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Balancing ACT: The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury

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Few actresses command such unqualified affection as Angela Lansbury. For more than fifty years she has appeared in classic films (The Manchurian Candidate), in musicals (Gypsy, Sweeney Todd), and, of course, on television for twelve seasons in Murder, She Wrote. She has won five Tonys and has been nominated for three Oscars and twelve Emmys.Balancing Act is Lansbury's triu Few actresses command such unqualified affection as Angela Lansbury. For more than fifty years she has appeared in classic films (The Manchurian Candidate), in musicals (Gypsy, Sweeney Todd), and, of course, on television for twelve seasons in Murder, She Wrote. She has won five Tonys and has been nominated for three Oscars and twelve Emmys.Balancing Act is Lansbury's triumphant story, in which she has cooperated with noted theater writer and critic Martin Gottfried. Lansbury became established by her late teens in films like The Picture of Dorian Gray. While her career flourished, she was frustrated by continually playing supporting roles, until the musical Mame made her a major star. A string of stage successes followed, and she went on to conquer television in Murder, She Wrote. In Balancing Act Lansbury appears frequently in her own wry voice, sharing thoughts on everything from acting to gardening to her difficulties with raising her children. Here in all its color and drama is the inspiring story of a woman who has truly become a national institution.


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Few actresses command such unqualified affection as Angela Lansbury. For more than fifty years she has appeared in classic films (The Manchurian Candidate), in musicals (Gypsy, Sweeney Todd), and, of course, on television for twelve seasons in Murder, She Wrote. She has won five Tonys and has been nominated for three Oscars and twelve Emmys.Balancing Act is Lansbury's triu Few actresses command such unqualified affection as Angela Lansbury. For more than fifty years she has appeared in classic films (The Manchurian Candidate), in musicals (Gypsy, Sweeney Todd), and, of course, on television for twelve seasons in Murder, She Wrote. She has won five Tonys and has been nominated for three Oscars and twelve Emmys.Balancing Act is Lansbury's triumphant story, in which she has cooperated with noted theater writer and critic Martin Gottfried. Lansbury became established by her late teens in films like The Picture of Dorian Gray. While her career flourished, she was frustrated by continually playing supporting roles, until the musical Mame made her a major star. A string of stage successes followed, and she went on to conquer television in Murder, She Wrote. In Balancing Act Lansbury appears frequently in her own wry voice, sharing thoughts on everything from acting to gardening to her difficulties with raising her children. Here in all its color and drama is the inspiring story of a woman who has truly become a national institution.

30 review for Balancing ACT: The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Interesting read, though it's essentially an as-told-to memoir. It's a time piece, and I hope she gets a fuller biography at some point.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jack Robinson

    A fantastic read! I adore Angela Lansbury and reading about her illustrious career was fascinating. I've always been interested in her theatre career, especially Mame and Gypsy and was extremely absorbed by the chapter that charted her stage career as well as the years doing Murder, She Wrote. I think that the books is well written but that because the information comes from a variety of sources, the reader is made to listen to the numerous times she wasn't taken seriously or was overlooked. Esp A fantastic read! I adore Angela Lansbury and reading about her illustrious career was fascinating. I've always been interested in her theatre career, especially Mame and Gypsy and was extremely absorbed by the chapter that charted her stage career as well as the years doing Murder, She Wrote. I think that the books is well written but that because the information comes from a variety of sources, the reader is made to listen to the numerous times she wasn't taken seriously or was overlooked. Especially her years in Hollywood and how it forced her into roles she may not have wanted to do but felt a necessity to do so. Until Sweeny Todd it doesn't feel like she was really looked at seriously and praised even though she had won and been nominated for awards by that point. Even in Mame that is quintessential Angela Lansbury, she was criticized a lot and overlooked for the film. I think that as an admirer of her, this was hard to hear and you feel her frustration at the business and can empathize with her and the choices she made. I have to say a really fantastic biography of a truly exceptional woman. I shall be interested to read more by Martin Gottfried in the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Em

    Subtitled ‘The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury’ I’m not at all sure what to write about this book other than it’s nice, pleasant but not at all exciting – perhaps like the lady herself? That is not a dig, or it would be a dig at myself because I’m quite similar to the lady in many ways. Like her I was never the ingénue and rarely the leading lady. Like her I enjoyed singing and doing musicals better than plays. And an even a more odd similarity is that she writes letters for people and c Subtitled ‘The Authorized Biography of Angela Lansbury’ I’m not at all sure what to write about this book other than it’s nice, pleasant but not at all exciting – perhaps like the lady herself? That is not a dig, or it would be a dig at myself because I’m quite similar to the lady in many ways. Like her I was never the ingénue and rarely the leading lady. Like her I enjoyed singing and doing musicals better than plays. And an even a more odd similarity is that she writes letters for people and crafts them in much the same way I have done, writing carefully composed drafts and then copying the final version to mail and saving the original, perhaps because it’s a controlled complete conversation without interruption; communication from my edited self, written to please, but not say too much or the wrong thing. I’ve admired her work endlessly – ‘State of the Union’, ‘The Long Hot Summer’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’ and especially ‘Sweeny Todd’. That although she went through droughts in her career she stuck at it, balanced it with marriage and family until better roles came along, like ‘Mame’ and then ‘Murder, She Wrote’

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lkelly6

    Martin Gottfried writes an interesting biography of a lovely woman. Unlike most “celebrity” biographies, this one offers no scurrilous gossip or innuendos or scandal-mongering. Instead this book presents the details of how Angela became an actress and how she prepared for her many different kinds of roles: stage, movies, television, musical comedy. It seems that she was not a natural for any of these, but using the talents she had and working really hard to adapt, she managed to succeed all arou Martin Gottfried writes an interesting biography of a lovely woman. Unlike most “celebrity” biographies, this one offers no scurrilous gossip or innuendos or scandal-mongering. Instead this book presents the details of how Angela became an actress and how she prepared for her many different kinds of roles: stage, movies, television, musical comedy. It seems that she was not a natural for any of these, but using the talents she had and working really hard to adapt, she managed to succeed all around. Furthermore, she remained loyal and steadfast to her husband and children. I highly recommend reading this fine book of life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I doggedly read this to the end because of my love for Angela, but have to say it's not very well written and can be a bit hard to follow for those of us not steeped in the worlds of film and theater. It seems like a thorough chronicle of her career, but definitely raises more questions than it answers about the rest of her life. On the whole, I'm glad I read it and learned quite a bit, but it took a while to get there. Now to recover with some episodes of Murder, She Wrote...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin Mullen

    I really enjoyed this book very much. As a great fan of Angela Lansbury I was excited to learn lots of little tidbits about someone I thought I already knew so much about. The only reason I gave this 4 stars rather than 5 is that the occasional paragraph seemed out of place from those around it. Overall, I really like this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    If you're interested in Angela Lansbury's childhood and early movie career, you'll enjoy this book which was written some time ago and isn't, unfortunately, as up to date as one might hope. Despite that, I would recommend the book for its antidotes on everything from "Sweeney Todd" to "Murder, She Wrote".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I've always loved Angela Lansbury and I loved learning more about her. =) Excellent writing, as well. It was fun and interesting to read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tevlin

    Does not really paint a nice portrait of Angela Lansbury. Would not recommend to anyone thinking this will be all sugary.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I read the book and loved it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Bengel

    Great book about a fascinating lady. And when you're done all 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote are on Netflix!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine

    Very well written biography of Angela Lansbury. What an interesting woman.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is an older book,but if you are interested in the life of Angela Lansbury you will find this one interesting. Her background is not like anything you would expect.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kay

    If you enjoy this incredible woman's stage and movie presence (Sweeny Todd, The Manchurian Candidate) you'll enjoy this book. An incredible talent. I love her!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason Fehlen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Keroson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Montana Gray

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patty Murray

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsay

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dana P. Rowe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jay Lesiger

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erik

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucy D

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas

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