Readers will know the extensive film, television and stage work of Dame Angela Lansbury who celebrates her 90th birthday on October 16.
Simon Hart remembers that at his childhood home at Portchester in the 1980s, the family TV was constantly showing Murder, She Wrote and re-runs of her films.
He says: ‘I was the generation who learned of her work through that series and was pleased to discover all her other work.’
Simon adds: ‘I wrote to Angela Lansbury and received the iconic signed image for the series. I was thrilled by this photograph.
‘I was so inspired by the series that I volunteered for, and appeared in, an identity parade at Highland Road police station in Portsmouth, though my sleuthing is confined to historical and geneaological mysteries.’
Many of you will remember cinema lobby cards and Simon sent me one for The Reluctant Debutante from 1958 in which she starred with Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall. He believes it came from a Portsmouth cinema, but is not sure which one.
The Lansbury family does have a Portsmouth connection.
Simon says: ‘Hilsea Lido opened in 1935 and was part of the lido movement which swept the country in the 1930s. It started in 1930 with the opening of Lansbury’s Lido in Hyde Park, named after Angela Lansbury’s grandfather George Lansbury.’
He was a social reformer and politician who, as the first Commissioner of Works from 1929-31, wanted to improve public recreation facilities, hence the lido.