How Angela Lansbury Rescued Her Daughter From 'Crowd Led By Charles Manson'

The "Murder, She Wrote" actor, who died this week at 96, confronted intense real-life drama when her family lived in Los Angeles.

Actor Angela Lansbury, who died this week at age 96, enjoyed a fabulous career that included prime-time TV success on “Murder, She Wrote.” She played a mystery writer who solved crimes where she lived in Maine.

But the longtime performer faced real-life evil when she and her family lived in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Both her kids, Anthony and Deirdre Shaw, got addicted to hard drugs in their teens, and Deirdre began to follow cult leader Charles Manson, Lansbury said.

“There were factions up in the hills above Malibu that were dedicated to deadly pursuits,” Lansbury said in a chilling 2014 Daily Mail interview that has resurfaced since her death on Tuesday.

“It pains me to say it but, at one stage, Deidre was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson,” she continued. “She was one of many youngsters who knew him ― and they were fascinated. He was an extraordinary character, charismatic in many ways, no question about it.”

Angela Lansbury and Charles Manson
Angela Lansbury and Charles Manson

Manson later earned infamy for masterminding the headline-grabbing murders of pregnant actor Sharon Tate and six others by members of the so-called Manson family on two straight nights in August 1969.

Lansbury figured the best way to address her children’s problems was to get the heck out of LA. She, husband Peter Shaw and the kids moved to a house Lansbury found in Ireland’s County Cork ― “somewhere my children wouldn’t be exposed to any more bad influences.” She said she refused acting gigs for a year to stay at home.

The strategy worked.

“Anthony pulled right out of his bad habits quite quickly,” she said at the time. “It took Deidre a little longer but she finally got married and she and her husband now live in Los Angeles, where they run their own Italian restaurant.”

Angela Lansbury and daughter Deirdre Shaw at the 1991 Emmy Awards.
Angela Lansbury and daughter Deirdre Shaw at the 1991 Emmy Awards.
Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images

Lansbury was convinced the change of scenery did the trick. A doctor helped with drug withdrawal.

“I have no doubt we would have lost one or both of our two if they hadn’t been removed to a completely different milieu, the simplicity of life in Ireland,” she told the tabloid.

Actress Angela Lansbury, husband Peter Shaw and son Anthony Shaw in 1979.
Actress Angela Lansbury, husband Peter Shaw and son Anthony Shaw in 1979.
Ron Galella via Getty Images

Anthony Shaw also married and went on to a career in TV, directing several episodes of his mother’s hit series, according to IMDB.

Deirdre and Anthony, along with Lansbury’s stepson David, announced their mother’s death in a simple statement: “The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday.”

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