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Angela Lansbury is widely celebrated for her role as amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote, but not many people know that she once saved her own daughter from a now notorious murderer.

The beloved actress who died, aged 96, at her LA home on Tuesday, revealed during a 2014 interview that she had to up sticks and move her family across the Atlantic to keep her family safe from the clutches of Charles Manson.

Manson was an American musician and cult leader whose followers carried out several high-profile murders – including that of actress Sharon Tate – in the late 1960s.

Speaking to DailyMail.com in 2014, the Bedknobs and Broomsticks icon explained that Diedre, now 69 but who was a teenager at the time, had fallen in with his crowd after getting into drugs.

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“It started with cannabis but moved on to heroin,” Lansbury lamented, before going on: “It pains me to say it but, at one stage, Deidre was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson.”

The young girl, like many others, was charmed by the dangerously magnetic singer-songwriter, as her mother acknowledged: “She was one of many youngsters who knew him — and they were fascinated.

“He was an extraordinary character, charismatic in many ways, no question about it."

Fearing the situation might deteriorate further, Lansbury one day turned to her husband and said: “We have to leave.” So the couple, Deirdre and her older brother Anthony got on a plane and started a new life in County Cork, Ireland.

The British-born star explained: “I was drawn to Ireland because it was the birthplace of my mother and it was also somewhere my children wouldn't be exposed to any more bad influences.

“I still have a house there which I try and visit at least once a year,” she added.

Describing it as a “wonderful time in my life”, Lansbury proudly confirmed that the move helped both her children to shake off their bad habits (Anthony had also gotten into drugs) and Deirdre is now back in LA with her husband, where they run an Italian restaurant.

Reflecting on how things might have ended up, the Beauty and the Beast star admitted: "It fills me with dread. Peter and I had no idea what had been going on, but then we had no experience of drugs.

She continued: "And when we did, we didn't know how to help them. Nor were there any experts back then who could offer advice to the parents of kids from good families who were using, and sometimes overdosing on drugs. It was like an epidemic."

She went on: "Certainly, I have no doubt we would have lost one or both of our two if they hadn't been removed to a completely different milieu, the simplicity of life in Ireland,' she added.

"In the end we found a doctor who prescribed methadone, a heroin substitute, which helped with the withdrawal symptoms as Anthony and Deidre were weaned off hard drugs. We were so very, very lucky we spotted what was happening just in time."

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