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Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones Hit The Stage

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Angela Lansbury has spent most of her life either onstage or in front of a camera, and while she made plenty of fans with the long-running mystery “Murder, She Wrote”, she says she was ready to move away from film and television acting when a golden opportunity came along.

The 87-year old won a plum role in the Australian touring production of “Driving Miss Daisy”, alongside fellow veteran actor James Earl Jones. She says it wasn’t hard to return to the stage, because she’s had a love for it for so long.

“Coming back to the theater about seven years ago turned the tide for me, it really did. Because it gave me a career after 70,” she said. “I could still work in the theater and play great roles, but it wasn’t so easy to continue as a motion picture actress. Which I was very glad of — I didn’t like the way we were making movies … the kind of roles I would like to play didn’t seem to exist. But I love the theater and, as it turned out, it was the thing to do.”

As for Jones, he says he was excited to tackle a role which he knew would hit relatively close to home. Hoke, played by Morgan Freeman in the film version, is illiterate. Jones–who has become so infamous for his distinctive voice (he is, after all, the voice of Darth Vader)–suffered from a debilitating stutter as a child and rarely spoke before his teens.

“Hoke Colburn is such a character. He’s illiterate, but he speaks English … and uses it very effectively and very poetically,” Jones said. “That’s what I love about the role, trying to understand how he re-weaves language so he gets himself across.”

Both actors have worked together before in a stage production of “The Best man”. “Driving Miss Daisy”–which won writer Alfred Uhry a Pulitzer Prize, opens next month in Australia.

Image: Bruce Glikas

Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones Hit The Stage
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  • http://yahoo.com Sandra

    Love both of them. Wish i could be in Australia to see the play…

  • Carolyn Connally

    I am so glad to see Angela Lansbury active again. A few years ago I remember seeing her looking weak and shaky; I thought her to be ill. There was one appearance in which she was always seated (she was a narrator or commentator, or something similar). It was a good surprize to see her narrate a PBS special on the (then) upcoming third season of Downton Abby a couple of weeks ago, and now to know that she is active on the stage. My best wishes go with her.

  • momomini

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE JAMES JONES AND ANGELA LANSBURY BOTH. MATTER OF FACT I ADORED JAMES FATHER WHEN HE PLAYED LUTHER IN THE MOVIE WITH MY TWO BEST HANDSOME MEN REDFORD AND NEWMAN IN T H E S T I N G.. IT WOULD BE SO GOOD TO SEE THIS SHOW. SENDING CONGRATS TO ALL LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE THERE. BREAK A LEG YOU TWO BUT ONLY AS IN GOOD LUCK..

  • Ray Workman

    Any producer would be lucky to have Angela Lansbury in the Company. She is one truly First Lady of the American Theatre now. Would love to see Miss Lansbury and Mr. Jones bring MISS DAISEY to San Francisco!

  • Joanie

    I loved watching “Driving Miss. Daisy”, Morgan Freeman and Angela Lansbury are two of my favorite actors along with James Earl Jones. I wish this would come to the Chicago area because I would sure pay money to see the two of them on stage in this production. This is going to be one great play! The young stars they have today do not match the these three stars from yesterday.

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