Cloris Leachman


Cloris Leachman (April 30, 1926 – January 27, 2021) was an American actress and comedienne whose career spanned more than seven decades. She won many accolades, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated and, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, most awarded actress in Emmy history. She won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award.

Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Leachman attended Northwestern University and began appearing in local plays as a teenager. After competing in the 1946 Miss America pageant, she secured a scholarship to study under Elia Kazan at the Actors Studio in New York City, making her professional debut in 1948. She made her credited film debut in Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955), with Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez, Wesley Addy, and Maxine Cooper.

Other early films include Arnold Laven’s The Rack (1956), with Paul Newman, Wendell Corey, Walter Pidgeon, Edmond O’Brien, Anne Francis, and Lee Marvin; George Cukor’s The Chapman Report (1962), with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Shelley Winters, Jane Fonda, Claire Bloom, Glynis Johns, Ray Danton, Ty Hardin, Andrew Duggan, and John Dehner; George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Jeff Corey, and Henry Jones; Stuart Rosenberg’s WUSA (1970), with Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Perkins, Laurence Harvey, and Wayne Rogers; The People Next Door (1970), with Eli Wallach. Julie Harris, Hal Holbrook, and Deborah Winters; Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), with Richard S. Castellano, Gig Young, Anne Jackson, Bea Arthur, Bonnie Bedelia, Michael Brandon, Harry Guardino, Anne Meara, Bob Dishy, Marian Hailey, Joseph Hindy, and, Diane Keaton; and The Steagle (1971), with Richard Benjamin and Chill Wills.

Leachman appeared in Peter Bogdanovich‘s The Last Picture Show (1971), with Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Johnson, and Cybill Shepherd; as the jaded wife of a closeted schoolteacher in the 1950s. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance, and the film is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. She would also appear in Bogdanovich’s Daisy Miller (1974), with Shepherd, Barry Brown, Mildred Natwick, and Eileen Brennan; and Last Picture Show sequel Texasville (1990), with much of the cast retuning.

Leachman also collaborated with filmmaker, writer, actor Mel Brooks in the films Young Frankenstein (1974), with Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Madeline Kahn, and Gene Hackman; High Anxiety (1977), with Brooks, Kahn, Harvey Korman, Dick Van Patten, Ron Carey, and Howard Morris; and History of the World: Part I (1981), with Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Kahn, Korman, Ron Carey, Gregory Hines, Pamela Stephenson, Shecky Greene, Sid Caesar, and Mary-Margaret Humes.

Other films in the 1970s include Vincent McEveety’s Charley and the Angel (1973), with Fred MacMurray, Harry Morgan, and Kurt Russell; John Milius’s Dillinger (1973), with Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Michelle Phillips, Harry Dean Stanton, John Ryan, and Richard Dreyfuss; Happy Mother’s Day, Love George (1973), with Patricia Neal, Bobby Darin, Tessa Dahl, Ron Howard, Kathie Browne, Joe Mascolo, Simon Oakland, and Thayer David; Jonathan Demme’s Crazy Mama (1975), with Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern, Linda Purl, Jim Backus, and Donny Most; The North Avenue Irregulars (1979), with Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Karen Valentine, and Susan Clark; and Scavenger Hunt (1979), with Benjamin, James Coco, Scatman Crothers, Ruth Gordon, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Robert Morley, Richard Mulligan, Tony Randall, Dirk Benedict, Willie Aames, Stephanie Faracy, Stephen Furst and Richard Masur.

Films in the 1980s include Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), with Charles Martin Smith, Stephan W. Burns, John Vernon, Elyssa Davalos, Joaquin Garay III, Korman, Richard Jaeckel, and Alex Rocco; Foolin’ Around (1981), with Gary Busey, Annette O’Toole, Eddie Albert, and Tony Randall; Shadow Play (1986), with Dee Wallace; Walk Like a Man (1987), with Howie Mandel, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp, and Amy Steel; and Prancer (1989), with Rebecca Harrell, Sam Elliott, Abe Vigoda, Michael Constantine, Rutanya Alda, and Ariana Richards.

Films in the 1990s include Love Hurts (1990), with Jeff Daniels, Cynthia Sikes, Judith Ivey, and John Mahoney; The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), with Jim Varney, Diedrich Bader, Dabney Coleman, Erika Eleniak, Rob Schneider, Lea Thompson, and Lily Tomlin; Now and Then (1995), with Christina Ricci, Rosie O’Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Rita Wilson, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, and Bonnie Hunt; Never Too Late (1996), with Olympia Dukakis, Jean Lapointe, and Corey Haim; and Wes Craven’s Music of the Heart (1999), with Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Angela Bassett, Gloria Estefan, Jane Leeves, Kieran Culkin, and Jay O. Sanders.

Films in the 2000s include Hanging Up (2000), with Keaton (who also directed), Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Walter Matthau, and Adam Arkin; The Amati Girls (2001), with Mercedes Ruehl, Paul Sorvino, Lee Grant, Mark Harmon, Sean Young, Dinah Manoff, and Jamey Sheridan; Manna from Heaven (2002), with Seymour Cassel, Shelley Duvall, Jill Eikenberry, Louise Fletcher, Frank Gorshin, Harry Groener, Shirley Jones, Wendie Malick, Jerry Orbach, Austin Pendleton, and Cameron Watson; Rob Reiner’s Alex & Emma (2003), with Kate Hudson, Luke Wilson, Sophie Marceau, and David Paymer; James L. Brooks’s Spanglish (2004), with Adam Sandler, and Téa Leoni, Paz Vega; and The Californians (2005), with Noah Wyle, Illeana Douglas, Kate Mara, Joanne Whalley, Keith Carradine, Valerie Perrine, Jane Lynch, and Michael Parks.

Films in the mid to late 2000s include Beerfest (2006), with Jay Chandrasekhar (who also directed, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Nat Faxon, Will Forte, Ralf Möller, Mo’Nique, Eric Christian Olsen, and Jürgen Prochnow; The Women (2008), with Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Carrie Fisher, Debi Mazar, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen; and Expecting Mary (2010), with Elliott Gould, Linda Gray, Lainie Kazan, Della Reese, Olesya Rulin, Shepherd, Gene Simmons, and Fred Willard.

Later films include Gambit (2012), with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Tom Courtenay, and Stanley Tucci; Adult World (2014), with Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, and John Cusack; The Wedding Ringer (2015), with Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco, Ken Howard, Jenifer Lewis, Mimi Rogers, and Olivia Thirlby; This Is Happening (2015), with James Wolk, Mickey Sumner, René Auberjonois, and Judd Nelson; Stephen Gyllenhaal’s So B. It (2016), with Talitha Bateman, Jessie Collins, Alfre Woodard, John Heard, Jacinda Barrett, and Dash Mihok; The Comedian (2016), with Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Patti LuPone, Greer Barnes, and Harvey Keitel; The Bronx Bull (2017), with William Forsythe, Paul Sorvino, Joe Mantegna, Tom Sizemore, Natasha Henstridge, and Penelope Ann Miller; and Jump, Darling (2020). Her last two films High Holiday (2021), with Jennifer Tilly, Sannyn Sossman, and Robert Carradine; and Not to Forget (2021), with Karen Grassle, Louis Gossett Jr., and Tatum O’Neal; was released posthumously.

Leachman won her first Emmy Award for the TV movie A Brand New Life (1973), with Martin Balsam, Marge Redmond, Gene Nelson, Mildred Dunnock, and Wilfred Hyde-White. She additional Emmys for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), with Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Valerie Harper, Georgia Engel, and Betty White; the variety sketch show Cher (1975); the ABC Afterschool Special production The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983), with M. Emmet Walsh, Leif Green and Rosemary Murphy; and the television shows Promised Land (1998), with Gerald McRaney, Wendy Phillips, Austin O’Brien, Sarah Schaub, and Celeste Holm; and Malcolm in the Middle (2001–06), with Frankie Muniz, Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Masterson, Justin Berfield, and Erik Per Sullivan. She also received nominations for the TV movie The Migrants (1974), with Howard and Sissy Spacek; Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984), with Jeff Goldblum; Mrs. Harris (2005), with Bening, Ben Kingsley, and Chloë Sevigny; and the sitcom Raising Hope (2010-2014), with Lucas Neff, Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt, Shannon Woodward, and Gregg Binkley.

Leachman also did extensive voice over works in such films as The Mouse and His Child (1977), with Peter Ustinov, Sally Kellerman, and Andy Devine; My Little Pony: The Movie (1986), with DeVito, Kahn, Rhea Perlman, and Tony Randall; A Troll in Central Park (1994), with DeLuise, Charles Nelson Reilly, Phillip Glasser, Tawny Sunshine Glover, Hayley Mills, and Jonathan Pryce; the 1995 dub of Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky (1986), with James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Mark Hamill, Jim Cummings, Richard Dysart, and Mandy Patinkin; Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996), with Mike Judge (who also directed), Moore, Bruce Willis, and Robert Stack; Gen 13 (1999), with Alicia Witt, John de Lancie, E.G. Daily, Flea, Lauren Lane, and Hamill; Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant (1999), with Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., Christopher McDonald and Mahoney; Miyazaki’s Ponyo (2008), with Noah Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Tomlin, and White; The Croods (2013), with Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, and Clark Duke; and The Croods: A New Age (2020), with much of the returning cast plus Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, and Kelly Marie Tran.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Carnegie Hall (1947) – directed by Edgar G. Ulmer – uncredited
  • Kiss Me Deadly (1955) – directed by Robert Aldrich
  • The Rack (1956) – directed by Arnold Laven
  • The Man in the Moon (1960) – directed by Barry Shear – TV movie
  • The Chapman Report (1962) – directed by George Cukor
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – directed by George Roy Hill
  • Silent Night, Lonely Night (1969) – directed by Daniel Petrie – TV movie
  • WUSA (1970) – directed by Stuart Rosenberg
  • The People Next Door (1970) – directed by David Greene
  • Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) – directed by Cy Howard
  • The Steagle (1971) – directed by Paul Sylbert
  • The Last Picture Show (1971) – directed by Peter Bogdanovich
  • Suddenly Single (1971) – directed by Jud Taylor – TV movie
  • Haunts of the Very Rich (1972) – directed by Paul Wendkos – TV movie
  • Of Thee I Sing (1972) – directed by Roger Beatty, Dick Hall, & Dave Powers – TV movie
  • A Brand New Life (1973) – directed by Sam O’Steen – TV movie
  • Crime Club (1973) – directed by David Lowell Rich – TV movie
  • Charley and the Angel (1973) – directed by Vincent McEveety
  • Dillinger (1973) – directed by John Milius
  • Happy Mother’s Day, Love George (1973) – directed by Darren McGavin
  • Dying Room Only (1973) – directed by Philip Leacock – TV movie
  • The Migrants (1974) – directed by Tom Gries – TV movie
  • Hitchhike! (1974) – directed by Gordon Hessler – TV movie
  • Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1974) – directed by Jerry Belson – TV movie
  • Daisy Miller (1974) – directed by Peter Bogdanovich
  • Ernie, Madge and Artie (1974) – directed by Jerry Paris – TV short
  • Death Sentence (1974) – directed by E.W. Swackhammer – TV movie
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)** – directed by Mel Brooks
  • Someone I Touched (1975) – directed by Lou Antonio TV movie
  • Someone I Touched (1975) – directed by Robert Stevens – TV movie
  • A Girl Named Sooner (1975) – directed by Delbert Mann – TV movie
  • Death Scream (1975) – directed by Richard T. Heffron – TV movie
  • Crazy Mama (1975) – directed by Jonathan Demme
  • The Love Boat (1976) – directed by Richard Kinon & Alan Myerson – TV movie/pilot
  • The Mouse and His Child (1977) – directed by Charles Swenson & Fred Wolf
  • It Happened One Christmas (1977) – directed by Donald Wrye – TV movie
  • High Anxiety (1977) – directed by Mel Brooks
  • Long Journey Back (1978) – directed by Mel Damski – TV movie
  • The North Avenue Irregulars (1979) – directed by Bruce Bilson
  • Willa (1979) – directed by Joan Darling & Claudio Guzmán – TV movie
  • The Muppet Movie (1979)** – directed by James Frawley – cameo
  • Mrs. R’s Daughter (1979) – directed by Dan Curtis – TV movie
  • S.O.S. Titanic (1979) – directed by William Hale – TV movie
  • Scavenger Hunt (1979) – directed by Michael Schultz
  • The Oldest Living Graduate (1980) – directed by Jack Hofsiss – TV movie
  • Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) – directed by Vincent McEveety
  • Foolin’ Around (1980) – directed by Richard T. Heffron
  • Yesterday (1981) – directed by directed by Larry Kent
  • The Acorn People (1981) – directed by Joan Tewkesbury – TV movie
  • History of the World: Part I (1981) – directed by Mel Brooks
  • Advice to the Lovelorn (1981) – directed by Harry Falk – TV movie
  • Perfectly Frank (1981) – directed by Fritz Holt – TV movie
  • Miss All-American Beauty (1982) – directed by Gus Trikonis – TV movie
  • The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983) – directed by Sharon Miller – TV special
  • Dixie: Changing Habits (1983) – directed by George Englund – TV movie
  • The Demon Murder Case (1983) – directed by William Hale – TV movie
  • Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984) – directed by Lamont Johnson
  • Breakfast with Les and Bess (1985) – directed by Perry Rosemond – TV movie
  • Deadly Intentions (1985) – directed by Noel Black – TV movie
  • Blind Alleys (1985) – directed by William Cosel & David F. Wheeler – TV movie
  • Love Is Never Silent (1985) – directed by Joseph Sargent – TV movie
  • Shadow Play (1986) – directed by Susan Shadburne
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) – directed by Michael Joens
  • Castle in the Sky (1986)** – directed by Hayao Miyazaki – English Dub
  • The Facts of Life Down Under (1987) – directed by Stuart Margolin – TV movie
  • Walk Like a Man (1987) – directed by Melvin Frank
  • Hansel and Gretel (1987) – directed by Lee Talan
  • The Little Troll Prince (1987) – directed by Ray Patterson – TV movie
  • Sparky’s Magic Piano (1987) – directed by Lee Mishkin
  • Going to the Chapel (1988) – directed by Paul Lynch
  • Prancer (1989) – directed by John Hancock
  • Love Hurts (1990) – directed by Bud Yorkin
  • Texasville (1990) – directed by Peter Bogdanovich
  • Fine Things (1990) – directed by Tom Moore – TV movie
  • The Giant of Thunder Mountain (1991) – directed by James W. Roberson
  • In Broad Daylight (1991) – directed by James Steven Sadwith – TV movie
  • A Little Piece of Heaven (1991) – directed by Mimi Leder – TV movie
  • Fade to Black (1993) – directed by John McPherson – TV movie
  • Spies (1993) – directed by Kevin Connor – TV movie
  • Without a Kiss Goodbye (1993) – directed by Noel Nosseck – TV movie
  • Miracle Child (1993) – directed by Michael Pressman – TV movie
  • My Boyfriend’s Back (1993) – directed by Bob Balaban
  • The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) – directed by Penelope Spheeris
  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993) – directed by Stuart Margolin – TV movie
  • A Troll in Central Park (1994) – directed by Don Bluth & Gary Goldman
  • Nobody’s Girls: Five Women of the West (1995) – directed by Mirra Bank – documentary
  • Between Love and Honor (1995) – directed by Sam Pillsbury – TV movie
  • Now and Then (1995) – directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
  • Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)* – directed by Mike Judge
  • Never Too Late (1996) – directed by Giles Walker
  • Annabelle’s Wish (1997) – directed by Roy Wilson – straight to video
  • Gen¹³ (1999) – directed by Kevin Altieri
  • The Iron Giant (1999)** – directed by Brad Bird
  • Music of the Heart (1999) – directed by Wes Craven
  • Hanging Up (2000) – directed by Diane Keaton
  • The Animal (2001) – directed by Luke Greenfield – uncredited
  • The Amati Girls (2001) – directed by Anne De Salvo
  • Manna from Heaven (2002) – directed by Gabrielle C. Burton & Maria Burton
  • Alex & Emma (2003) – directed by Rob Reiner
  • Bad Santa (2003) – directed by Terry Zwigoff – uncredited
  • Crazy Love (2003) – directed by Andrew D. Weyman – TV movie
  • Spanglish (2004)* – directed by James L. Brooks
  • Buzz (2005) – directed by Spiro Taraviras – documentary
  • The Longest Yard (2005) – directed by Peter Segal
  • Sky High (2005)* – directed by Mike Mitchell
  • Mrs. Harris (2005) – directed by Phyllis Nagy – TV movie
  • The Californians (2005) – directed by Jonathan Parker
  • Scary Movie 4 (2006) – directed by David Zucker
  • Beerfest (2006) – directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
  • Lake Placid 2 (2007) – directed by David Flores – TV movie
  • The Women (2008)* – directed by Diane English
  • Ponyo (2008)* – directed by Hayao Miyazaki – English dub
  • New York, I Love You (2009) – directed by Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Randall Balsmeyer, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Jiang Wen, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, & Brett Ratner – anthology
  • American Cowslip (2009) – directed by Mark David
  • Love Takes Wing (2009) – directed by Lou Diamond Phillips – TV movie
  • Inglourious Basterds (2009)* – directed by Quentin Tarantino – scenes deleted
  • Expecting Mary (2010) – directed by Dan Gordon
  • You Again (2010) – directed by Andy Fickman – uncredited
  • The Fields (2012) – directed by Tom Mattera & Dave Mazzoni
  • Gambit (2012) – directed by Michael Hoffman
  • The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (2012) – directed by Matthew Diamond
  • Foodfight! (2012) – directed by Lawrence Kasanoff
  • The Croods (2013) – directed by Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders
  • Adult World (2014) – directed by Scott Coffey
  • The Wedding Ringer (2015) – directed by Jeremy Garelick
  • This Is Happening (2015) – directed by Ryan Jaffe
  • Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015) – directed by Christopher Landon
  • Unity (2015) – directed by Shaun Monson – narrator – documentary
  • Baby, Baby, Baby (2015) – directed by Brian Klugman
  • Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? (2016) – directed by Matt Cooper
  • So B. It (2016) – directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal
  • The Comedian (2016) – directed by Taylor Hackford
  • Recalculating (2016) – directed by Diane Weis – short
  • The Gilksmans (2017) – directed by Mikey Skolnick
  • The Bronx Bull (2017) – directed by Martin Guigi
  • I Can Only Imagine (2018) – directed by Andrew & Jon Erwin
  • Lez Bomb (2018) – directed by Jenna Laurenzo
  • It’s Who You Know (2018) – directed by Ricky Rosario – short
  • When We Last Spoke (2019) – directed by Joanne Hock
  • Being and Nothingness (2019) – directed by Ashley Avis – short
  • The Croods: A New Age (2020) – directed by Joel Crawford
  • Jump, Darling (2020) – directed by Phil Connell
  • High Holiday (2021) – directed by Brian Hertzlinger – posthumous release
  • Not to Forget (2021) – directed by Valerio Zanoli – posthumous release