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Angela Lansbury's first role nabs her an Oscar nomination

Angela Lansbury, everybody's favorite TV detective and star of an eclectic body of stage and film work, died Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just shy of her 97th birthday.
Her long career began in the movies when the "Murder, She Wrote" actress was a teenager. She was just 17 when she got the role of sharp-tongued Cockney maid Nancy in 1944's "Gaslight." It was her first movie, and she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In "Gaslight" -- which coined the term "gaslighting" -- Ingrid Bergman is the wife who fears she is going mad in Victorian London, "helped" along by her new husband played by Charles Boyer. Directed by George Cukor, Lansbury's character is the right amount of cheeky and creepy, so much so that the audience doesn't know at first if she's in on the psychological torture.

The character of Nancy flirts shamelessly with Boyer's character while she's disparages Bergman as the new wife, all while projecting a sexual manipulative and dangerous air.   

Although she would go on to play a variety of characters on stage and screen, many of her most popular roles would be of sympathetic "nice" types. But no one does creepy evil better than an actor who plays against their type. And seeing Lansbury in a sinister role is delicious fun.

Her performance was praised by the critics. In a roundup of contemporary reviews of Lansbury in "Gaslight," according to TCM:

"Louella Parsons commented in her Los Angeles Examiner review of the film that Lansbury, an "English refugee girl of 17...shows great promise as an actress." The Hollywood Reporter reviewer also noted that Lansbury showed "great promise," while the Daily Variety reviewer announced that Lansbury scored "a hit.""

A sampling of some of the dialogue between Lansbury's Nancy and Charles Boyer's character:
Gregory Anton: And whom are you going to the music hall with?
Nancy Oliver: A gentleman friend, sir.
Gregory Anton: Oh, now you know, Nancy, don't you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.
Nancy Oliver: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself -- when I want to.