Honoree Angela Lansbury accepts honorary award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
(USA TODAY) -- Beloved TV, movie and stage actress Angela Lansbury will be made a dame of the British Empire, according to media coverage of the annual New Year's honors list published today in London.
The British-born Lansbury - full name Mrs Angela Brigid Lansbury Shaw, 88 - already has a CBE, or Commander of the British Empire. Now she'll receive a damehood for services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy, according to the list.
She is best known in the USA for her long-running series Murder, She Wrote, and for starring in numerous stage productions, such as Sweeney Todd. She received an honorary Oscar this year, and also has been nominated for three Oscars, including for The Manchurian Candidate in 1963, plus scores of Golden Globes and other acting awards.
The full list of honorees (knighthoods, damehoods, commanders, orders of chivalry and other honors) totals 1,195 worthies throughout what's left of the British Empire, even in tiny Tuvalu in the South Pacific. Most of these people are unknowns in the USA.
Besides Lansbury, the other actress who is being made a dame is Penelope Keith, 77, best known for her portrayal of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in the British sitcom To the Manor Born, which is still in reruns on PBS stations around the USA.
The New Year's honors list has been a British tradition since at least 1890. The honors are handed out by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace ceremonies but the honorees are mostly chosen by the government of the day to reward ordinary people, as well as celebrities and political allies, for their good deeds and achievements.
However, the queen can grant an honor as a personal gift, which is what she did in the case of Dr. Marcus Setchell, 70, her surgeon-gynecologist for two decades, who delayed his retirement this year to oversee the birth of Prince William's and Duchess Kate's baby, Prince George, on July 22. Setchell will be made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Orders.
This year's list, for the first time, contains slightly more women than men, according to The Guardian, which quoted the head of the British Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, as calling this a "deep-rooted change" in the way honors have been distributed over the past 40 years.