Cloris Leachman Biography

Cloris Leachman photo

Born: April 30, 1926
Died: January 27, 2021


Date of Birth: April 30, 1926

Cloris Leachman starred in a wide range of theater, television and motion picture projects, creating such indelible characters as Phyllis in the TV series Phyllis and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety, Frau Bluecher in Young Frankenstein and Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show (for which she won an Oscar and a BAFTA).

The native of Des Moines, Iowa attended Northwestern University on a theater scholarship, eventually becoming a member of New York's original Actor's Studio and making her Broadway debut in Sundown Beach.

Cloris went on to play roles in more than 50 feature films, six television series, 35 telefeatures, a dozen television specials and 24 theatrical productions, including the recent and popular revival of Showboat.

Subsequent feature film credits included 50 Violins (playing Meryl Streep's mother), Hanging Up (in which she played the mother of Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow) and I Can Only Imagine (2018).

Other awards include a Daytime Emmy for the TV movie The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983), two nighttime Emmys for her role in Mary Tyler Moore and five more Emmys for various projects, including the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. For her tv series Phyllis, she won a Golden Globe and she also received a Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Cloris Leachman died January 27, 2021 at the age of 94 of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, leaving behind five children from her 26-year marriage to ex-husband George Englund.

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