Actress Cloris Leachman Passes Away at 94


The celebrity-news site said the 94-year-old star died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Encinitas, California.

"It's been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time", said Juliet Green, Leachman's manager. She could make you laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. She briefly played Ensign Nellie Forbush, the role made famous by Mary Martin, in the original production of "South Pacific" in 1952, and replaced Kim Stanley in a 1959 revival of Eugene O'Neill's "A Touch of the Poet". Her final cinematic appearances included reprising Gran for The Croods: A New Age, Jump, Darling and High Holiday, all of which were released in 2020.

Brooks on Wednesday called her "insanely talented".

A few years ago when The Hollywood Reporter asked her if she considered retirement she joked: 'F*** you'.

Director Mel Brooks also praised her turn as the grim-faced Transylvanian housekeeper Blücher - whose very name struck fear into horses - in his 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein as "unforgettable".

Leachman also performed at the Des Moines Playhouse as a child. In her early television career, she appeared as Timmy's mother on the "Lassie" series.

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Her career on the big screen was no less auspicious, with the actress winning an Academy Award for her role as a gym teacher's neglected wife in 1971's The Last Picture Show. She's won eight times, tying with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most wins. A brief list of highlights: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Dillinger, The Love Boat, The Muppet Movie, The Facts of Life, Texasville, The Simpsons, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Longest Yard, Malcolm in the Middle, Beerfest, and on and on and on.

Leachman also had strong character parts, and good comedic timing.

Age did little to slow Leachman.

DeGeneres, who went on to become a hugely successful talk show host, tweeted: "I always considered myself lucky for having the chance to work with her".

Leachman took a light-hearted and unpredictable approach to life. A lifelong vegetarian, she was a passionate advocate for animal rights. "She re-enacted all our favorite lines from "Young Frankenstein" and 'High Anxiety.' Then, one day during rehearsal, she mooned us all. When I do work, it's not work; it's great fun and exciting and fresh".

They had five children together - Dinah, Morgan, Bryan, George Jr. and Adam - but the marriage finally fell apart by 1979.