The late, widely beloved Angela Lansbury holds a unique place in the pop culture firmament as a performer who sustained a nearly eight-decade career filled with triumphs in film, on stage, on television, and even in animation. She was an adventurous actress who never shied from fitting herself into a dizzying assortment of characters. Yet while her talents were deeply respected and earned her an assortment of accolades, it was her late-life TV role as Murder, She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher—in tone and manner likely the closest to Lansbury’s actual persona—that made her a genuine icon.
It’s difficult to conjure up another performer who’s engendered such career-spanning goodwill as Lansbury, who performed until the very twilight of her life: her final film, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, will be released in November. The A.V. Club offers a look at some of her signature roles, and the unconventional choices she made along the way.