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Dame Angela Lansbury, the legendary actress of “Murder She Wrote” fame, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 96. In the wake of her death, the renowned entertainer’s shocking and terrifying history with convicted murderer and cult leader Charles Manson has resurfaced.

Lansbury Saved Daughter From Charles Manson

In a 2014 interview with Daily Mail, Lansbury talked about how she had to save her daughter Deirdre from Manson’s clutches back in the 1960s after the girl became involved with him and his cult.

Lansbury and her husband Peter Shaw, who she was married to for 53 years until his death in 2003, were horrified at the time to learn that Deirdre and their son Anthony had begun experimenting with drugs. Though Deidre and Anthony were only teenagers at the time, their drug usage quickly escalated.

“It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin,” Lansbury recalled. “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,” she continued. “She was one of many youngsters who knew him – and they were fascinated. He was an extraordinary character, charismatic in many ways, no question about it.”

Lansbury Takes Action

Though Manson had not yet been convicted of murder, Lansbury saw right through him, and she knew that she needed to do something major to save her family from him.

“I said to Peter, ‘We have to leave,'” she recounted. “So we upped sticks and moved the family to a house I found in County Cork. 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.”

“I still have a house there which I try and visit at least once a year,” she continued. “So I refused all work for a year and simply kept house. I bought Elizabeth David’s books and learnt how to cook properly. It was a wonderful time in my life.”

Lansbury’s plan worked out perfectly, and both of her children ended up off drugs and living productive lives that she couldn’t be more proud of!

“Anthony pulled right out of his bad habits quite quickly,” she remembered. “It took Deidre a little longer but she finally got married and she and her husband now live in Los Angeles, where they run their own Italian restaurant.”

Anthony, who is now 70, went on to become a hugely successful television director who directed 68 episodes of his mother’s show Murder She Wrote. As for Manson, he would go on to be convicted of the murders of seven people, including the Hollywood star Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time his female followers brutally killed her.

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Lansbury Never Forgot What Could Have Happened

While Lansbury was grateful that she was able to save her daughter from Manson’s clutches, she always shuddered when she thought about what might have happened had she not intervened.

“‘It fills me with dread,” she confessed decades later. “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.”

“Certainly, I have no doubt we would have lost one or both of our two if they hadn’t been removed to a completely different milieu, the simplicity of life in Ireland,” Lansbury added. “In the end we found a doctor who prescribed methadone, a heroin substitute, which helped with the withdrawal symptoms as Anthony and Deidre were weaned off hard drugs. We were so very, very lucky we spotted what was happening just in time.”

This just goes to show that Lansbury was just as strong in real life as many of the characters she played on screen were. In the end, Charles Manson was no match for Angela Lansbury.

Jessica Fletcher, Lansbury’s character in “Murder She Wrote,” would have been proud.

Next:  ‘Murder She Wrote’ And ‘ Beauty And The Beast’ Actress Dame Angela Lansbury Dead At 96