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Year: 2013 (86th) Academy Awards
Category: Honorary Award
Winner: To Angela Lansbury, an entertainment icon who has created some of cinema's most memorable characters, inspiring generations of actors.
Presenter: Emma Thompson, Geoffrey Rush, Robert Osborne
Date & Venue: November 16, 2013; The Governors Awards (Ray Dolby Ballroom, Hollywood & Highland Center)
Oh, you have no idea. Oh my God. Oh, this is so marvelous. Thank you. Oh, this is amazing; what an incredible moment. Gosh. What an eleven o'clock number! Oh wow.
You know, when I was first asked by the Academy who I would like to introduce me, I thought carefully and I came to a conclusion that the one person who really knew about my early work was Robert, Robert Osborne. I mean, so many of the legendary directors and producers who gave me such incredible opportunities in film, they were long gone, you know. I was still around. But thanks to Turner Classic Movies and Robert those great films are shown and studied and discussed by students everywhere, as well as seen by a huge general audience. So, thank you, TMC, and thank you, Robert, for keeping me alive all these years. [Laughs]
Emma, bless your heart. "Aunt Adelaide" was a wonderful moment for me because I had sort of pulled out completely of everything when my darling husband Peter died. And you, by inviting me to play the dreaded "Aunt Adelaide," you simply helped me get back on track. And I am incredibly indebted to you for that.
You know, during the long course of my career in film and television and theater I have known and worked with the very best of their time. You know, Ingrid Bergman, that beautiful, lovely woman. Bette Davis, crazy, wonderful dame. Kate Hepburn, [makes a growling noise] you know...I give her credit, really, for getting me into the part...she really got me the part in "State of the Union." I don't think I ever would have got it without her help. And, you know, people like Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier and Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman and Spencer Tracy. James Earl Jones, who I just completed a six-month tour of "Driving Miss Daisy" in Australia with; which was a fantastic experience. And I must tell you, I even had coffee in the MGM commissary with Clark Gable. That's as far as it went, you understand. But we were on the lot together. I once saw him driving down Sunset Blvd., I'll never forget, in a dark brown Mercedes convertible. I never got over it. And when I could afford it I got the same car in dark brown [laughs] and drove it for years until it was stolen.
But how would I have even begun my career in "Gaslight" without the belief of the great directors of that time, in that case, of course, George Cukor. Or Arthur [sic] Lewin in "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Or been given the incredible role of "Mrs. Iselin" in "The Manchurian Candidate" by the great John Frankenheimer, whose widow is here with me tonight, bless her heart. And I'm so proud that she is. I just couldn't top that role, so I took off for Broadway and musical comedy by way of Stephen Sondheim's "Anyone Can Whistle" and Jerry Herman's "Mame."
Now, movies have taken a bit of a back seat since then, except of course for darling "Mrs. Potts" and "Eglantine Price." But in 1984, I came back to Universal City and I stayed around for twelve years playing "Jessica Fletcher" in "Murder, She Wrote." The interesting thing is that "Murder, She Wrote" has given me more worldwide attention than any role I ever played in movies or on the stage [laughs]. And it's a wonderful thing to be known, you know, in Spain and Portugal and Paris and France and Germany and everywhere, and, you know, to have a whole kind of worldwide career. That's what television does for you if have a hit show, and we did.
You know, you can't imagine how happy and proud, indeed I feel really undeserving of this gorgeous golden chap. And I want to thank the Governors' Honorary Oscar from the Academy tonight, and to be here in the company of my beloved family and friends instead of sitting, shivering with hope and then disappointment in Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the 1940s and 60s – yeah. Sharing this wonderful occasion with me tonight are my twin brothers Edgar and Bruce Lansbury, who traveled with me and our mother Moyna to this great country as evacuees from England in 1940. And my sons Anthony and David, and my darling daughter Deirdre, and my wonderful grandchildren Peter, Katherine and Ian. Let me tell ya, it doesn't get much better than that. Thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]