Coral Lansbury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Coral Lansbury
Born Coral Magnolia Lansbury
(1929-10-14)14 October 1929
Melbourne, Australia
Died 3 April 1991(1991-04-03) (aged 61)
Philadelphia, United States
Spouse(s) George Edwards
(m. 1953; d. 1953)
Bruce Turnbull
(m. 1955; div. 1963; 1 child)
John Salmon
(m. 1963; div. 1969)
Children Malcolm Turnbull

Coral Magnolia Lansbury (14 October 1929 – 3 April 1991) was an Australian-born writer and academic.[1] She is the mother of Malcolm Turnbull, the 29th Prime Minister of Australia.

Early life and family[edit]

Coral Magnolia Lansbury was born in Melbourne, Victoria, to British parents. She was a distant cousin of the British film and television actor Angela Lansbury.[2][3]

Lansbury attended North Sydney Girls High School and sat the NSW Leaving Certificate[4] in 1945, entering the University of Sydney in 1947 as an unmatriculated student.[5] She studied Arts (history, anthropology and archaeology) and achieved first-class honours but was ineligible to graduate as she had not matriculated. Her student card is in the University of Sydney Archives.[6] Lansbury was the recipient of the George Arnold Wood Memorial Prize (aeq) and the Maud Stiles Memorial Prize (aeq). The George Arnold Wood Memorial Prize was awarded annually for proficiency in History II. The Maud Stiles Memorial Prize was awarded annually to a woman student for proficiency in History II.

At 19, she started work at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.[7] Lansbury's father worked in the early radio industry in Australia with the Australian Broadcasting Commission as it was then known. He got her a part in a radio drama.[3]

Her first marriage was to radio producer George Edwards[2] on 20 February 1953. Edwards had enjoyed some fame as Dad in Dad and Dave from Snake Gully. Lansbury was his fourth wife. The next day, he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and on 28 August 1953 (six months later) George Edwards died.[8] In 1954, she gave birth to her son Malcolm Turnbull, who became the Prime Minister of Australia in 2015, by her second husband Bruce Turnbull. She worked for the ABC into the 1960s but as television supplanted radio drama she turned more to academic interests.[3]

In 1963 she moved to New Zealand and subsequently married John Salmon, a university professor.

Her son, Malcolm, was raised by his father after she left the family home when he was 10 years old.[9] She then moved to New Zealand after the separation.[10] She gained her doctorate at the University of Auckland before moving to Philadelphia in the United States in 1969 where she lived until her death.[2]

Works[edit]

In Australia[edit]

Lansbury worked as both a scriptwriter and actor in radio during its heyday. The National Film and Sound Archive holds a collection of many radio programs. They feature many of the great actors from the time, many of whom also became famous in Australia, and some overseas, for theatre, film and television work. The NSA list of the productions with which she is associated includes:[11]

Scriptwriter[edit]

  • Becket: Re-enactment of the relationship between Henry II and Thomas Becket. 104 x 15-min. episodes
  • Empty Arms: Drama serial about adoption and the effect on the mother. 104 x 15-min. episodes
  • Fallen Angel: Angel, a successful model whose husband dies leaving her with a newborn child. 146 x 15-min. episodes (1955)
  • Judith: Based on the biblical story of Judith, played by actress Judi Farr. 104 x 15-min. episodes.
  • The Reverend Matthew: A story about a country minister. 1105 x 15-min. episodes (1956–59)
  • Thirty Minutes To Go: Mystery drama. 30 minutes.
  • This Was Sylvia: Dramatic story of a beautiful and insatiably ambitious woman. 208 x 15-min. episodes. 1956
  • True Dog Stories: Stories about different breeds of dogs. 26 x 15-min. episodes (1960s)

In the United States[edit]

After leaving Australia, Lansbury worked as an academic in the United States. Her major interest was Victorian literature. Between 1975 and 1984 she wrote four books on Anthony Trollope and other Victorian literary figures. She served as president of the Victorian Studies Association and of the Victorian executive committee of the Modern Language Association.[3]

She was the Professor of English at Rutgers University and first dean of the Graduate School at the Camden Campus of Rutgers University. [12][13]

Lansbury wrote five works of fiction: Ringarra (1985), Sweet Alice (1986), Felicity (1987), The Grotto (1989) and, published posthumously, Opium!

Lansbury's works include:

One reviewer of one of her books, The Reasonable Man: Trollope's Legal Fiction was her son, Malcolm Turnbull. He wrote in his regular column in The Bulletin magazine in 1981: "It is refreshing, if not surprising, to find someone who maintains that that most pellucid of novelists, Anthony Trollope, owed his literary style to the law....The book provides a fresh insight into the novels of Trollope and to an explanation for his style."[14]

Death[edit]

Lansbury died of cancer on 3 April 1991, aged 61, at her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was dean of the Graduate School of English at Rutgers University.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Coral Lansbury". AustLit. 
  2. ^ a b c "Obituary – Coral Magnolia Lansbury – Obituaries Australia". anu.edu.au. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e The New York Times] obituary
  4. ^ "Leaving certificate results.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 15 January 1946. p. 5. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "University Examination Results for the years 1943-1944-1945-1946-1947" (PDF). University of Sydney. 
  6. ^ "The University of Sydney Archives". sydney.edu.au. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Steamy Kind The Dean Writes Novels". Philly.com. 29 April 1986. 
  8. ^ "Book Launch at the ANU of "The ADB's Story"". malcolmturnbull.com.au. 
  9. ^ "I'm no silvertail, says new leader Malcolm Turnbull". The Australian. 17 September 2008. 
  10. ^ "The number of political leaders raised in single-parent families is quite a long list". The Courier Mail. 14 July 2013. 
  11. ^ National Film and Sound Archive Australian Radio Series 1930s to 1970s
  12. ^ Lee, Sandra (3 December 2006). "A leader in waiting?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  13. ^ "The Phoenix" (PDF). Rutgers University. 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  14. ^ Ackland, Richard (17 October 2003). "A sureness that weakens Turnbull's case". The Sydney Morning Herald.