Hollywood Remembers Cloris Leachman: The ‘Funny Lady Stole Her Way Into Our Hearts’

Natalie Oganesyan
·5-min read

Oscar winner and eight-time Emmy winner Cloris Leachman, best remembered as the delightfully neurotic Phyllis Lindstrom on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and her own subsequent sitcom, was remembered by Hollywood as an incredibly hilarious woman and “comedic genius.” She died of natural causes on Tuesday in Encinitas, Calif., and was 94.

Her portrayal of Phyllis garnered her two Emmys as a featured actress in a series during the mid-’70s and made her a household name. She won a supporting actress Academy Award in the early part of the decade for a far different character, an embittered small-town housewife in Peter Bogdanovich’s coming-of-age drama “The Last Picture Show.”

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Her seemingly overnight success came only after two decades of hard work in theater, television and film. Leachman was in her 40s when stardom finally hit and effortlessly transitioned to more grandmotherly roles later in life.

Mel Brooks, director of “Young Frankenstein,” in which Leachman played Frau Blücher, whose name scared horses in the film, paid tribute to the actor and her talent. “She could make you laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. Always such a pleasure to have on set. Every time I hear a horse whinny I will forever think of Cloris’ unforgettable Frau Blücher,” he wrote.

Bruce Dern described Leachman as “one-of-a-kind.” In addition to playing husband and wife in 2018’s “Lez Bomb,” the two appeared in a 1962 episode of ABC’s “Stoney Burke.”

“Every now and then, we’re lucky enough to have a Cloris Leachman to work with and to know. She was truly a one-of-a-kinder,” Dern said in a statement.

George Takei remembered Leachman as a “funny lady [who] stole her way into our hearts and always left us smiling.”

Ed Asner shared “a picture from the last time I saw [her].” “Always beautiful,” he wrote. “Nothing I could say would top the enormity of my love for you. Until we meet again darling.”

TV director Greg Garcia paid tribute to the star and shared a photo of the two where Leachman is licking the back of his neck. “I can’t squeeze into a tweet all the fun times I had with this woman and how much I loved her so I’ll just say she’ll be extremely missed,” he wrote.

John Stamos shared a video of Leachman at the “Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget,” where she says she is there to “fuck John Stamos.” “God I loved her,” he added.

Actor and comedian Daniel Franzese, known for his role in “Mean Girls,” reflected on his friendship with the prominent actor.

Comedian Matt Rogers, who appears on HBO Max’s “Haute Dog,” remembers Leachman as a “forever star.”

See more tributes below.

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