murder, She Wrote was huge, but not in Hollywood — no, no, no, castle didn’t desire to know. Ns wasn’t upset… well, i was upset, really. It rankled me. I can’t say it didn’t.”

Despite her disappointment in the absence of compensation recognition, Lansbury still looks earlier fondly on her time on the show and also her character.

“It was a slice of my career the was totally unconnected come anything the I had done before,” Lansbury called in 2018. “Making Jessica Fletcher the character I finished up play took me number of years. She started off a tiny bit goofy, however I finally made her a woman of mine age and of mine intellect. Ns think the is what made her such an appealing character that the world — because she was someone that civilization could understand and make part of your lives.”