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Cloris Leachman, Oscar and Emmy Winning Actress, Dead at 94

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman, beloved as the madcap and neurotic Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died. She was 94.

Cloris Leachman Has Passed Away

According to numerous sources, Leachman died in her sleep on Tuesday, January 26 of natural causes. Over the course of her career, Leachman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Last Picture Show in 1972.

She’s known to most TV viewers for her run as Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Her impact on that program is all the more impressive as she only appeared on the show 35 times (out of 186 episodes) including the show’s finale. In 1975, Lindstrom was spun off into her own series, Phyllis, in which Leachman’s character moved to San Francisco to live with her in-laws following her husband Lars’s death.

Leachman holds a record for Emmys, winning eight golden girls. She’s tied with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) for the most victories.

Leachman won Emmys for her roles on Malcolm in the Middle (2002, 2006), The Promised Land (1998), Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration (1984), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1974; 1975), and A Brand New Life (1973).

Other honors include a Daytime Emmy in 1983 for Outstanding Performer in Children’s Programming for an ABC Afterschool Special and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical in 1975.

After Charlotte Rae exited the series The Facts of Life and her role as Mrs. Edna Garrett, Leachman joined the show as Beverly Ann, Edna’s sister. Series star Mindy Cohn (Natalie) posted on Instagram: “for so much and more, thank you my darling Cloris. #restinpeace #untilweplayagain.” In a second one she wrote, “my dearest darling Clo – you forever changed my life; gifting me with your friendship, a confidence and passion to live my best actor’s life, and the truest belief that i have a storyteller’s heart and soul. #mymentor #wewillalwaysbefamily #untilweplayagain.”

Rosie O’Donnell tweeted: “funniest – applause on every entrance and exit – how can phyliss – rhoda (Valerie Harper) n mary (Mary Tyler Moore) b gone – rest in glory – u lit up the world #ripcloris.”

At the age of 82, Leachman competed on Dancing With the Stars, paired with pro dancer Corky Ballas.

Born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa, her parents were Berkeley Claiborne “Buck” Leachman and Cloris (Wallace) Leachman. She attended Illinois State University and Northwestern University, majoring in drama. She won the title of Miss Chicago 1946 and later moved to New York. She made her professional acting debut in an episode of The Ford Theatre Hour in 1948.

Leachman was wed to director/producer George Englund from 1953 to 1979. They had five children together including Morgan Englund, best known to soap fans as Dylan Lewis on Guiding Light. Leachman’s son Bryan Englund preceded her in death in 1986. Entertainment Hub sends sincere condolences to Leachman’s family at this difficult time.

 

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