At the release party for Bernadette Peter’s new children’s book, Broadway Barks (titled after the awareness event of the same name), headline actors of the stage and screen stepped aside to give their beloved pooches the spotlight. Brian Stokes Mitchell raved about his family’s canine companion for what seemed like hours, and Mary Tyler Moore admitted that she really worries about her dogs when she’s away — “I’m like a parent of children.” Everyone had a story about an eager animal waiting at home, except Angela Lansbury.
“Well, actually, I haven’t had a dog in a number of years,” she told us. Lansbury is 82, but it’s not for lack of vitality that she’s going without (she couldn’t get a cab to the party, so she walked). No, the reason is much simpler: heartache. “I can’t bear to leave them. I did have a dog, a little poodle, which, sadly, was so upset when I went to do a play in New York that he just walked away.” She was living in California at the time, and when she got home, she led extensive efforts to locate the wandering poodle, but with no success. It “walked away”??? This is perhaps the saddest thing we ever heard. These days she lets her grandchildren handle the dogs in the family, because she’s still too busy to commit. “I refuse to have a dog now unless I can stay in one place to nurture it.” Cheyenne Jackson and his boyfriend may have settled down and adopted a five-months-old Rottweiler, but Angela Lansbury is so far still playing the field. —Benjamin Proffer