Oscar winner and a number of Emmy winner Cloris Leachman, finest remembered because the delightfully neurotic Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Present” and her personal subsequent sitcom, died of pure causes on Tuesday in Encinitas, Calif. She was 94.
“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, probably the most fearless actresses of our time,” her longtime supervisor Juliet Inexperienced mentioned. “There was nobody like Cloris. With a single look she had the power to interrupt your coronary heart or make you giggle ’until the tears ran down your face. You by no means knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable high quality was a part of her unparalleled magic.”
The daffy, self-absorbed Phyllis, a personality she claimed was near her personal persona, introduced the actress two Emmys as a featured actress in a sequence in the course of the mid-’70s and made Leachman a family title.
Leachman additionally received a supporting actress Oscar within the early a part of the last decade for a far totally different character, an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s elegiac “The Final Image Present”; she would later reprise the position within the movie’s much less profitable sequel “Texasville.” Each movies had been based mostly on the writings of Larry McMurtry.
In a single day success for the actress, nevertheless, got here solely after 20 years of onerous work in theater, tv and some movies. Leachman was in her 40s when stardom lastly hit.
Leachman’s pitch-perfect timing and effortlessness in comedy and her unadorned honesty in drama was the results of a few years honing her craft and included her personal life experiences as a mom of 5 kids (by producer George Englund).
Her open, all-American look took her by means of a number of a long time in a large 123 of roles on Broadway and early tv in addition to greater than 40 motion pictures, the place she moved simply from main roles to character components.
The actress received a complete of eight primetime Emmys, each for drama and comedy, and one daytime Emmy.
The recurring character of Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Present” not solely made her a TV star but additionally gave her time to squeeze in roles in movie together with “Lovers and Different Strangers,” “The Folks Subsequent Door,” “WUSA” and “The Final Image Present,” which introduced her an Oscar for supporting actress in 1971 in an upset over her nominated co-star Ellen Burstyn. Two Emmys for the position of Phyllis had been crowded alongside one for drama within the ABC TV film “A Model New Life” (1973) and led, in 1975, to her personal sequence, which lasted a few seasons.
A long time later she was nonetheless working, and flying excessive: Leachman was a contestant on season seven of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2008, turning into, at age 82, the oldest contestant to bop on the sequence, and she was the grand marshal for the 2009 New 12 months’s Day Event of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Sport in Pasadena, Calif.
Throughout the Seventies, she did properly by Bogdanovich’s “Daisy Miller” and was hilarious in Mel Brooks’ “Younger Frankenstein”; she additionally appeared in Brooks’ “Excessive Nervousness.”
She was given extra attention-grabbing work to do in tv. She received a fourth Emmy for a visitor position on the 123 sequence “Cher,” and she grew to become a telepic staple in the course of the interval and did TV productions of Lanford Wilson’s “The Migrants” and Dorothy Parker’s “Girls of the Hall” on PBS.
Emmys 5 and six would come for ABC Afterschool Particular “The Girl Who Willed a Miracle” in 1983 and the SAG fiftieth Anniversary celebration the next 12 months.
She tried sequence common work once more, doing finest with “The Info of Life.”
Leachman continued work in TV motion pictures, showing within the miniseries “Backstairs on the White Home” plus “In Broad Daylight,” “Little Piece of Heaven,” “Positive Issues,” “Lethal Intentions,” “The Oldest Residing Graduate,” “Recommendation to the Lovelorn,” “Miss All American Magnificence,” “Dixie,” “Mrs. R’s Daughter,” “Fade to Black,” “Between Love and Honor,” “Miracle Youngster” and “Double, Double, Toil and Bother.”
In 1996 she appeared within the Los Angeles touring model of “Showboat.”
Throughout the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s, Leachman labored intermittently in movies together with “The Historical past of the World Half I,” “Stroll Like a Man” and the 1993 bigscreen model of “The Beverly Hillbillies” within the position of Granny.
She appeared to transition effortlessly and even embrace the grandmotherly roles she discovered herself taking part in within the Nineties and 2000s.
Leachman recurred on “Malcolm within the Center” from 2001-06 as Grandma Ida and earned a number of Emmy nominations and two extra Emmy Awards (in 2002 and 2006).
In 2003, she performed the grandmother on the bigscreen within the romantic comedy “Alex and Emma” and within the darker comedy “Dangerous Santa.” She additionally did voicework in animated motion pictures “Beavis and Butthead,” “A Troll in Central Park” and the 2008 English-language model of the Japanese anime “Ponyo” in addition to TV’s “The Simpsons.”
It was onerous to see any proof that she was slowing down.
She was a sequence common on the transient Ellen DeGeneres car “The Ellen Present” in 2001-02, recurred on “Touched by an Angel” and guested on “Prognosis Homicide,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “Two and a Half Males,” “The Workplace,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Hawthorne” and “Blue Mountain State.” In 2010-14, she was a sequence common on Fox’s “Elevating Hope,” drawing her nineteenth Emmy nomination. (She was nonetheless repeatedly showing in telepics as properly.)
On the bigscreen, she was a lot busier within the decade-plus after 2000, when she was in her late 70s and early 80s, than within the earlier decade.
Her movie credit in the course of the interval included (however had been in no way restricted to) “Spanglish” (2004), “The Longest Yard” (2005), “Scary Film 4” (2006), “Beerfest” (2006) and “The Girls (2008). Within the (2009) anthology pic “New York, I Love You,” she appeared in a poignant however unsentimental section as an aged girl dealing with the infirmities of her much more aged husband (Eli Wallach).
In 2011 and 2012, Leachman pressed ahead on the silver display in a variety of pics together with “The Fields,” comedy “Gambit,” horror film “The Dwelling” and action-dramas corresponding to “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and “Timberwolf.”
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Leachman acquired working expertise as a baby on the Des Moines Little Theater. By age 15 she was showing on native radio stations. She received a particular scholarship to check broadcast drama at Northwestern, the place she stayed for whereas earlier than returning to Des Moines to complete highschool. She returned to Northwestern with a theater scholarship this time however dropped out and entered a magnificence contest, finally discovering her solution to the 1946 Miss America pageant.
Transferring to New York, she landed a job in a quickie film, “Carnegie Corridor,” and simply missed out on touchdown the feminine lead within the Broadway comedy “John Loves Mary” to Nina Foch. She studied on the Actors Studio and made her Broadway debut in 1948 within the short-lived manufacturing “Sunset Seaside.” She attracted discover as Cecilia in a Theater Guild manufacturing of “As You Like It” with Katharine Hepburn that ran for six months.
Her position in “A Story for Sunday Night” introduced her good notices in 1950, and she performed Broadway for eight months within the 1954 Jean Kerr/Eleanor Brooke comedy “King of Hearts.” She additionally performed Nellie Forbush in a particular revival of “South Pacific.”
Extra regular coaching got here by way of reside tv. She was a daily on the early sequence “Charlie Wild, Non-public Detective” (1950-52), and she excelled at unhealthy woman roles. She additionally made visitor appearances on TV sequence together with “Gunsmoke” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
Throughout this era she was significantly thought-about for the feminine lead in Charlie Chaplin’s bittersweet drama “Limelight,” however the position went to Claire Bloom. She then nabbed the position of a horny hitchhiker in Robert Aldrich’s “Kiss Me Lethal.” She additionally landed a small position in Rod Serling’s movie “The Rack” in 1956.
However tv was rather more conducive to motherhood, so she took a job because the mom within the “Lassie” sequence. Different TV work included Tennessee Williams’ “The Migrants” and George Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing.”
Leachman was inducted into the Tv Academy Corridor of Fame in 2011.
“Cloris: My Autobiography” was revealed in 2009. She penned the bestseller with George Englund, whom she divorced in 1979.
Survivors embrace sons Adam, George Jr. and Morgan, an actor; and a daughter, Dinah.
The household requests that any donations in her title be made to PETA or Final Probability for Animals.