Harry Potter fans confuse late Angela Lansbury as 'McGonagall' actress

Eve Edwards October 12, 2022
Harry Potter fans confuse late Angela Lansbury as 'McGonagall' actress
Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images


Beloved actress Angela Lansbury, known for her roles in Murder, She Wrote and as the voice of Beauty and the Beast’s Mrs Potts, has passed away at the age of 96 – but why are some fans thinking she had a role in the Harry Potter franchise?

Lansbury made her acting debut at the age of 17, starring in the film adaptation of Gaslight (1944). Over the following eight decades, Lansbury would become a household name thanks to her illustrious career on stage and screen.

As news of Angela Lansbury’s passing circulates, there have been erroneous claims that the late actress was a star in Harry Potter. Let’s clear up the confusion.

Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

No, Angela Lansbury did not play Professor McGonagall

Over the years, some Harry Potter viewers have confused Angela Lansbury for Maggie Smith, the actress who plays Minerva McGonagall. The Harry Potter fandom deemed Lansbury a good fit for the role of McGonagall and she was even put forward in a fan-casting.

One Twitter user wrote: “I always confused with the other mythical actress who plays Professor Macgonagal in Harry Potter (sic).”

This is not a new confusion, as the two actresses’ physical resemblance has been commented on in the past. You might then think having both Lansbury and Smith in one production would cause confusion, but the two successfully starred across one another in Death on the Nile (1978).

Angela Lansbury has starred as a witch in a previous role

While Angela Lansbury did not star in the Harry Potter franchise, she has portrayed a witch in one of her most beloved roles.

In 1971, Lansbury starred as Miss Eglantine Price in the Disney classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks. This live-action musical follows three children – Charlie, Carrie and Paul – who go to live with Miss Price during the Second World War. But little did they know that they were being sent to live with an apprentice witch.

Miss Price is a witch-in-training, honing her magical skills in the hopes of using them in the British war effort.

This has been dubbed as “one of her best roles” by fans.

The Empress | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Empress | Official Trailer | Netflix

‘Nothing about Harry Potter that wasn’t better in Bedknobs and Broomsticks’

In light on Angela Lansbury’s passing, one tweeted: “I’ll just take this second to say that there was nothing cool about Harry Potter that wasn’t better in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

Another added that “she walked so all other witches could run.”

One Twitter user compared a scene from Bedknobs and Broomsticks with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in which an army of armour was raised. “I remember finding Harry Potter’s version to be very underwhelming in comparison,” they tweeted.

Twitter pays tribute to late actress Angela Lansbury

Besides tweets in praise of the beloved witch Miss Eglantine Price, fans and friends have taken to the internet to pay homage to Angela Lansbury.

“Truly one of the greatest, most versatile actresses to have ever lived. She made us laugh, she made us sob, she chilled our blood, and every single time she did it with such ease and excellence. She defined the essence of being a legend,” one fan tweeted.

NASA offered a cosmic rose “plucked by our Spitzer Space Telescope” to honour the late actress, adding lines from “Beauty and the Beast” lyrics made famous by Lansbury in the 1991 Disney film:

Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.