Dame Angela Lansbury: ‘I had no idea I was marrying a gay man’
Dame Angela Lansbury has opened up about marrying a man she later realised was gay.
Age 19 in 1945, Dame Angela wed actor Richard Cromwell, who was 16 years older than her, during a brief ceremony in California.
The marriage lasted only nine months and the couple did not explain their reasons for parting at the time.
Speaking to Radio Times, the 92-year-old Murder, She Wrote star confirmed that her first husband had been gay.
“I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man,” she said.
“I found him such an attractive individual.
“He wanted to marry, he was fascinated with me, but only because of what he had seen on the screen, really.
“It didn’t injure or damage me in any way, because he maintained a friendship with me and my future husband [Peter Shaw].”
She added: “But it was a shock to me when it ended, I wasn’t prepared for that.
“It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman. But I don’t regret it.”
At the time Cromwell made just one comment about the failed marriage.
He told the press: “All over the house, tea bags. In the middle of the night she’d get up and start drinking tea. It nearly drove me crazy.”
While the marriage failed, the pair remained firm friends until he died age 50 in October 1960.
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Dame Angela went on to wed Peter Shaw, an English actor and producer, who she remained with from their wedding in 1949 through until his death in 2003.
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Drawing on the other books in the Mary Poppins series by PL Travers, the new story sees the magical nanny return to the Banks family during the Depression where Jane and Michael have grown up.
With children of her own, Mary has to show Michael and his children how to rediscover the fun in life.