By Angela Lansbury
Veteran actor and beloved American icon Angela Lansbury, star of such projects as “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and the long-running television show “Murder, She Wrote,” will periodically share her reflections on a lifetime spent in the Hollywood spotlight.
That long departed Dutch dullard Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards.” It seems reflection is indeed a vital part of life, especially when you’ve lived the life of yours truly. Sure, you no doubt reflect on my life and career and call to mind my memorable turn as “Miss Marple” in “The Mirror Crack’d.” Or perhaps you recall my scene-stealing sojourn into supporting acting in “The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders”?
Of course you do, darlings. But my own reflections have little to do with looking back on my 1971 Golden Globe nomination for my riotous rendering of “Countess Herthe von Ornstein” in “Something for Everyone” or my 1975 Tony Award®-winning take on “Rose” in Arthur Laurents’ “Gypsy.” All you nostalgianiks out there may find this particular truth somewhat troublesome, but ol’ Angie is less likely to dwell on her 1979 BAFTA Award nomination for “Death on the Nile” than she is to reflect on dining with kings, horseback riding with oil barons and, of course, making love to the late Eli Wallach.
You see, as an icon of stage and screens big and small, I have lived a rather remarkable life, one that’s about much more than my 2007 “Favorite Lady Gumshoe” TV Land Award for my iconic portrayal of “Jessica Fletcher” on “Murder, She Wrote.” And over the course of my nearly 90 years on this spinning block of granite we call “Earth,” I have enjoyed many a memorable evening. But no sunset in the south of France or standing ovation on The Great White Way can compare to the night Eli Wallach and I engaged in some rather frenzied frolicking in and about my Park Avenue townhouse.
Of course I won’t get into every little depraved detail. After all, I’m as much a lady now as I was when I won my first National Board of Review Award for playing the ever-quarrelsome “Annabell Willart” in 1962’s “All Fall Down.” And ladies never tell. But suffice to say Eli was an energetic man of appetites, and when he set his signature bug-eyes on your bloomers, why you were up a brook without a butler, my dear.
Yes, Eli was quite the piéce de pérsistance when it came to finding his way into my inexpressibles. Admittedly, I was initially as averse to Eli’s advances as I was at accepting that Honorary Academy Award bestowed on me earlier this very year. But much like resisting the Academy’s efforts to recognize my status as an icon of the silver screen ultimately proved futile, so, too, did my initial rebuffs of Eli’s affections.
And now that I have reached that stage of life where I can reflect on how far I have come since I first caught filmgoers’ fancy in 1944 with my delightful depiction of “Edwina Brown” in “National Velvet,” I have only myself to thank for caving to Eli’s considerable charisma. For while Eli might have been small in stature, his drill was more than equipped to handle that most hallowed of honeypots. C’est la vie!