Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury

EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/19/12 at 11:23pm
Very good points.

I do think Ed Sullivan died off partly because of other factors--it wasn't it's death that caused those factors (if that made sense), but it definitely was one of the last times you saw that kinda thing in the mainstream (i'd be curious to know what the ratings rank was of Sullivan for its last years).

Of course before tv, radio variety shows (as well as things like all those radio versions of films and plays using New York actors) served a similar function. I have no idea if all of this was also partly effected by the extreme rise of a teen/youth culture (of course teens became something of a force to be dealt with by WWII, but...). And films themselves, up though the 60s, predominently adapted plays, often with at least some of the stage stars amongst Hollywood names, if they were adaptations--I've heard it argued more often than books, which became a much larger source over plays by the 70s.

My moher was born in 1948, but never had a TV until she was married in the 70s, and while her parents went to New York to see shows maybe every five years, she didn't closely follow them at all. Still, she knew all about the Julie Andrews thing you mention--which I assume was big news everywhere, etc. She says she dragged her friends to Mary Poppins (who all were at the age where they felt silly seeing a family movie) becaue she had heard how Julie deserved My Fair Lady.

(I have to admit, I even remember in the late 80s when the local mall CD stores I went to had seperate sections for cast albums and soundtracks--although they weren't massive, but now at the remaining CD shops we still have, you simply never find that).

CurtainPullDowner
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/04
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 12:47am
Just to flip the coin, since he's also in the title of this thread.: Many, many years ago I was working at a downtown mag and we were featuring a great new movie; DANCE WITH A STRANGER, starring Rupe and Miranda Richardson. I was assigned to take them to some clubs, they were both so young, talented and beautiful and we had so much fun, they were thrilled to be in NYC and were very gracious.
If you read Rupe's book (which is just OK), you can see he is carrying some baggage from his early years, but his recent blatherings about gay parents and such is just upsetting.
I'm not surprised that he and Angie hit it off, he was probably in awe and Angie, of course. warm and professional as always.
amoni
Broadway Star
joined:5/17/04
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 07:21am
"it took a trifle such as MURDER, SHE WROTE to make Lansbury a truly national star."

Oh Dear, you do realize that Angela Lansbury was a world wide famous movie star with three Academy Award nominations starting with her very first picture and again the very next year, before she ever stepped foot on a Broadway stage don't you? The reason her show was so successful was because fans of her generation embraced her again.
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 10:46am
Another illustration of this are the wonderful Mystery Guest segments on What's My Line? For years this was a very popular national show. Almost required Sunday night viewing. And you can see almost all of these segments on youtube, which is great fun. It's amazing how often the mystery guests were Broadway stars, often not people we would think of as big crossover celebs. Here's Lansbury's appearance while she was in in MAME. Watch Arlene Francis's glowing review of Mame at the end.
Arlene: and you're the reason for it!
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 11:09am
Everett made his biggest splash with the play and film Another Country between the age of 21-24, and has never topped that splash (although he has done respectable work).

He's tried everything, from a flop album to a flop novel, but he'll always be strictly B-list at best.

That kind of almost-top-level career can make anyone bitter and petty.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 04:59pm
For what it's worth, I thought he was among the better elements in that rather lavish but seriously unfunny SPIRIT. Well, under-funny anyway. Like Lansbury, he scored laughs and critically had the Coward style, charm and elegant presence. He was ideally cast.

He now has a reputation of saying startling-slash (…pater la gay bourgeoisie) things, exhibit A: he doesn't approve of gay parenting, in part to keep the ever-wandering spotlight on himself. Over at Huffington Post people are in a huff. But really, who cares what he feels about much of anything? Glad he likes Lansbury, though.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 09:58pm
Oh Dear, you do realize that Angela Lansbury was a world wide famous movie star with three Academy Award nominations starting with her very first picture and again the very next year, before she ever stepped foot on a Broadway stage don't you? The reason her show was so successful was because fans of her generation embraced her again.

Dude, I not only "realize" it, I have given evidence for the sort of middling stardom Angela enjoyed before she had a hit TV show.

She was a brilliant character actress who absolutely deserved her Oscar nominations. But she was not a huge box office draw until MAME, and even then only in certain cities.

She herself has talked about how MURDER SHE WROTE brought her to an entire new level of stardom, so I don't know why you are trying to argue the point. The TV series succeeded because (a) Lansbury was brilliant, of course; (b) it was generally classy for TV, and (c) it appealed to a demographic that doesn't go out much to the movies. It was most certainly not a case of fans of GASLIGHT flocking to the telly!
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 10:00pm
Eric, re Ed Sullivan: despite the famous TV debuts of Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones, TV really couldn't figure out what to do with rock 'n' roll until MTV came along in the 80s.

So Ed Sullivan's more traditional acts became increasingly irrelevant as the 60s went on. Meanwhile, the Baby Boomers weren't watching any more.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/20/12 at 11:40pm
What about American Bandstand? (I mostly kid).

I do like when they show the Ed Sullivan's attempts at filming psychedelic rock acts though, like the "trippy" clip of Light My Fire that they invariably show at PBS pledge breaks. (Ugh, it drives me crazy that so little of the great Broadway Sullivan stuff is available. I have 14 VHS tapes of the stuff that a kind person made me back when I was a teen, but haven't bothered to try to convert them yet--and I own the brief DVD they did release, promising a second volume that never happened. Blugobo.com used to have a lot of it, but the Ed Sullivan rights owners had it all taken down which is infuriating when they don't do anything with it themselves).

I think it's absolutely true that Angela Lansbury didn't become a household name until Murder, She Wrote. Was she given the role due to her performance as Miss Marple in The Mirror Crack'd? One of the last of that series of all star Agatha Christie theatrical movies that happened--most critics said she was still too young for the role, but in Murder, SHe Wrote the character in so many ways seems like an American Marple.

(And now I'm eager to watch Another Country again. I do think Everett briefly became an almost Hollywood star with My Best Friend's Wedding. I was a young teen at the time, and remember that suddenly everyone knew who he was).
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/21/12 at 10:58pm
Good point about the Marple film, Eric. I honestly don't know how Lansbury got the TV part.

But I don't mean to pretend she was unknown before MURDER. Obviously, her name was known from her Oscar nominations and she was known as an important Broadway star. And she had at least one hit for Disney in 1971 (BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS). But that film didn't lead to a plethora of film offers, because she was back on stage in the disastrous PRETTYBELLE within the year.

I only said that by the mid-1970s she was a huge draw in some cities outside New York, but not in others. Without mentioning the figure, I will say we paid her a record salary to play GYPSY in a 3,000 seat theater in Miami Beach. And she sold ever seat.

Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 04:50am
The show producers wanted Doris Day, when she declined they went to Jean Stapleton, who just lost her husband and also turned them down.
Then they offered the role to Angela Lansbury, because they loved her stage work, but Lansbury also got the offer star in Norman Lear's sitcom co-starring Charles Durning and was seriously considering to do it instead. At the end she went with Murder, She Wrote and the rest it history.

Here's an interview with Ms. Lansbury, her co-stars and show creators talking about the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZLCZq5m1P8
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 07:16am
Thank you, Will.
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 07:18am
Angela Lansbury has enjoyed a very unique career.

Yes, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her first and third films for two years in a row (which made her youngest 2-time Oscar nominee ever by the age of 20, a record she still holds) and was put in a lot prestigious films during her 8 years contract with MGM.

But unfortunately, it was a wrong studio for young Lansbury since they had no idea what to with her. She was beautiful and charismatic enough to be a leading lady and could have had a film career similar to Rosalind Russell's, Susan Hayward's or Shelley Winters', yet, Louis B. Mayer, knowing that she could do it all she, cast her in all those roles playing characters twice her real age starting with Judy Garland's The Harvey Girls (1946), where she played a saloon madam (the role was first intended for Ann Sothern and Lucille Ball).

Lansbury begged Louis B. Mayer to let her play the Lady DeWinter part in The Three Musketeers, that Lana Turner didn't want to do anyway, but he refused, insisting that she was better suited for the thankless part of Queen Anne. All of her leading roles in the 40's and 50's were made on other studios.

So prior to coming to Broadway, she was a respected and well-know character actress, but not a movie star, in a sense that she has never carried a motion picture.
I doubt that if it wasnít for her tremendous Broadway success Ms. Lansbury would have gotten leading roles in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks or Something for Everyone (underrated film and one of the best film roles). She has made only 8 films since 1970 until committing to Murder, She Wrote for 12 seasons, but they were all either leading parts of supporting roles in all-star films like Death on the Nile.

Murder, She Wrote has brought Ms. Lansbury fortune and truly universal fame, which she richly deserves.

Itís very interesting how her career has almost always been on the rise: first as 3-time Oscar nominee, then as a Broadway and TV superstar. Now she enjoys a well-deserved and earned status of a beloved living legend that has achieved so much that there is basically nothing left to proof, yet Ms. Lansbury, fortunately for all of us, is still active as ever and Iím sure has quite a few surprises left up her sleeve.
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 07:19am
You're very welcome!
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 09:59am
"She has made only 8 films since 1970 until committing to Murder"

Take the "to" out of this phrase and you could be talking about Robert Blake.

EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 01:13pm
Thanks Will, as well. SHe was probably wise to turn down the sitcom--Norman Lear seemed to run out of gas by the early 80s.
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Rupert Everett on Angela Lansbury
Posted: 9/22/12 at 01:26pm
Indeed. That comedy pilot was never picked up to series while Murder, She Wrote run for 12 years and became the longest running detective show in US history.

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