The late Dame Angela Lansbury made at least one appearance in a “dungeon-like” New York sex club, according to John Waters. With the recent news of Angela Lansbury’s death, at the age of 96, many of those who knew her and came across her have been sharing pleasant memories and reflecting on her legacy.
With her leading role in the crime drama series Murder, She Wrote Lansbury had a huge and lasting influence on the TV landscape, opening up opportunities for women where they were previously closed off. As well as her time on the TV series, Lansbury also had a fruitful movie career.
She voiced Ms Potts in the Disney animated movie Beauty and the Beast, and also starred in the fantastical kids movie Nanny McPhee. Her final movie appearance will be in Knives Out 2, harking back to her murder mystery roots.
However, for director John Waters, memories of Lansbury are a bit more risqué. Writing in his 2019 memoir, Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder (via LGBTQnation), Waters revealed that he once saw Lansbury in attendance at an infamous sex club in New York called Hellfire.
The director wrote that Lansbury was simply “checking out the scene” at the club, which he describes as appealing to “gay and straight perverts alike”. Water also shared that Lansbury was one of many famous celebrities who he saw at Hellfire. After Lansbury’s recent death, Waters spoke about the spotting once again. Speaking to PageSix he said, “[Angela] was pure class even forty years ago when these kind of clubs were all the rage. It may have been the only night she was ever there, but just her presence made Hellfire a little more welcoming.”
It’s a fun anecdote from Waters, that adds colour to the life of Lansbury and reminds us that we know far, far less about most celebrities than we think. Of course, as Waters said she might have only attended the sex club the once, and may have just been acting as a casual tourist. Either way, it’s the kind of setting which we can imagine a Murder, She Wrote story taking place in, so maybe Lansbury was just seeking out inspiration.