Angela Lansbury in London to mark her famous ‘people’s champion’ grandfather
Hollywood star Angela Lansbury spoke of her grandfather as a larger-than-life figure when she addressed a congregation of 200 packed into a small church in London’s East End to celebrate the life of ‘People’s champion George Lansbury.
Family and descendants arrived from all over the country and abroad for the unveiling of a plaque at Bow Church on Saturday.
It is the 90th year since the rebel Mayor of Poplar was jailed along with 29 other councillors for refusing to levy an inequitable tax on the poor—the polltax of its day.
But to his granddaughter Angela, best known to modern audiences for her 12-year run as writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in ‘Murder, She Wrote’, her latest role was recounting personal memories to the congregation of the ‘people’s champion’ who took on the establishment.
He went on to be an MP and eventually joined Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government in the 1930s—but felt uncomfortable in a chauffeur-driven Ministerial car.
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He was being driven down Oxford Street, Angela recounted, when a bus driver recognised him and stopped to shake his hand, causing a traffic jam.
The service was a grand family reunion for the Lansbury clan. A 12-year-old great, great, great grandson lit a memorial candle to his famous ancestor. He had travelled down from Cumbria with his family. Others came from France, America and as far as Australia.
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The service ended with the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, which was sung at George Lansbury’s funeral in 1940.
Angela, a star of the Big Screen over seven decades, sat down to tea and scones afterwards with her brother Phillip. They discussed the motives behind the man they came to remember—as if in a scene, she joked, from ‘Murder, She Wrote.’