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Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 30, 1926 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Des Moines, Iowa, USA Profession: actress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With a career that spanned a staggering six decades on stage and screen, actress Cloris Leachman was one of primetime's funniest comediennes and a favorite player in the classic film satires of Mel Brooks. A former beauty pageant winner who began her career on the Broadway stage, Leachman's first high profile achievement was her Academy Award-winning performance in Peter Bogdanovich's stark drama "The Last Picture Show" (1971). From there, the over-40 actress' career kicked into high gear, with award-winning roles as the hilariously self-important Phyllis Lindstrom on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77) and the subsequent spin-off, "Phyllis" (CBS, 1975-77). She forever held a place in film comedy history for her tightly wound, strangely accented characters in Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" (1974) and "History of the World, Part 1" (1981) - a strength she introduced to a new generation of fans in the role of grandma Ida on Fox's quirky "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06). The octogenarian became the reality competition's oldest contestant when she joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) in 2008, then trotted on to the sitcom "Raising Hope" (Fox, 2010- ), as the semi-lucid...

With a career that spanned a staggering six decades on stage and screen, actress Cloris Leachman was one of primetime's funniest comediennes and a favorite player in the classic film satires of Mel Brooks. A former beauty pageant winner who began her career on the Broadway stage, Leachman's first high profile achievement was her Academy Award-winning performance in Peter Bogdanovich's stark drama "The Last Picture Show" (1971). From there, the over-40 actress' career kicked into high gear, with award-winning roles as the hilariously self-important Phyllis Lindstrom on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77) and the subsequent spin-off, "Phyllis" (CBS, 1975-77). She forever held a place in film comedy history for her tightly wound, strangely accented characters in Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" (1974) and "History of the World, Part 1" (1981) - a strength she introduced to a new generation of fans in the role of grandma Ida on Fox's quirky "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox, 2000-06). The octogenarian became the reality competition's oldest contestant when she joined the cast of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) in 2008, then trotted on to the sitcom "Raising Hope" (Fox, 2010- ), as the semi-lucid grandmother "Maw Maw" Chance. With more than 40 years of film and television work under her belt, Leachman made it clear she was far from ready to retire, and had plenty more laughs to impart to appreciative fans of all ages.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Bronx Bull, The (2014)
2.
 Croods, The (2013)
3.
 Croods, The (2013)
4.
 Adult World (2013)
6.
 Fields, The (2012)
7.
 Expecting Mary (2010)
8.
 American Cowslip (2009)
9.
 Love Takes Wing (2009)
10.
 The Women (2008)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Hosted an advice-to-homemakers radio program while in her mid-teens
1946:
Won title of Miss Chicago; later was one of the finalists in Miss America Beauty Pageant
:
Moved to NYC and was chosen by Elia Kazan to be a member of original Actors Studio
:
Acted on Broadway in supporting roles in William Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba" and Shakespeare's "As You Like It"
1949:
Made TV debut with semi-regular role on "Actor's Studio" (ABC, CBS)
1949:
Cast in regular role on CBS series "Hold It Please"
1950:
Played secretary Effie Perrine on NBC detective show "Charlie Wild, Private Detective"
1952:
Appeared regularly on NBC's "The Bob & Ray Show"
1955:
Feature film acting debut, "Kiss Me Deadly"
1957:
Cast as Ruth Martin, Timmy's adoptive mom on fourth season of CBS series "Lassie"
1969:
Landed brief role as a prostitute opposite Paul Newman and Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
1970:
Played recurring role of Sandi Hollinger on ABC series "That Girl"
1970:
Once again cast opposite Newman in "WUSA"
1970:
Played recurring role of landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on CBS series "Mary Tyler Moore"
1971:
Received acclaim as a high school gym teacher's wife who embarks on an affair with a teenager in Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show"
1972:
Co-starred with Carroll O'Connor in CBS adaptation of Gershwin musical "Of Thee I Sing"
1973:
Gave Emmy-winning performance as a middle-aged woman who discovers she's pregnant in ABC movie "A Brand New Life"
1974:
Re-teamed with Bogdanovich for period drama "Daisy Miller"
1974:
Offered brilliant comic turn as Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks' spoof "Young Frankenstein"
1974:
Delivered strong dramatic turn in CBS telefilm "The Migrants"
1975:
Starred in Jonathan Demme's low-budget gangster drama "Crazy Mama"
1975:
Played title role on "Phyllis" (CBS), a spin-off of "Mary Tyler Moore"
1977:
Re-teamed with Mel Brooks for his spoof of Hitchcock films "High Anxiety"
1979:
Portrayed the unsinkable Molly Brown in ABC movie "S.O.S. Titanic"
1979:
Appeared in "The Muppet Movie" as the secretary to a producing mogul (Orson Welles)
1981:
Again collaborated with Brooks for comedy "History of the World Part I"
1982:
Co-hosted short-lived CBS magazine program "The Book of Lists"
1982:
Played four roles (three sisters and their mother) in TV adaptation of "Twigs" (E!)
1985:
Starred opposite Dick Van Dyke in PBS production "Breakfast with Les and Bess"
1986:
Replaced Charlotte Rae's character as the den mother on NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life" for its final two seasons
1989:
Played a nativist painter in an acclaimed touring stage production of "Grandma Moses"; appeared in play on-and-off for over a decade
1989:
Played Ms. Frick on short-lived NBC sitcom "The Nutt House"; series created by Mel Brooks
1990:
Reprised role of Ruth Popper in Peter Bogdanovich's sequel "Texasville"
1991:
Played Emily Collins on short-lived NBC sitcom "Walter and Emily"
1993:
Stepped into Irene Ryan's shoes to play Granny in feature film version of "The Beverly Hillbillies"
1996:
Appeared as Parthy, the captain's wife in touring company of "Show Boat"
1996:
Made two guest appearances as Aunt Mooster on CBS series "Promised Land"
1999:
Lent voice to animated feature "The Iron Giant"
1999:
Played Meryl Streep's mother in Wes Craven's "Music of the Heart"
2001:
Landed recurring guest role as Grandma Ida on Fox sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle"
2001:
Returned to TV as Dot, the title character's eccentric mother on CBS sitcom "The Ellen Show"
2004:
Portrayed the boozy, former jazz singer and grandmother Evelyn in James L. Brook's "Spanglish"
2004:
Landed guest starring role on "Joan of Arcadia" (CBS)
2006:
Played famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower's adoring sister in HBO movie "Mrs. Harris"
2008:
Joined seventh season of ABC's reality competition series "Dancing With The Stars" along with professional partner Corky Ballas
2010:
Cast as Maw Maw on Fox comedy series "Raising Hope"
2010:
Featured in ensemble comedy "You Again"
2011:
Inducted into Television Academy Hall of Fame
2013:
Voiced the grandmother of a prehistoric family in DreamWorks animated comedy "The Croods"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -
Roosevelt High School: Des Moines , Iowa - 1944

Notes

"I played it with my own body, my skin, my face. I wanted that scorned look to come out through my skin rather than my mouth."---Cloris Leachman, on her performance in "The Last Picture Show"

"I would like to correct one description that they put on you, which is, 'She CLUTCHED her Oscar.' It's NOT because you clawed your way to the top, [but because the trophy is so heavy, you might] fall to your knees. If you're in a long gown, you don't want to do that, so you have to quickly clutch it."---Leachman quoted in Premiere, April 1990.

"I remember as a child never wanting to become an embittered old woman who had nothing but a career. Here I am, far from it, with all my children and grandchildren. The end is not in sight."---Cloris Leachman quoted in People, August 9, 1999.

"I've always, all my life since I was little, wanted to be perfect. Be a good girl and be perfect."---Leachman quoted in Los Angeles Magazine, November 2004.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
George H Englund. Born c. 1982.
husband:
George H Englund. Producer, director. Married on April 19, 1953; divorced in 1979.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Buck Leachman. Had four.
father:
Buck Leachman. Lumber company owner.
mother:
Cloris Leachman.
son:
Adam Englund. Lawyer. Born c, 1954.
son:
Adam Englund. Had two; survived him.
son:
Brian Englund. Actor. Born c. 1956; found dead in NYC hotel room at age 30 in 1986; cause of death remains undetermined.
son:
Brian Englund. Survived him.
son:
George Englund. Production assistant. Born c. 1957.
son:
George Englund. Has a sister and a twin brother.
son:
Morgan Englund. Actor, singer. Born c. 1964; appeared on CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light".
son:
Morgan Englund. Born c. 1986.
daughter:
Dinah Englund. Singer, songwriter. Born c. 1967.
daughter:
Dinah Englund. Dancer.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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