Actress Cloris Leachman, with a decades-long career in film, television, and theatre, has passed away at the age of 94 due to natural causes.
Acclaimed actress Cloris Leachman has passed away at the age of 94. Throughout her long and abundant career, she appeared in many shows on Broadway, numerous acclaimed television shows, and over 40 films. Leachman won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a record nine Emmy Awards out of a whopping 23 nominations, one of which being a Daytime Emmy Award. She is tied with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most Primetime Emmy Awards for acting, both in drama and comedy.
Leachman's career began in the 1946 Miss America pageant, before studying at the Actors Studio under Elia Kazan, after which she moved into Broadway, appearing in plays and musicals such as South Pacific, King of Hearts, and Come Back, Little Sheba. Her television stardom came for playing Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, during which she starred in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show as the lonely housewife Ruth Popper and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She would later reprise Phyllis Lindstrom in her own spinoff, Phyllis. Leachman continued to branch out in her career, appearing in films including, but not limited to Young Frankenstein with Mel Brooks and Spanglish, while also guest-starring in series like Malcolm in the Middle, Raising Hope, and The Office. She did voices for a myriad of animation such as Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, the English-language version of Ponyo, and The Simpsons.
Variety has announced that Leachman died of natural causes on Tuesday, January 26, in Encinitas, California, with her daughter Dinah by her side. She was 94 years old. Her publicist Monique Moss confirmed her passing while her manager Juliet Green released a statement praising Leachman's acting talents and stating that she had an unparalleled magic to her. Green's full statement can be read below:
"It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time. There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh ’till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”
Along with her distinguished numerous awards, Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011 for her work. She also competed in Dancing with the Stars in 2008, becoming the oldest contestant on the show and placing seventh in the competition. In addition to her extensive career, she released an autobiography in 2009 titled Cloris: My Autobiography with her former husband George Englund, a film director and producer, with whom she was married to from 1953 to 1979.
Leachman is survived by her daughter Dinah and her three sons Adam, George Jr., and Morgan, as well as six grandchildren and one great-grandson. Leachman had another son Bryan, but he sadly passed in 1986 at the age of 30. Leachman led a lengthy career in film, television, and theater and will be remembered as one of the best character actors of her generation.
RIP Cloris Leachman 1926-2021