Angela Lansbury, who died earlier this week, once appeared on “Magnum P.I.” in an epic crossover with her show “Murder, She Wrote.”
Published on Oct 13, 2022 at 2:53 PM by James Conrad
The world lost a true legend on Tuesday, when the Hollywood star Dame Angela Lansbury passed away at the age of 96. As we mourn this devastating loss, we’re taking time to remember one of the most fun moments of her career, which was the crossover episodes of her hit show Murder, She Wrote with Tom Selleck’s equally popular Magnum P.I. show in the ’80s.
‘Murder, She Wrote’ And ‘Magnum P.I.’ Crossover
The two crossover episodes aired in November of 1986, which each show getting one of the episodes. In the Magnum P.I. episode “Novel Connection,” which aired on November 19 of that year, Lansbury’s character of Jessica Fletcher helped Magnum (Selleck) investigate an attempt on the life of Higgins (John Hillerman) and some of his guests.
This episode was continued the next week in the Murder, She Wrote episode titled “Magnum On Ice,” in which Jessica tried to prove Magnum innocent of some brutal murders. Check out a fun mashup of clips from this episode in the video below!
This crossover occurred in season 3 of Murder, She Wrote — for which Lansbury won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama. She would ultimately take home four Golden Globes during the 12 years that the crime drama series was on the air. While Lansbury was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for her work on Murder, She Wrote and other television appearances, she shockingly never won once!
Selleck Quits ‘Magnum P.I.’
While this crossover happened early in the run of Murder, She Wrote, it came towards the end of Magnum P.I.‘s run, which was already in its seventh season. The show would come to an end two years later in 1988, when Selleck decided to take a step back from Hollywood so that he could spend more time on his ranch with his family.
“I quit ‘Magnum,’ not because I didn’t like it or I was tired of it,” Selleck told People Magazine in 2020. “I was tired from it. And I wanted a three-dimensional life because I didn’t have one.”
Describing himself as a “fairly private person,” Selleck added, “I’ve always treasured the balance between work and time with my family. It’s always about them.”
Lansbury Loved ‘Murder, She Wrote’
By the time Murder, She Wrote premiered in 1984, Lansbury’s children were already grown and out of the house, so she had more time to throw everything she had into the show. Unlike Selleck, she never wanted to leave the show, and she was livid when CBS cancelled it in 1996 due to what network executives perceived as a dip in the ratings.
“There’s perhaps no one in this country who doesn’t know it was a grave error, really,” she told The Washington Post at the time. They said our demographics were unsatisfactory in terms of advertising dollars, but that just wasn’t the case.”
Lansbury continued acting in the years after Murder, She Wrote ended, even winning the last of her five Tony Awards in 2009 at the age of 84 for her work in the Broadway show Blithe Spirit.
We are still reeling from the loss of Lansbury, and she will be missed for many years to come. Thankfully, she will always live on through the work she left behind, and one of her best moments will always be her Murder, She Wrote and Magnum P.I. crossover with Tom Selleck.