Life wasn’t always rosy for famed Dame Angela Lansbury, the TV, film and stage actress who died Tuesday at 96.
The late “Murder She Wrote” actress opened up to the Daily Mail in 2014, outlining the time she had to pry her daughter from the clutches of Charles Manson and his California cult of drug-fueled teens.
Lansbury revealed that Deidre, now 69, had fallen in with a bad crowd and begun experimenting with drugs.
“It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin,” Lansbury said. “There were factions up in the hills above Malibu that were dedicated to deadly pursuits. It pains me to say it but, at one stage, Deidre was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson.”
Deidre was fascinated by the mass murderer’s charismatic personality and dazzled by the hippy lifestyle he espoused.
“Having learned of her daughter’s involvement with Manson’s cult of dedicated followers, Lansbury – who had two children with her husband Peter Shaw and was also stepmother to his son from a previous relationship – made the decision to move her entire family from their home in Los Angeles to Ireland, where her mother’s family hailed from,” the Daily Mail reported.
Angela Lansbury told a story about her daughter falling under the spell of a Hollywood deadbeat. He would pick the girl up from school and get her to steal money and food from her parents for him. Worried, Lansbury moved the entire family to Ireland. The guy was Charles Manson. pic.twitter.com/Q2Q9A3aFlK
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) October 12, 2022
Deidre wasn’t the only one experimenting, it turns out her brother Anthony had also gotten hooked on heroin. At this point, Lansbury told her husband that they had to leave Los Angeles.
“So we upped sticks and moved the family to a house I found in County Cork,” Lansbury said. “I was drawn to Ireland because it was the birthplace of my mother and it was also somewhere my children wouldn’t be exposed to any more bad influences.”
Angela Lansbury saved daughter Diedre from clutches of Charles Manson | Daily Mail Online https://t.co/c4oaHCPjbG
— M͏ary Khalaf (@MzMaryKhalaf) October 12, 2022
Refusing all work for a year, the award-winning actress focused solely on her children, learning to cook and nurturing their needs. Lansbury credited that time with saving Deidre from a potentially horrible fate, and possible involvement in the heinous 1969 Tate–LaBianca murders of seven people.
“It fills me with dread,” Lansbury said. “Peter and I had no idea what had been going on. But then we had no experience of drugs. We didn’t know the significance of finding a pipe in a drawer. Why would we? And when we did, we didn’t know how to help them. Nor were there any experts back then who could offer advice to the parents of kids from good families who were using, and sometimes overdosing on, drugs. It was like an epidemic.”
Lansbury found a doctor in Cork who prescribed methadone, not standard practice at that time, to help curb the withdrawal and cravings as Deidre and Anthony kicked their heroin habits.
“Had the family not been ‘removed’ from the ‘bad influences’ in Los Angeles and given an opportunity to experience the ‘simplicity of life in Ireland’, Lansbury believes she would ‘lost one or both’ of her children to drugs and Manson’s cult,” the Daily Mail reported.
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