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In Memory of Cloris Leachman

A Tribute to a Versatile Hollywood Icon: Cloris Leachman

“I don’t think comedy or serious.” I always brought seriousness to comedy and comedic things to serious roles.”

Born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa, Cloris Leachman started acting in local youth plays at Drake University when she was still a teenager. After high school, she attended Northwestern University. In 1946, she placed in the top 16 of the Miss America Pageant. She may not have won the crown, but she did receive a scholarship to study acting with the renowned Elia Kazan at The Actors Studio in New York City, and thus began an illustrious career that spanned over 70 years and earned her nine Emmy Awards, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe, among other honors.

She’s widely known for her roles as Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show, as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff, Phyllis, and, of course as a woman so terrifying, horses neigh frantically at the mere sound of her name, Frau Blücher in the now classic Mel Brooks comedy, Young Frankenstein.

Did you know Cloris Leachman has also graced your TV screen on INSP? You might have recognized her as Agnes in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and in guest roles on Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, The Virginian, and Wanted: Dead or Alive.

Leachman was married to Hollywood actor and director, George Englund in 1953 until they divorced in 1979. She had five children with him.

Cloris Leachman died on January 27, 2021 at her home in California at age 94.