At this point, what is anyone supposed to write or say about Angela Lansbury that hasn’t been written or said already? She has been working steadily, on stage, in film and on television, for seven decades. She has won Tonys (five); Golden Globes (six); an honorary Oscar; the National Medal of Arts; a Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement award; and countless other laurels.
She was nominated for Academy Awards for two of her first three screen roles (in Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray), and has appeared in more classic films and plays than . . . well, than almost anyone alive.
Incredibly, she has also been nominated 18 times for an Emmy—a dozen of those for her performance as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote—without a single win. Eighteen times! Take that, Susan Lucci.
Oh, and she’s also a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. And she’s still working, having starred in celebrated stage productions in each of the past three years.
Here, on Dame Angela’s 89th birthday—because we’ve run out of superlatives with which to describe her career—LIFE.com presents a picture of her eating a hamburger. As the full caption to the photo notes, it’s a picture of “actress Angela Lansbury clad in costume for her role in the movie, The Court Jester, eating a hamburger with actor Basil Rathbone while sitting at lunch in the large Paramount Studio commissary during a day of filming.”
What we love about this picture is that, even when eating a pedestrian lunch in a studio cafeteria, she somehow makes it look quite remarkably dramatic.
Happy birthday, Ms. Lansbury. May you tread the boards for years to come.