Celebrities pay tribute as the star of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’, ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ leaves an enduring Hollywood legacy
Nine-time Emmy award recipient and Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman has died aged 94. The celebrated American actress died of natural causes on Tuesday at her home in California, leaving behind four children and an enduring legacy which encompassed the big and small screen, as well as theatre.
Leachman is best remembered for playing the snobby, gossipy Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show; as Lois’s mum, Ida Welker in Malcolm In The Middle; and for starring roles in Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy classic Young Frankenstein, and 1971 film, The Last Picture Show, for which she scooped the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Throughout her career, Leachman also won nine Emmys, eight primetime and one daytime, a Bafta and a Golden Globe, achieving that elusive Hollywood “overnight” fame in her forties after years in TV, film and theatre. She also became the oldest contestant to appear on US TV show Dancing With The Stars at the age of 82 in 2008.
On Broadway, she was personally hand-picked by Katharine Hepburn to appear opposite her in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and she starred as Nellie Forbush during the original run of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
Working consistently throughout her career, Leachman appeared in US TV classics, including The Twilight Zone and Lassie, and starred as Agnes in 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
She married Hollywood actor and producer George Englund in 1953 and the pair went on to have five children, Adam, Bryan, who died in 1986, George Jr, Morgan and Dinah. They divorced in 1979 and she never remarried.
Tributes immediately started pouring in for the actress from the likes of Mel Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, John Stamos and George Takei. With her former director Brooks, writing: “Such sad news, Cloris was insanely talented. She could make you laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. Always such a pleasure to have on set. She is irreplaceable, and will be greatly missed.”
Scroll though the gallery above for 21 photos of the life and career of the great American actress.