R.I.P. Cloris Leachman, Phyllis from Mary Tyler Moore and most awarded actress in Emmy history

The actress appeared on television in eight different decades.

On Now
MeTV Presents The Top 10 Episodes of The Twilight Zone: It’s a Good Life
Up Next:

Cloris Leachman, who broke out as nosy landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and got her own spin-off, Phyllis, has passed away at the age of 94.

Over her long and accomplished career on TV since then, she became the most nominated woman in the history of Emmy Awards with 22 nominations and her eight wins gave her the title of most awarded actress in Emmy history, shared with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 

At the age of 15, Leachman earned a summer radio scholarship at Northwestern University. She would later enroll at the school and study drama. In Evanston, she grew close to classmates Paul Lynde (Bewitched) and Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life). Lynde would come to her dormitory to put on operas, with Rae and Leachman singing backup. Decades later, Leachman would replace Rae on The Facts of Life.

She appeared in one of the most memorable and iconic episodes of The Twilight Zone, "It's a Good Life", wherein Leachman played the mother of a mind-controlling Bill Mumy. Forty-two years later, in the 2003 reboot of The Twilight Zone, Leachman and Mumy would reprise their roles for "It's Still a Good Life."

Leachman took home an Oscar for her stunning performance in the Peter Bogdanovich film, The Last Picture Show. The director believed the scene would be more powerful with no rehearsal, so Leachman just went for it. After the first take, she said, "I can do better." Bogdanovich reportedly replied, "No, you can't — you just won the Oscar."

Indeed, that Oscar would become one of the actress' 23 awards and 39 nominations. Her final nomination would come in 2011 for her role in the sitcom Raising Hope.

She remained incredibly active in later life and even became the oldest actress to compete on Dancing With The Stars at the age of 82. In recent years, a recurring role on the sitcom Raising Hope led to late-career performances in Girl Meets World and American Gods. Her final onscreen television role would be as Mrs. Mandelbaum in the reboot of Mad About You in 2019.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Jimo 28 months ago
Young Frankenstein......"stay close to lights the stairs ca be treacherous!Cloris Leachman funny stuff.......whinnie,neigh!
kenosha 31 months ago
Cloris Leachman will definitely be missed she was an outstanding actress especially on: The Mary Tyler Moore Show- which Cloris Leachman played Phyllis for 5 Seasons! And than on her very own spin-off series called: Phyllis- which only lasted 2 Seasons (One of my personal favorite television shows) and Cloris Leachman made such memorable made for television movies in the 70’s especially: Haunts Of The Very Rich (1972) and: Dying Room Only (1973) and she starred in the memorable movie: Young Frankenstein- and Cloris Leachman was an amazing dancer! Cloris Leachman was on ABC Dancing With The Stars - and she was so amazing dancing all those dances that she received many wonderful scores and lasted a couple of weeks on ABC Dancing With The Stars- and Cloris Leachman guest starred on a very memorable episode of the television show: Two and a Half Men- during Season 3 of the classic show playing Alan’s love interest!
cagein1954 39 months ago
Let's do some Guy Williams Zorro!
Yuuji 39 months ago
Any plans about The Jetsons officially coming to MeTV this Valentine's Day?
Ricport 39 months ago
She will be missed. Come on, MeTV... How about showing some MTM and/or "Phyllis" episodes in honor of her passing?
daDoctah 39 months ago
While everyone else is mentioning her lesser-known roles, recall that she played the mother of Ellen Degeneres on "The Ellen Show". (That's not Ellen's talk show, nor the sitcom on which she came out, but a short-lived follow-up series that had Ellen moving back to her midwestern hometown.)
Jeremy 39 months ago
I found out about her death while scrolling through Wikipedia like I usually do. It was quite a shocker. Let me tell you.
Marty53 39 months ago
She was a "Soiled Dove" in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Dario 39 months ago
Rest in peace, Cloris. 🥀🥀🥀🥀🥀
Corey 39 months ago
Beverly Ann say hello to Mrs. Garrett.
Pacificsun 39 months ago
Probably a tribute to Mary Tyler Moore's sense of ensemble casting that she was so inclusive as to feature Cloris Leachman on the MTM Show. Who by all accounts was a scene stealer! I remember her last on Dancing with the Stars (in her 80's) and thought how wonderfully gutsy! You felt like you knew her as a fun friend, that was how charming and accessible she came across. What a joy that she lived a long, award winning and fruitful career. May her family find peace in the joy she brought to her audience!
lnieting 39 months ago
Don't forget "Grandma Ida" on Malcolm in the Middle! Hysterically funny!
Peter 39 months ago
Her characters always annoyed me, but she was a great actress.
DeniseandTyrone 39 months ago
Loved her in Lake Placid 2...….
Ricky 39 months ago
loved her in Prancer too! and she was a fellow Czechoslovakian....just like Karen Black, Paul Newman and Jon Voight!
we will miss you Cloris....
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?