Arts & Leisure

Leachman was ’09 grand marshal

CLORIS LEACHMAN waving at the crowd as the Celebrity Grand Marshal in the 51st Annual Strawberry Festival of Garden Grove in 2009 (File photo).

Cloris Leachman, the Academy Award and Emmy-winning actress with a long career in film and television, has died at the age of 94. According to the Associated Press, she died of natural causes in her sleep at her home in Encinitas.

She is especially well known locally as the celebrity grand marshal of the 2009 Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parade.

Leachman won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role as the lonely wife of a high school football coach in “The Last Picture Show” in 1971. She was also known as Phyllis Lindstrom, the nosy landlady in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the Seventies. Leachman starred in a spin-off, “Phyllis,” in which her character moved to San Francisco.

She had previous experience being a grand marshal; she served as grand marshal for the 2009 New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game in Pasadena.

Born in 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa, she attended Northwestern University and Illinois State University. She competed in the 1946 Miss America pageant as Miss Chicago, winning a scholarship.

That allowed her to begin studying acting in New York City at the famous Actors Studio. She worked both on the Broadway stage and on television and in film.

She gained fame when she won an Oscar in 1971 for her role in “Picture Show.” It helped also to launch her into a more prominent position in TV, especially as a regular on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” as Phyliss.

The spinoff show, “Phyliss,” aired on CBS from 1975 to 1977. In her TV career, she won nine Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe.

Her other film work included roles in “Spanglish” and Young Frankenstein.” More recently, she had been in the public eye by competing on the TV program “Dancing With the Stars.”  In 2009, she posed for an PETA advertisement clad only in lettuce.



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