Cloris Leachman, the acclaimed actress whose one-of-a-kind comedic flair made her a legendary figure in film and television for seven decades, has died, according to a statement from her longtime manager and representatives. She was 94.
“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time. There was no one like Cloris,” said a statement from her manager, Juliet Green. “With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh ’till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”
Leachman died Wednesday of natural causes in Encinitas, California, according to the statement.
During her extensive career, Leachman, who was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011, earned 22 Emmy nominations and eight Primetime Emmy awards and one Daytime Emmy Award.
Two of her statues were won for playing what was arguably her most iconic role — cunning landlady Phyllis Lindstrom. The character originated on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later received a spin-off series.
In the early 2000s, Leachman earned a fresh round of acclaim for her role as cranky grandmother Ida on Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle.” She won a best guest actress in a comedy Emmy award in 2006 for the part.
Her last nomination for television work was in 2011 for her role as Maw Maw in sitcom “Raising Hope.”
Her accolades were not exclusive to her work in television. Leachman won an Academy Award in 1971 for her dramatic role in “The Last Picture Show.” She was also memorable as Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks’ 1974 classic “Young Frankenstein,” and in her roles in 1977’s “High Anxiety” and 1981’s “History of the World: Part I.”
Off screen, Leachman’s fireball personality was as well known as her on-screen work. On social media, she was remembered fondly by both fellow actors and former coworkers.
“Such sad news — Cloris was insanely talented. She could make you laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. Always such a pleasure to have on set,” Brooks wrote on Twitter. “Every time I hear a horse whinny I will forever think of Cloris’ unforgettable Frau Blücher. She is irreplaceable, and will be greatly missed.”
“So sad over the loss of the brilliant Cloris Leachman,” actor Bob Saget wrote. “Beyond being an Academy award winner, her hilarious role in ‘Young Frankenstein,’and being ‘Phyllis,’ I had the pleasure of being roasted by her on television. My deepest sympathies to her loved ones.”
Leachman is survived by her children and her grandchildren, according to the statement from her representatives. A lifelong vegetarian and animal rights advocate, Leachman’s family asked that those wishing to make donations in her name make them to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or Last Chance for Animals.