Cloris Leachman, Legendary Film & TV Actress, Passes Away at Age 94

On Wednesday, the pop culture community learned of the passing of Emmys and Academy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman on Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, at the age of 94. Beginning her career in the 1940s during the early days of television on shows such as The Ford Theatre, Suspense, and The Bob & Ray Show, Leachman's career would go on to last over seven decades and include award-winning accomplishments on the stage as well as the big and small screens. Leachman would earn eight career Emmy Awards spread across six series as well as 22 nominations, and also earned a Supporting Actress Oscar for The Last Picture Show. Though a regular presence on television even before then, Leachman would achieve a new level of notoriety in the recurring role of Phyllis Lindstrom in both the classic sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its 1975-1977 spinoff Phyllis. Over two decades later, the actress would earn two Emmys and four nominations for her role as Ida on the Bryan Cranston and Jane Kaczmarek-starring FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle and a nomination for her role as the cool-beyond-her-years Maw Maw on FOX's Raising Hope.

cloris leachman
LOS ANGELES – APR 20: Cloris Leachman arrives for Starz' 'American Gods' Premiere on April 20, 2017 in Hollywood, CA (Shutterstock.com)

Known for a career that ranged from serious drama such as The Last Picture Show to classic cinematic comedies such as Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety, Leachman discussed one of the first auditions she ever went on during a 2016 interview– one that she made her way to on the back of a truck thanks to her mother. "She said there was a tryout for a radio show at Drake University and if I could get over there, I should try out. We lived way outside of Des Moines, just out in the country in a little house on an acre. So I went down to the truck stop a half a mile from our house and I hopped a ride on the running board of this truck to Drake University. I was about 11 and they were auditioning for a radio program and I got the part of the princess. I did that for a long time, every Saturday," Leachman revealed. "It was just amazing that everybody was so trustworthy in those days. You never worried about your child with anybody. I was growing up during the Depression and, one time, my mom and I were gone and (my sister) Mary was in the house. She was about 4 and she was alone. Someone came to our house and she made them a peanut butter sandwich and they thanked her very much and went on their way."

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.

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