Cloris Leachman was the total package: she could act, sing, dance, make you laugh and cry all in the same show. If there were any doubts she had the hardware to prove it, winning both an Oscar as well as 7 Emmys.
Leachman’s career spanned eight decades, from 1947 to 2021. She was the kind of performer that made everyone around her better, which is why legends like Mary Tyler Moore and Mel Brooks sought her out. Like many people in my generation, I first remember her as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein. Later we would watch reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Rhoda and Leachman would make us laugh harder than anyone else on the show.
Valerie Harper; Mary Tyler Moore; Cloris Leachman
Leachman as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein
Leachman as Ida on Malcolm In The Middle
Leachman as Maw Maw on Raising Hope
Most recently she was a bright spot on American Gods, showing that she still had serious dramatic chops to go with her consistently razor sharp comic timing. Her grounded portrayal in a fantastical show was a touchstone for the audience.
Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya on American Gods
She made it look easy, which is a testament to just how gifted she was because any actor will tell you comedy is the hardest thing to do. Leachman was a master of the genre. She passed away at the age of 94.