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Acting Legend Cloris Leachman Passes Away

January 27, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Cloris Leachman Young Frankenstein

Cloris Leachman, the legendary actor who starred in Young Frankenstein, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and more, has passed away. The Wrap reports that the Emmy and Oscar-winning actress passed away at the on Tuesday of natural causes in her California home. She was 94 years old.

Leachman is the most nominated and honored actress in Emmy history (the latter tied with Juila Louis-Dreyfus) with 22 total nominations and eight wins. She won an Oscar and a BAFTA for her supporting turn in The Last Picture Show and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series in 1975 for her role in Phyllis.

“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time,” her manager Juliet Green said in a statement. “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.”

The eldest of three sisters, Leachman began performing as a teenager in local youth plays. She placed top 16 in the Miss America pageant in 1946 and began studying at the Actors Studio in New York City. She began performing on the stage and had her first screen appearance with an uncredited role in 1947’s Carnegie Hall. Leachman began appearing on television in shows like Charlie Wild, Private Detective and Bob and Ray before her first real role in film came with the noir classic Kiss Me Deadly in 1955. She would parley that role into other roles on television and a couple of films before she garnered attention with her brief role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969.

It was 1974 where she truly broke out with The Last Picture Show. Her role as Ruth Popper earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She would go on to star the roles that most remember her for in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the spinoff Phyllis.

Leachman’s resume is incredibly long, as she continued her work throughout all seveny-plus years with very few interruptions. She played Beverly Ann Stickle in The Facts of Life, appeared in episodes of The Twilight Zone, and was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2008. She also had an extensive voice acting career, with roles in everything from the English dubs of Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky and Ponyo and The Iron Giant to Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, the Croods franchise.

Her most recent appearances were three roles in 2020: a voice role in The Croods: A New Age and live-action roles in Canadian drama Jump, Darling and High Holiday.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and legion of fans of Ms. Leachman. The entertainment world would not be the same without her.

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Cloris Leachman, Jeremy Thomas