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Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones star in 'Driving Miss Daisy'

Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones are currently appearing in an Australian production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

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Angela Lansbury (r.) and James Earl Jones (l.) star in the play as Daisy and her chauffeur, Hoke.

Rick Rycroft/AP

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They're starring in a play about a woman reluctant to age and the perils of passing time, but veteran actors James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury say that life in their 80s continues to be exciting thanks to their determination to keep doing what they love.

Jones and Lansbury, in Australia to star in a touring production of Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer-Prize winning play "Driving Miss Daisy," say the thrill of performing has propelled them throughout their decades-long careers and gives them the energy necessary to keep up with their often grueling schedules.

"First of all, wake up. Wake up and try to get your bones moving," a grinning Jones, who turns 82 this month, said Monday ahead of the cast's first rehearsal. "And then be enthusiastic about what you do. I'm very enthusiastic about acting still. I love the process of creating a character."

For 87-year-old Lansbury, whose seven-decade career has spanned stage, film and television, performing live gives her a rush that can't be matched on the screen.

"You get on stage and you really can let it out," she said, throwing her arms wide. "You're not hampered by camera angles or lighting."

Lansbury, nominated for three Oscars and beloved for her role as amateur detective Jessica Fletcher on the long-running TV series "Murder, She Wrote," said it was the stage that gave her a jolt of fresh inspiration later in life.

"Coming back to the theater about seven years ago turned the tide for me, it really did. Because it gave me a career after 70," she said. "I could still work in the theater and play great roles, but it wasn't so easy to continue as a motion picture actress. Which I was very glad of — I didn't like the way we were making movies ... the kind of roles I would like to play didn't seem to exist. But I love the theater and, as it turned out, it was the thing to do."

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