Oscar Winner Cloris Leachman Has Died
LOS ANGELES – Cloris Leachman, an Oscar-winner for her role of a lonely housewife in “The Last Picture Show” and as the fearsome Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks' “Young Frankenstein” and wacky neighbor Phyllis on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” has died. She was 94.
She played a frontier prostitute in 1969's “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” a crime spree family member in “Crazy Mama,” and Blücher in “Young Frankenstein,” Leachman was known for her range and unique characterizations.
Leachman toured in “Grandma Moses,” a play in which she aged from 45 to 101 in 1989. She also appeared in major cities as the captain’s wife in the revival of “Show Boat" for three years during the 1990s. She also played the role of Granny Clampett, the role made famous by Irene Ryan, in the 1993 movie version of “The Beverly Hillbillies."
When Leachman received the Oscar as best supporting actress in 1971, she delivered a speech in which she thanked her piano and dancing teachers and concluded: “This is for Buck Leachman, who paid the bills," referring to her father who ran a lumber mill.
After “Young Frankenstein,” Leachman went on to appear in several of Brooks' movies, including “High Anxiety” and “History of the World, Part I.” She was also in Peter Bogdanovich’s “Daisy Miller,” and “Texasville,” then repeating her role in “The Last Picture Show.” In 2009, she made headlines after publishing her autobiography, “Cloris,” where she recounted a one-night stand with Gene Hackman.