Cloris Leachman: A well-known contestant from Season 7 of Dancing with the Stars, Cloris Leachman.
Cloris LeachMan Early Years
Leachman, the oldest of three sisters, was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Theodore Roosevelt High School was where she studied. Her parents were Cloris (née Wallace; 1901-1967) and Berkeley Claiborne “Buck” Leachman (1903–1956), who both worked for the family-run Leachman Lumber Company.
Mary, the youngest sister, did not work in entertainment. Claiborne Cary, the middle sister, was both an actress and a singer (1932–2010).
Her paternal grandmother was of Czech (Bohemian) ancestry. Leachman performed in plays written by area kids on the weekends at Drake University in Des Moines when he was a teenager. After high school, she enrolled in Illinois State University to study drama before transferring to Northwestern University, where she studied with future comedic actor Paul Lynde and was a member of Gamma Phi Beta. Soon after competing in Miss America in 1946, she started making appearances on television and in movies.
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Cloris LeachMan Early Career in Career
Leachman studied acting at the Actors Studio in New York City under Elia Kazan after winning a scholarship in the Miss America competition. She was chosen to fill in for Nellie Forbush during the first performance of South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein. A few years later, she made an appearance in William Inge’s Come Back, Little Sheba, which was destined for Broadway, but she left the production before it got there after Katharine Hepburn asked her to co-star in a production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
In the 1950s, Leachman made numerous live television appearances on shows like Suspense and Studio One. She appeared in her first feature film as an extra in Carnegie Hall (1947), but her breakthrough came in Robert Aldrich’s 1955 noir classic Kiss Me Deadly. While being filmed, Leachman was pregnant and can be seen in one scene running down a dark highway in only a trench coat.
A year later, she starred in The Rack alongside Lee Marvin and Paul Newman (1956). In a brief appearance as a prostitute in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, she reunited with Newman (1969).
Awards For Cloris LeachMan Performance
Awards For her performance in The Last Picture Show (1971), which was based on the best-selling book by Larry McMurtry, Leachman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She portrayed the mistreated spouse of the high school gym teacher who has an affair with Timothy Bottoms’ persona. During filming, director Peter Bogdanovich predicted she would take home an Oscar for her performance. Ellen Burstyn was initially asked to play the part, but she declined because she wanted to play another character.
Leachman has also been nominated more than twenty times and has won a record-breaking eight Primetime and one Daytime Emmy Awards, most notably for his portrayal of Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. For five years, Lindstrom appeared on the show on a regular basis. After that, she appeared in the 1975–1977 spinoff series Phyllis, for which Cloris Leachman won a Golden Globe. Two seasons of the show were produced.
Three regular or recurring cast members passed away during its brief run, including Barbara Colby (who was murdered in an unsolved crime in a Los Angeles park), Judith Lowry, and Burt Mustin, contributing to its cancellation (who played a newly married couple on the show; both were in their eighties and died of natural causes).
She made a cameo appearance in episode 2.24 of The Muppet Show in 1977. She received the Sarah Siddons Award in 1978 for her contributions to Chicago theatre. She narrated the Schoolhouse Rock! VHS releases in 1987 and played the evil witch Griselda in Disney’s Cannon Tales adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. She made a comeback to television in 1986, taking over for Charlotte Rae’s Edna Garrett as Beverly Ann Stickle, Edna’s sister, in The Facts of Life.
She has lent her voice to a number of animated movies, including My Little Pony: The Movie (as the evil witch mother from the Volcano of Gloom), A Troll in Central Park (as Queen Gnorga), The Iron Giant, Gen13, and perhaps most notably, Castle in the Sky (1986), which features Hayao Miyazaki as the cantankerous sky pirate Dola. Leachman’s performance in this movie,
which Disney dubbed in 1998, received essentially universal acclaim. In the Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, Leachman portrayed the resentful, avaricious, Slavic Canadian “Grandma Ida,” for which she was nominated for two Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (in 2002 and 2006). She received a nomination because she had portrayed the part for six straight years.
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In later television appearances, Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond starred in the popular Lifetime Television miniseries Beach Girls. For her part as the grandmother Evelyn in the Sony film Spanglish, opposite Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni, Leachman received a SAG Award nomination. She had taken over the part from an ill Anne Bancroft. She worked on the movie with James L. Brooks, who also wrote, produced, and directed The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
She shared the screen once more with Sandler in The Longest Yard that same year. She also played an X-ray-seeing school nurse in the Kurt Russell comedy Sky High. She appeared as the neighbour of Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men episode #3.9, “Madame and Her Special Friend,” in 2005.
Cloris LeachMan Dancing With the Stars Season 7
Leachman competed on Dancing with the Stars’ seventh season and was paired with Corky Ballas, the show’s oldest pro and the father of two-time champion Mark Ballas. Leachman is the show’s oldest contestant to date. They came in seventh.