Lansbury, who played a mystery writer on the American television series the crime reporter (Murder, She Wrote), “died peacefully in his sleep” at his home in Los Angeles, according to a statement released by his children.
The actress was just five days shy of her 97th birthday, according to the statement.
On film, Lansbury turned in riveting supporting performances, including her feature film debut as a teenager playing the scheming Cockney maid in The dying light (gas light) in 1944, as the doomed Sibyl in The portrait of Dorian Gray in 1945 and as the evil and manipulative Laurence in the ambassador of fear (The Manchurian Candidate) in 1962.
All three roles earned him Academy Award nominations.
Almost seven decades after his first film, he received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement at age 88 in November 2013. Academy Award winners Geoffrey Rush and Emma Thompson paid tribute to Lansbury at the ceremony.
Rush praised it as the “living definition of rank”, while Thompson recalled throwing a pie at Lansbury during the filming of the 2005 comedy Nanny McPhee.
“I feel really unworthy of this beautiful boy,” Lansbury said, referring to the gold Oscar statuette she was presented with.
His other film credits include National Velvet (1944), The Dark At the Top of the Stairs (1960), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and The Mirror Crack’d (1980).
Lansbury won five Tony Awards for her Broadway performances as Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother, Mama Rose, in gypsythe human meat pie cook in Sweeney ToddCountess Aurelia in dear world and clairvoyant Madame Arcati in cheerful spirit.
Lansbury maintained a grueling acting schedule well into the 1980s, appearing on Broadway in 2012 in The Best Man alongside his octogenarian colleague James Earl Jones.