'My family is my biggest joy': Angela Lansbury on becoming a great grandmother and her final TV project

Angela Lansbury talked family and her final TV project with woman&home in an exclusive interview in 2017

Honoree Angela Lansbury accepts honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Following the sad news of Angela Lansbury's death, aged 96, on October 11, 2022, we take a look back at her exclusive interview with woman&home in 2017 ahead of her final TV project - a BBC One adaptation of Little Women.

Best known for her role as Jessica Fletcher, the feisty detective in the TV series Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury's career spanned an incredible seven decades.

At the age of 92, she returned to our screens as Aunt March in the three-part BBC One adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel Little Women. Set against the backdrop of a country divided by Civil War, the story follows four sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March on their journey from childhood to adulthood.

Angela had two grown-up children, Anthony and Deidre, with the late actor Peter Shaw, and divided her time between homes in Los Angeles and Ireland. Here she told woman&home about her 'hard-edged' role, working into her nineties, and her joy at becoming a great-grandmother...

Angela Lansbury holds a book in publicity portrait for the television series 'Murder, She Wrote', Circa 1984.

(Image credit: CBS/Getty Images)

We've all seen versions of Little Women before, but there's something particularly special about this one. 

Angela: Right now, women are playing such an active role in every aspect of life, from politics to sport - we're having our moment - and that's reflected in this production. Women have been on board in every area from the writing by Heidi Thomas [Call the Midwife] to the directing by Vanessa Caswill [Thirteen]. It means we're going to see certain qualities and representations of women that haven't been seen before. And it's about time too.

My character, Aunt March (pictured above), is an awfully hard-edged old girl. 

Angela: She's very particular, hard to please, and often quick-tempered. But she's also incredibly strong, like all the March women who manage to keep going through this very difficult period in history - and I do admire that. I think all of us women share that quality, even if we don't realize it.

It's so easy to become pigeonholed, but I'm a big believer that you have to be prepared to jump when you have the opportunity to do something a bit different. 

Angela: Perhaps that's why, at 91 [Angela's age when we spoke to her], I'm still working! I've made a point in my career of doing things that make some people say, "Oh no, I definitely don't want to do that." Because sometimes it just feels right, even if it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. We should never be afraid to be adventurous.

One of the biggest joys for me right now is my family. 

Angela: I've just become a great-grandma for the first time (it's my grandson Peter's first child) - now that feels pretty wonderful. And of course, I'm doing all the spoiling. If there's one thing I want more time for at this stage of my life, it's them.

Nathalie Whittle

Natalie Whittle is a British journalist specialising in celebrity content in the women's lifestyle sector. She previously held the role of Celebrity Director at Woman & Home and has also worked at Prima, Red & Good Housekeeping.