Chloris Leachman, Oscar winner and TV comedy star, Is Dead at 94

Chloris Leachman, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a neglected housewife in the Stark drama “The Last Picture Show”, but who was perhaps best known for laughter in three Mel Brooks films and television comedies like “The Mary Tyler” On. The Moore Show “and” Malcolm in the Middle “, died Wednesday at his home in Encinitas, California. She was 94 years old.

The death was confirmed by his son Morgan Englund, who gave no reason.

Ms. Leachman made headlines as Miss America contestant in 1946 and was still in the public eye for more than 74 years, portraying grandma and grandmother on television and film, and “The Stars with the Stars” Competed with celebrities under the age of half. Meanwhile, she won critical reviews for her stage, film, and television, as well as Emmy Awards for acting in both drama and comedy.

Her film career began in 1955 when she played a ruined hitchhiker in a boiled detective film, “Deadly Kiss Me,” based on a novel by Mikey Spielen. She was already a veteran stage and television actress, and in the rest of the 1950s and ’60s she appeared in big roles on the small screen – as the mother in the “Lassi” season of 1957–58 June. Worked before Lockhart. – Small roles on the big screen as a prostitute in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969).

But until Peter Bogdanovich cast him in “The Last Picture Show”, he adapted Larry McMurtry’s novel about life in a small town in Texas in the early 1971s. Her nude emotional portrait of a lone middle-aged woman, who has a brief relationship with a high school football player, won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

He said, “I am at a stage where I am free to go out and have some fun with my career.” “Some Oscar winners were thrown out of sight as if they were standing on a trap. Others picked it up and fled with it. I’m going to run with it. “

He did, and more awards and accolades quickly followed. She never received her second Oscar nomination, but between 1972 and 2011 she was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmys and won eight.

Many of those Emmys were for theatrical work, including her performance as a woman who finds herself pregnant at the age of 40 in the TV-made film “A Brand New Life” (1973). But comedy was at the forefront of him.

She was nominated four times and won twice for her performance on the hit CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as Phyllis Lindstrom, the shattered landlady of Plassey TV producer Mary Richards, played by Ms. Richards. She continued to play the same role in the spinoff series “Feelis” from 1975 to 1977, for which she received another Emmy nomination and won the Golden Globe.

Although the rest of his career was focused on television, he also had some memorable films, most notably under the direction of Mel Brooks. In his beloved horror spoof “Young Frankenstein” (1974) he was Sinister Transylvanian housekeeper Frau Blücher, whose name was enough to frighten any horse within the earshot. He frightened women in Mr. Brooks’ “High Concern” (1977) and “History of the World, Part I” (1981). He also co-starred with Harvey Korman in Mr. Brooks’ short-lived sitcom “The Nut House” (1989).

Ms. Leachman again worked with Mr. Bogdanovich in “Daisy Miller” (1974), as the mother of the title character (Sibyl Shepherd), and in “Texasville” (1990), the sequel to “The Last Show”. In which she reprized her Oscar-winning role.

Cloris Leachman was born on 30 April 1926 in Des Moines to Berkeley and Cloris (Wallace) Leachman. His father worked in his family’s lumbar company. She started acting in children’s theater at the age of 7 (her younger sister would also become an actress, named Claiborne Carrie) and studied drama at Northwestern University, which would honor her with an honorary degree in 2014.

After a brief time in the world of beauty contests – she became Miss Chicago and then a Miss America finalist – Ms. Leachman moved to New York, where she studied with Elia Kazan at the recently established Actors Studio and a small part of the studio participated in. First Broadway production, “Sundown Beach” (1948).

Ms. Leachman appeared frequently on Broadway over the next decade, most notably in the 1950 production of “As You Like It”, starring Catherine Hepburn. He briefly played Ensign Nellie Forbush, a role created by Mary Martin in the original production of “South Pacific” in 1952, and replaced Kim Stanley in the 1959 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Touch of the Poet”. But by the late 1950s it had overtaken Broadway.

She periodically returned to the stage, however, in 1989 and 1990, when she toured the country in the title role of “Grand Moses: An American Primitive”, was memorable. This was the beginning of his career as a grandmother.

Ms. Leachman was strict as a nanny in the film version of the hit TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1993), and the oblivious grandmother of a naive young boy in “Bad Santa” (2003). She won the Emmys for her work on the Fox sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” in 2002 and 2006, every time as a grandmother as horrified as Frau Blucher in her path.

His subsequent film roles also included the mother of a devoted violin teacher (Meryl Streep) in Wes Craven’s “Music of the Heart” (1999) and the mother-in-law of a stressed out chef (Adam Sandler) in James L. Brooks’s “Spanglish” (2004).

Ms. Leachman’s marriage to producer George England ended in divorce in 1979 after 26 years. Mr. Anglund died in 2017. His son Brian died in 1986.

In addition to her son Morgan, she is survived by two other sons, Adam and George Anglund; A daughter, Dina England; And seven grandchildren.

Ms. Leachman remained in show business until the end of her life. (“They’re going to take a lead pipe and beat me over the head to get it to stop me,” He told an interviewer In 2011.) In 2008, she finished seventh out of 13 contestants on “Dancing with the Stars”, paired with professional dancers in the popular ABC competition. At the age of 82, she was the oldest contestant to participate in that competition.

More than a decade later, Ms. Leachman was still working, with a revival of the series “Mad About You” (2019) and a recurring role in the making of several films in 2020.

In 2010, a year before she was inducted into the Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, she began touring the country with a women’s show – titled her 2009 memoir, “Clarice” – and occasionally To show off. As another grandmother on the Fox sitcom, “Raising Hope.”

She became a full-time member of “Rising Hope” in the 2011–12 season. His billing in the opening credits paid tribute to him for his longevity: “… and introduced Chloris Leachman as Maus Lee.”

Alex Traub contributed reporting.

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