Cloris Leachman, Emmy and Oscar-Winning Actress, Dies at 94
Leachman died in her sleep of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, publicist Monique Moss
said Wednesday. Her daughter Dinah Englund was at her side
The actress who is best remembered for playing the role of a lonely housewife in “The Last Picture Show”
and a comedic delight as the fearsome Frau Blücher in “Young Frankenstein” and self-absorbed neighbor
Phyllis on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died in her sleep of natural causes at her home in Encinitas,
Green said in a statement;
“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.”
The daffy, self-absorbed Phyllis, a character she claimed was close to her own persona, brought the actress
two Emmys as a featured actress in a series during the mid-’70s and made Leachman a household name.
Leachman also won a supporting actress Oscar in the early part of the decade for a far different character,
an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s elegiac “The Last Picture Show”;
she would later reprise the role in the film’s less successful sequel “Texasville.” Both films were based
on the writings of Larry McMurtry.
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.
Although she started as Miss Chicago in the Miss America Pageant, Leachman willingly accepted
unglamorous screen roles.