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Oscar-Winning Actress Cloris Leachman Dies at 94

Oscar-Winning Actress Cloris Leachman Dies at 94

By Movieguide® Staff

Oscar winner Cloris Leachman died on Jan. 27 of natural causes.

“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time. There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic,” Leachman’s manager, Juliet Green, says.

Leachman is known for her role in the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, but also appeared in the Movieguide® Award-Winning Movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE and the Movieguide® Award-nominated movie THE CROODS.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

The actress attended Northwestern University and left the college after earning the title of Miss Chicago.

Overnight success for the actress, however, came only after two decades of hard work in theater, television and some films. Leachman was in her 40s when stardom finally hit.

Leachman’s pitch-perfect timing and effortlessness in comedy and her unadorned honesty in drama was the result of many years honing her craft and incorporated her own life experiences as a mother of five children (by producer George Englund).

Her open, all-American looks took her through several decades in a wide variety of roles on Broadway, early television as well as more than 40 movies.

She moved easily from leading roles to character parts, although her strongest work was usually in the latter category.

The actress won a total of eight primetime Emmys, both for drama and comedy, and one daytime Emmy.

The recurring character of Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” not only made her a TV star but also gave her time to squeeze in roles in film including “Lovers and Other Strangers,” “The People Next Door,” “WUSA” and “The Last Picture Show,” which brought her an Oscar for supporting actress in 1971 in an upset over her nominated co-star Ellen Burstyn. Two Emmys for the role of Phyllis were crowded alongside one for drama in the ABC TV movie “A Brand New Life” (1973) and led, in 1975, to her own series, which lasted a couple of seasons.

Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011. She is survived by sons Adam, George Jr. and Morgan, and her daughter, Dinah.