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American actress Cloris Leachman, perhaps best known for playing Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Taylor Moore Show and its spin-offs Phyllis and Rhoda, has died at the age of 94, ABC News reported. She played Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks’ comedy classic Young Frankenstein and Queen Hippolyta in The New Original Wonder Woman. She appeared in the classic Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life”as Mrs. Fremont, Bill Mumy’s mother and reprised the role in the sequel “It’s Still a Good Life,” in the 2003 Twilight Zone revival.

Her first movie was Carnegie Hall in 1947, Her final role will be as Donna in Not to Forget, which is currently in post-production and is expected to be released later this year. She was born April 30, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa, and passed away January 26, 2021 in Encinitas, California. She died in her sleep in her own home of natural causes, with her daughter Dinah by her side.

Cloris Leachman studied drama at Northwestern University and then honed her craft by studying acting with Elia Kazan at the Actors Studio in New York City. She competed in the Miss America 1946 pageant as Miss Illinois. Although she performed in a few plays, she was always primarily a television actress. From the days of live television, she was a fixture on the small screen. She was married to producer-director George Englund from 1953 until their divorce in 1978. They had five children together, one of whom, Bryan Englund, sadly predeceased them.

She was the second Mom on Lassie, after Jan Clayton and before June Lockhart. She was nominated for twenty-two Primetime Emmy Awards and won eight, She also won one Daytime Emmy Award. She won both the BAFTA Award and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Last Picture Show in 1971, She was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and won one, for her sitcom Phyllis.

Her list of credits is long and varied, featuring a lot of geek cred.

She was Zorya Vechernyaya in American Gods. She was Miss Fielder in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. She co-starred with the Olsen Twins as Aunts Agatha and Sofia in Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. She appeared in the Disney comedies Herbie Goes Bananas and The North Avenue Irregulars. She co-starred in Charlie Wild, Private Detective as Effie Perrine, She was a guest on a wide variety of TV shows from the 1940s to 2020, from Gunsmoke to Dr. Kildare to Route 66 to Malcolm in the Middle to Dancing with the Stars. She was the school nurse in the Disney superhero comedy Sky High.

Dola, Captain of the Air Pirates

And that’s just the on camera stuff. She was also a prolific voice actor, in a lot of titles you’ve probably seen.

She voiced Hydia in My Little Pony: the Movie (1986). She was the voice of Granny Goodness in Justice League Action (coincidentally, her longtime Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Ed Asner voiced Granny Goodness in Superman: the Animated Series), She voiced Gran in both of The Croods movies, The Croods and The Croods: A New Age, She provided the voice for Kayo in the English version of Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo. She voiced Queen Sirena in The Little Troll Prince and Queen Gnorga in A Troll in Central Park. She was Dola, captain of the Air Pirates in the English version of Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

She had a big family of five children,  Adam, Bryan, George, Morgan  and actress Dinah Englund. She was the adoring grandmother of Portia, Skye, Arielle, Anabel, Jackson, Hallelujah, as well as a great-grandson, Braden.

In addition to nine Emmies and one Oscar, she  was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011, She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980.

Cloris Leachman was funny, talented, versatile, and one of the most memorial actors of our age.

Dream well, Ms. Leachman. You have so earned it.

-30-

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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