Legendary actress Angela Lansbury who passed away earlier this week was known to have spent many happy years in Cork, a place she considered a home away from home.
Born in London in October 1925, Lansbury was keen to follow her Belfast-born mother, Moyna Macgill, onto the stage and trained at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art.
As the Blitz began to ravage London in 1940, Lansbury’s mother decided to move her family to the United States where Lansbury studied acting in New York City.
Following her studies, she moved to Hollywood with her mother in 1942 and was quickly cast in the movie Gaslight for which she earned a Best Supporting Actress Nomination at the Oscars for her role as a maid.
Best known for playing Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV show Murder She Wrote, she went on to star in more than 60 films and a long list of critically- acclaimed theatrical productions.
Throughout her career which spanned over 75 years, she received five Tony awards and six Golden Globes, as well as being nominated for numerous accolades.
One of the first stars to choose Cork as a home away from home, Lansbury had a long association with Cork and had two houses in the county over the years.
Wanting to get away from Los Angeles, she moved to the village of Conna with her late husband Peter Shaw and their children in the early 1970s.
More recently, she lived outside Ballycotton, where the people were instrumental in forging her strong connection to Ireland.
She was previously quoted as saying she spent some of her happiest years in Ireland with her husband and their children.
"My grandmother, who came from Belfast, used to come to Cork every winter because it was warmer down here," she told NewsTalk radio.
One of the reasons I thought [of Cork] was that, if we're going to live in Ireland, we want to try and live in a climate that is a little less difficult and sharp and cold, such as the north or Dublin, which is a good deal colder than Cork.
During her time in Cork, she agreed to help out the Everyman Theatre, which was moving from Castle Street to Father Mathew Hall in 1972.
Throughout the summer of 1972, a volunteer army worked for Everyman to redecorate and recondition the 420-seat theatre.
A public appeal raised £12,000 for the effort. On November 1, 1972, The Everyman Playhouse was officially opened by Lansbury. The opening show was Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man directed by John O’Shea.
John O’Shea, a founder member of Cork’s Everyman Theatre, was a beneficiary of Lansbury’s generosity when she agreed to help out with the theatre.
Lansbury died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 96, her family confirmed in a statement on Tuesday evening.
The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 AM today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday.
"In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great-grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury.
"She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined,” the family’s statement read.