Angela Lansbury’s Cork hideaway

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | February 20, 2016 22

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HOLLYWOOD star Angela Lansbury has spoken of her love for Ireland saying that she loves nothing better than a good cup of Barry’s tea to “really get me off and running”.
The 90-year-old Murder She Wrote star, who is an Irish citizen, owns a home in Co Cork and has a long association with the county.

Her career has spanned 75 years and she has starred in more than 60 films, a long list of critically-acclaimed theatrical productions, not to mention her much-loved portrayal of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote, the longest-running detective drama series in TV history. angela-lansbury-n

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Angela Lansbury with Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House at the screening of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’

On the way, she has picked up five Tony awards and six Golden Globes. More recently, she has become something of a pop culture icon, with one Twitter account, Lansbury Reactions, chronicling Jessica Fletcher’s many inimitable expressions in GIF form. Her achievements will be celebrated at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival this weekend, where she will receive the festival tribute award, the Volta.

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Angela Lansbury with her children Anthony and Deirdre in Conna, Co. Cork

Fame came quickly for Lansbury when she was cast in Gaslight aged just 17; she received an Oscar nomination for her role as cockney maid Nancy. “I was wrapping Christmas gifts in a department store one minute, then playing opposite Ingrid Bergman the next. It was little short of a miracle,” she said.

aldoriangreyALautographal3musketeersLansbury was then cast in The Picture Of Dorian Gray, for which she also received an Oscar nod. She became friends with the actor who played the title role, Hurd Hatfield — like Lansbury, he later went on to become a resident of Cork. Lansbury moved first to the village of Conna with husband Peter Shaw and their children in the early 1970s. Lansbury has spoken about how she wanted to get away from Los Angeles as her son Anthony had become addicted to drugs and her daughter Deirdre had fallen in with the Manson family.

Her paternal grandfather, George Lansbury, was an MP and leader of the Labour Party. Her father Edgar, a timber merchant, died when Angela was just nine, prompting her mother to move to the US with Angela, her twin brothers, and her half-sister (who later married Peter Ustinov).

Lansbury, who moved from the US to Ireland in the 1970s and until recently, lived outside the town of Ballycotton in Co Cork, added:  “I’m a bit Irish too you know, I have a house in Ireland and I go every year. I’m discovering my roots. My mother was born there, and my grandparents on that side of the family. I’m very, very comfortable there; I find it an extraordinarily warm and informal place to live. I’m left alone there. On the street people say, ‘hi how are you,’ and I say ‘I’m grand how are you?’ It’s a very easy going place to be and I love Ireland for that reason.”

She added that she spent many happy years in Ireland with her late husband, Peter, and children Deirdre and Anthony, and explained that they built the house in Cork “on the order of an old-fashioned Irish farmhouse.”She was born to an Irish mother – actress Moyna Macgill – in London in 1925 and recently became a Dame in the New Year’s Honours list following the approval of the Irish Government.

“It really gets me off and running.”London born actress Angela Lansbury, well known for her role in the film Murder, She Wrote, had her house built in the southeast coast in County Cork, Ireland. She designed it in collaboration with a family friend potter Stephen Pearce inspired by the traditional farmhouse style house he had built in Shangarry. The result is a serene and inviting home. alrustic-bedroomALhouse ALhouse2 ALHouseHall

alrustic-entrance-hall-county-cork-irelandThe white, one-story structure with the slate roof is timeless in its rudimentary simplicity yet almost modern in its abstraction. Walls bow slightly, as though they had settled over time. “ It sits there like a loaf of bread,” says Lansbury. “ We didn’t want to bring stuff over from London,” she says. “ We wanted to use Irish materials—Irish wood crafted by Irish woodworkers, and Irish linen. The draperies are horse blankets.” The ceramics were potted by Pearce.

She confirms the architectural simplicity by leaving the white walls bare. “ My husband never let me hang pictures because, he said, the windows are the pictures,” she recalls. “ The weather here changes the light so dramatically on the walls that you feel you’ re on a set. It’ s an artist’s dream house, full of lightness and brightness. It’s roomy, but it still feels cozy. It envelops me.”

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In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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