Cloris Leachman Dead: ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Star Dies At 94

Cloris Leachman Dead: ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Star Dies At 94
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The final reel has reached the end for Cloris Leachman. The actress, who won an Oscar for ‘The Last Picture Show’ and captivated audiences on TV shows like ‘The Facts Of Life’ and ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ has reportedly died.

Another star has fallen over Hollywood. Cloris Leachman, the actress who a record-setting number of Primetime Emmy Awards and an Academy Award for her part in The Last Picture Show, has died, according to TMZ. The woman many know as the character Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and its subsequent spin-off, Phyllis) passed away of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, CA on the night of Jan. 26 with her daughter, Dinah, by her side, her son told the outlet.

“She had the best life beginning to end that you could wish for someone,” he said while adding that she was at peace and “she left everyone with a lot of love.”

Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa on April 30, 1926, Cloris developed a love for performing in high school. While attending Northwestern University in 1946, Cloris participated in the Miss America pageant as Miss Chicago, according to Britanica.com. Though she didn’t win the crown, she used her pageant winnings to help her move to New York City as she pursued a career in acting. In her early career, she appeared on a handful of radio and television programs like Suspense, The Ford Radio Hour, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, and Lassie.

“I did a lot of live television in those early days. That was always an adventure. I’ve won more Emmy Awards than any other actress on TV … those roles are my favorites,” she told the Arizona Daily Sun in 2017. Her film work saw her play opposite Paul Newman and Lee Marvin in 1956’s The Rack. She would work with Newman again, briefly, in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. Her greatest success on the silver screen would come in 1971 when, while portraying a frustrated, adulterous housewife in The Last Picture Show, she would win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

“I was so surprised the night of the Oscars. I never expected to win … but I sure was glad that I did. I still tell Peter [Bogdanovich, the director] I could have done even better in that last scene in Picture Show, but he didn’t want to reshoot it. He used the first take,” she said to the Arizona Sun Daily. Cloris’s other memorable role would come thanks to Mel Brooks, as she would portray Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein. She would work with Mel on two other films – High Anxiety and History of the World: Part I.

Cloris’s sense of humor came along with a biting wit – and a sharper tongue (when asked by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 if she thought about retiring, her response was simply, “F*ck you.”) Audiences saw that edge come out in her roles as Grandma Ida on Malcolm In The Middle and as Maw Maw on Raising Hope. These were drastically different from her more notable television roles, as she had enchanted audiences as Beverly Ann Stickle on The Facts Of Life (1986-88) and as Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Phyllis (the latter of which won her a Golden Globe in 1975.

Cloris was married to Hollywood impresario George Englund from 153 to 1979, a marriage that produced five children. She has six grandchildren, including singer Anabel Englund, and at least one great-grandchild.



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