March 25, 2006

Angela Lansbury Can Dance Again

LOS ANGELES - Angela Lansbury says she can dance again after having knee replacement surgery. "I'm not going to be dancing with the stars at this stage in my life," Lansbury said by phone from her Los Angeles home. "But I want to dance and bop around, and I did, and I can."

The 80-year-old actress, who is seeking to educate women about the procedure, says her dancer past left her "crippled" by intolerable knee pain for years.

"I found that people were helping me across the street. I had to pull myself up the stairs," said Lansbury, a four-time Tony Award winner for performances in "Mame," "Gypsy" and other productions. "I began to feel ancient, and I feel very young at heart."

But she waited to have the surgery — which replaces deteriorating cartilage of the knee joint with metal and plastic — because she feared it would be too painful. She finally had her left knee replaced last July.

"I had surgery, and I put it off for a long time. I want to tell women: Don't put it off," said Lansbury, who kicked off an education campaign Wednesday with DePuy Orthopaedics at a medical conference in Chicago.

Lansbury is famous for her role as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series "Murder She Wrote." Her film credits include 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate."

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