Actress Angela Lansbury is best known for the 12 years she spent portraying the crime-solving Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote. But there are some real-life mysteries that take longer than an hour to solve.
When Lansbury was only 19 years old, she married British actor Richard Cromwell, who’s best known for his roles in films like Jezebel, Young Mr. Lincoln, and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (via AmoMama). Cromwell was 15 years Lansbury’s senior, but, at the time, she couldn’t help but feel drawn to him.
“I found him such an attractive individual, a very glamorous person — he knew everybody, he was a friend of Joan Crawford’s, these people who I was fascinated by as a young actress,” Lansbury would later recall. However, she’d later admit that the relationship was a mistake — and not just because of their age difference.
“I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man,” Lansbury admitted.
Nine months after the pair eloped in 1945 in Independence, California, the marriage was over (via Logo). In fact, Cromwell ended it Berger from Sex and the City style, with a note that read, “I’m sorry, darling, I can’t go on” (via YouTube).
However, in spite of their separation, the two remained friends until Cromwell passed away from cancer in 1960.
Finding love with Peter Shaw
Of her first marriage, Lansbury would later reflect and say, “It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman. But I don’t regret it, and I’m sorry for the sadness that it caused him down the road… [when] he realized he couldn’t fulfil his function” (via Radio Times).
By 1949, Lansbury was remarried — this time to fellow Brit Peter Shaw, who, at various points in his career, worked as a talent agent for the William Morris Agency, a studio executive, and a co-executive producer on Murder, She Wrote (via The New York Times).
The two were married for 54 years before Shaw’s death in 2003.
“We had the perfect relationship. Not many people can say that. He was everything to me: We were partners at work, as well as husband and wife and lovers. I don’t know how we had such a long marriage, but the simple fact was that we were devoted to one another,” Lansbury said of their union (via Fabiosa).
Looks like — at least for Lansbury — the second time was the charm.
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