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Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman, one of America's most celebrated entertainers, has garnered a record eight Emmy Awards for acting, as well as an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, a National Board of Review Award, and a British Academy Award. She won her Academy, BAFTA and NBR Awards for her poignant portrayal of a lonely Texas housewife in Peter Bogdanovich's landmark film The Last Picture Show.

One of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood, Leachman has starred in more than 40 feature films. She recently appeared in the comedy horror film Scary Movie 4; The Longest Yard, with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock; and Sky High, with Kurt Russell. Leachman was also nominated for a SAG Award for Best Supporting Female Actor for her role as the wine-soaked, jazz-singing Evelyn in the Adam Sandler romantic comedy Spanglish.

Her memorable earlier film roles include the calculating Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, the twisted Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety, and the spry Granny in the feature adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies. Her other big-screen credits include Mike Judge's Beavis and Butthead Do America; The Animal; The Amati Girls; Hanging Up, with Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow; Music of the Heart, opposite Meryl Streep; Angela Bassett, Aidan Quinn and Gloria Estefan; and Brad Bird's animated feature Iron Giant.

On television, Leachman's recurring role as Grandma Ida on Malcolm in the Middle brought her an Emmy Award—her eighth—in 2002, as one of six consecutive Emmy nominations from 2001 to 2006. She earned dual Emmy nominations in 2006, including one for Best Supporting Actress in HBO's Mrs. Harris, opposite Sir Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening. Leachman's other recent credits include the Lifetime miniseries Beach Girls and a guest-starring role on the hit comedy Two and a Half Men.

In the 1970s, millions tuned in to watch Leachman's self-absorbed yet endearing character, Phyllis Lindstrom, on the legendary Mary Tyler Moore, followed by her popular spin-off series Phyllis. For her work on Mary Tyler Moore, Leachman received four consecutive Emmy nominations, winning twice in 1974 and 1975. She later gained another Emmy nomination and won a Golden Globe Award for Phyllis. In 1975, she had the rare distinction of winning two Emmys in the same year, one for her role on Mary Tyler Moore and the second for her performance on the variety show Cher. She had won her first Emmy in 1973 for her performance in the telefilm A Brand New Life. The 1980s brought Leachman more acclaim. She joined the cast of the popular NBC series The Facts of Life, dispensing advice as Beverly Ann. Leachman also gained Emmy number five for The Woman Who Willed a Miracle, and a sixth Emmy Award for her eight-minute soliloquy during the Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Leachman also delivered Emmy-nominated performances in the television movies The Migrants, It Happened One Christmas and Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter. Her more than 35 films for television also include In Broad Daylight, Honor Bright, Fine Things, Love is Never Silent, The Demon Murder Case, Dixie: Changing Habits, A Girl Named Sooner and Backstairs at the White House.

The 1990s and 2000s have been especially busy for Leachman. In 1998, the actress won her seventh Emmy for her work as Aunt Mooster on the CBS series Promised Land. In 2001, Leachman was handpicked by Ellen Degeneres to star as her mother in the primetime series The Ellen Show.

Leachman's formidable stage work includes over two dozen productions. Most notably, she starred in the national tour of Grandma Moses: An American Primitive. She also starred in the national tours of Showboat; The Oldest Living Graduate; Butterflies Are Free; Same Time, Next Year; Twigs; and The Housekeeper. Her Broadway credits include As You Like It, South Pacific, Lo and Behold, John Loves Mary, Sundown Beach, Sunday Breakfast, Dear Barbarians, King of Hearts, Touch of the Poet and Masquerade.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Cloris Leachman Facts

OccupationActress, Comedian
BirthdayApril 30, 1926 (97)
BirthplaceDes Moines, Iowa, USA
Height5' 7" (1m70)  How tall is Cloris Leachman compared to you?
Awards2006 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (for Malcolm in the Middle)
2002 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series (for Malcolm in the Middle)
1976 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy (for Phyllis)
1972 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (for The Last Picture Show)

Selected Filmography

The Croods
The Comedian
My Boyfriend's Back
The Fields
The New, Original Wonder Woman
The Mel Brooks Collection
Castle in the Sky
The Beverly Hillbillies
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