Patty Duke won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1962, but who even watches Arthur Penn‘s The Miracle Worker these days? But everyone knows Angela Lansbury‘s performance in The Manchurian Candidate, Duke’s chief rival that year.

She played Eleanor Iselin, the scheming wife of a rightwing, Joseph McCarthy-like senator who’s actually a tool of the Chinese-Russian Communists, and one of the most deliciously evil villains to grace the screen in the 20th Century.

Lansbury should have won the prize. It’s hard to find a hardcore movie fan today who doesn’t relish her performance. Eleanor Iselin is not only demonic but neurotic (braying voice, temper issues, vindictive), and each of her lines are layered with just the right amount of darkly comic icing. Plus she conveys a hint of sexual rapport with (and even lust for) her brainwashed son, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey).

Ms. Lansbury died today at age 96, just five days short of her 97th birthday.