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Cloris Leachman: 1926-2021

Cloris Leachman: 1926-2021

April 1954. New York. "Actress Cloris Leachman (seen earlier here, here and here) at home with husband George Englund." Photo by Phillip Harrington for Look magazine. View full size.

Cloris Leachman, Oscar Winner
And TV Comedy Star, Is Dead at 94

        Cloris Leachman, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a neglected housewife in the stark drama “The Last Picture Show” but who was probably best known for getting laughs, notably in three Mel Brooks movies and on television comedies like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” died on Wednesday at her home in Encinitas, Calif. She was 94. -- New York Times

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Member of a very small club

The Social Security Administration recorded just 153 babies born with the first name Cloris between 1880 and 2018.

She was once Timmy's mom

It's hard to believe, but she played mom to Jon Provost's Timmy on "Lassie" from 1957-1958. In a rather spectacular example of miscasting, neither she nor the audience liked the role, and she ended up getting fired after a year. Cloris as a mouse-like housewife is rather a stretch -- June Lockhart turned out to be a much better choice.

A legend

" ... Frau Blücher ... " [horses whinny]

All-time great entrance

My indelible image of her is the opening of 'Kiss Me Deadly', where she runs out of the dark, panting and wearing only a trench coat. The scene was shot less than a year after this 1954 photo. (Incidentally, when making the movie she was several months pregnant with her second son, who would die under somewhat mysterious circumstances at the age of 30.)

Ruth & Sonny & Oscar

When Cloris wanted to do another take of the final scene of "The Last Picture Show," Peter Bogdanovich said no -- this will get you the Academy Award as is. And it did.

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