Angela Lansbury, whose musical theatre career is book-ended by performances in two Stephen Sondheim musicals—Anyone Can Whistle in 1964 and the 2009 Tony-nominated revival of A Little Night Music—spoke exclusively to Playbill following the November 26 passing of the legendary composer-lyricist.
Five-time Tony winner Lansbury, who also sensationally created the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd and played Rose in the 1974 Broadway revival of Sondheim, Jule Styne, and Arthur Laurents' Gypsy, told Playbill, "I was so sorry to hear about Stephen. I am so infinitely grateful because, as he liked to jokingly remind me, he was really responsible for launching my career in the theatre. The first show we did together was Anyone Can Whistle. Then, we did Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, and A Little Night Music.
"He was so brilliant and talented," Lansbury added, "and not only did he have a great impact on my life, but also on the lives and careers of so many others that had the good fortune to work with him, while bringing joy to the countless number of people all over the world who saw his shows and listened to his wonderful music and lyric. I will miss his friendship and presence in my life."
Stage and screen star Lansbury won her Tony Awards for her performances in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Gypsy as well as Blithe Spirit, Dear World, and Mame. Lansbury, who made her Broadway debut in 1957 in Hotel Paradiso, was most recently on Broadway in the 2012 Michael Wilson-directed revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man.