‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ actress Cloris Leachman has died, aged 94

The actress who became a household name in the 1970s as Phyllis Lindstrom died of natural causes

Actress Cloris Leachman, best known for her comedic role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died aged 94.

According to her publicist, Leachman died of natural causes yesterday (January 27) at her Encinitas, California home with her daughter Dinah at her side, the Associated Press reported.

Over the course of her career, Leachman won eight Primetime Emmy Awards and one Daytime Emmy from 22 nominations – tying with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most individual acting awards in Emmys history.

The actress played the self-absorbed, cunning Phyllis Lindstrom for five years on the The Mary Tyler Moore Show, becoming a household name through the programme in the 1970s. Leachman subsequently reprised the role and featured in a spinoff, Phyllis, between 1975 and 1977. She won a Golden Globe award for her portrayal.

Mary Tyler Moore Show actress Cloris Leachman dead at 94 natural causes
Mary Tyler Moore and Cloris Leachman in an October 1971 episode of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’. Credits: Bettmann/Getty Images

In the earlier part of the decade, Leachman won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing small-town housewife Ruth Popper in Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 feature film, The Last Picture Show. She was also known for playing Frau Blücher alongside Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein in 1974.

Between 2001 and 2006, Leachman had a recurring role on the sitcom Malcolm In The Middle. In 2008, Leachman was a contestant on season seven of the US reality competition Dancing With The Stars, making her, then aged 82, the oldest contestant to perform on the long-running series. She was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011.

Leachman is survived by her daughter and sons Adam, George Jr. and Morgan. The family have requested that donations in Leachman’s name be made to PETA, of which she was a spokesperson and long-standing advocate.

Tributes have poured in for Leachman from both collaborators and admirers in the film and television world, including from the likes of Mel Brooks, Adam Sandler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Martin, Wanda Sykes and Jim Gaffigan.

Series that Leachman had appeared in, including The Muppets, The Simpsons and Dancing With The Stars, have also expressed their condolences via their official accounts. See those tributes below.

Cloris Leachman was queen of the Amazons and a queen of industry, breaking barriers and inspiring women in film and TV…

Posted by Lynda Carter on Wednesday, January 27, 2021