Leachman, Cloris

Leachman, Cloris, 1926-2021, American actress, b. Des Moines, Ia. Leachman began acting in children’s theater when she was seven, and studied drama at Northwestern Univ. (honorary degree, 2014). She competed in and won the Miss Chicago pageant, and was a finalist in the 1946 Miss America contest before moving to New York to study at the Actors Studio. While she appeared on Broadway, film, and television through the ‘60s, she did not achieve widespread recognition until winning an Oscar portraying a bored housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s film, The Last Picture Show (1971). Leachman would become known for her comedic work in the ‘70s, on television (portraying the ditzy Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff, Phyllis) and film (including a memorable comedic turn as the equestrian-haunted Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein). Leachman continued to appear in film and on television nearly to her death, spending five years on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2001-06). She won eight Primetime Emmy Award, tying Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s record as most awarded actress; other honors included a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award. Leachman was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.

See her autobiography (2009).

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