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Will Angela Lansbury win a record sixth time at Tony Awards?

May 4, 2010 | 11:33 am

Angela Lansbury Tony Awards A Little Night Music Last year, Angela Lansbury tied record-holder Julie Harris when she won a fifth Tony Award for her featured performance as the madcap Madame Arcati in the Noel Coward play "Blithe Spirit."

On Tuesday, she got a chance to break that tie with her featured nomination as the cynical Madame Armfeldt in the first rialto revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1973 Tony-winning tuner "A Little Night Music." Hermione Gingold, the originator of the role, lost the 1973 race to her co-star Patricia Elliot, who played Countess Charlotte Malcolm.

Lansbury's first four Tony wins were for lead actress in a musical: "Mame" (1966), "Dear World" (1969), "Gypsy" (1975) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979). Indeed, Lansbury has only gone down to defeat once at the Tony Awards. In 2007, she was nominated for lead actress in a play for "Deuce" but lost to Julie White ("The Little Dog Laughed").

Lansbury already holds one Tony Awards record having hosted the ceremony four times. Two of her record 18 Emmy losses came for hosting the 1987 and 1989 Tonycasts. For the first, she lost to Robin Williams for "Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin" and for the second to Tracey Ullman for "The Best of the Tracey Ullman Show." She also racked up a staggering 12 consecutive nominations for lead actress in a drama series for "Murder, She Wrote" from 1985 to 1996.

Harris won five Tony Awards for lead actress in a play: "I Am a Camera" (1952), "The Lark" (1956), "Forty Carats" (1969), "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" (1973) and "The Belle of Amherst" (1977). She holds the record for most nominations, with 10 bids. Harris lost the play performance prize for "Marathon 33" (1964), "The Au Pair Man" (1974), "Lucifer's Child" (1991) and "The Gin Game" (1997) as well as a lead musical bid in 1966 for "Skyscraper," to Lansbury in "Mame."

Photo: Angela Lansbury in "A Little Night Music." Credit: Walter Kerr Theatre

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