January 28, 2021
Cloris Leachman Dead, Emmy-Winning Actress Dies At 94

Cloris Leachman has died. The iconic actress passed away at the age of 94, according to TMZ.

Leachman passed away of natural causes on Tuesday, January 26, at her home in Encinitas, California, with her daughter, Dinah, by her side, her son told TMZ.

Best known for her portrayal of Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Leachman's celebrated career saw her win eight Primetime Emmys and an Academy Award.


Leachman's Career In Entertainment Spanned Seven Decades

Raquel Welch, Gene Hackman and Cloris Leachman attend an event.
Getty Images | Keystone

Leachman was born on April 30, 1926, in Des Moines, Iowa, per Britannica. She would go on to study drama at Illinois State University and Northwestern before getting her start in film and television shortly after competing in the 1946 edition of the Miss America pageant and moving to New York City.

After several roles in both theater and television productions, Leachman got her first substantial film role in Robert Aldrich's 1955 film Kiss Me Deadly. The following year she would appear in The Rack alongside Paul Newman. Despite her initial foray into film, she would find more success on television in the following years. She appeared on several iconic shows of the period, including Lassie, The Twilight Zone and Perry Mason.

The 1970s would see Leachman become a high-profile talent on the big and small screen. The Mary Tyler Moore Show would debut on CBS in the fall of 1970, with Leachman in the supporting role of Phyllis Lindstrom, the title character's landlady. She appeared in 34 episodes during the series' first five seasons, winning Primetime Emmys for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy in 1974 and Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series in 1975. In 1975, she would star in the spinoff Phyllis, which ran for two seasons and saw Leachman win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

In 1971, she played Ruth Popper in Peter Bogdanovich's coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show, which saw her win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Leachman went on to star in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, which saw her nominated for a 1974 Golden Globe. This launched a working relationship with the iconic director, and she appeared in two more of his films within a decade: High Anxiety in 1977 and History of the World: Part I in 1981.

Leachman's later years saw her once again become a household name on television for two separate generations. In 1986, she joined the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. Her character, Beverly Ann Stickle, replaced the character of Mrs. Garrett as the series' mother figure. She would stay with the show for its final two seasons. Between 2001 and 2006, she made regular guest appearances on the FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle as Grandma Ida. This role saw her nominated for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy six consecutive years, winning the award in 2002 and 2006.

Leachman competed on the seventh season of Dancing with the Stars in 2008, making her the oldest contestant to appear on the series. She finished seventh overall.


Leachman Had Five Children

Cloris Leachman attends an event.
Getty Images | Michael Tullberg

Leachman married George Englund, a film editor, director, producer, and actor, in 1953. The couple would remain together until 1979 and have five children together: sons Bryan, Morgan, Adam, and George and daughter Dinah. Bryan tragically passed in 1986. Morgan would follow in his parent's footsteps into acting, most notably as Dylan on the CBS Soap Opera Guiding Light.

She also has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Her granddaughter Anabel Englund has found success as a singer in the electronic music group Hot Natured.