Angela Lansbury: “I Had No Idea I Was Marrying A Gay Man”

The legendary actress reflects on her brief marriage to actor Richard Cromwell.

Gay men have always loved Angela Lansbury—but one, actor Richard Cromwell, was so enamored by her that he married the actress.

“I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man. I found him such an attractive individual,” Lansbury said in a recent Radio Times interview.

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“He wanted to marry, he was fascinated with me, but only because of what he had seen on the screen, really.”

The two actors eloped and were married in Independence, California in 1945. Their marriage only lasted nine months, but the two remained friends until Cromwell’s death from cancer in 1960.

Cromwell was known for his roles in Hollywood classics like Jezebel with Bette Davis, and 1939’s Young Mr. Lincoln.
 

“It didn’t injure or damage me in any way, because he maintained a friendship with me and my future husband,” explained Lansbury, reflecting on the marriage.

“But it was a shock to me when it ended, I wasn’t prepared for that. It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman. But I don’t regret it.”

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Cromwell only made one public statement about their marriage, and that was pointing out one of her habits, which was drinking—tea that is. “All over the house, tea bags. In the middle of the night she’d get up and start drinking tea. It nearly drove me crazy,” he said.

Lansbury would marry producer Peter Shaw in 1949, and would they would stay married until his death in 2003.

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