Hollywood pays tribute to Oscar-winning actress Cloris Leachman

Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
·3 min read

Hollywood has paid tribute to the Oscar-winning actress Cloris Leachman following her death at the age of 94.

Leachman was perhaps best known for her comedy work, including TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show and films such as Young Frankenstein.

She won a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of a neglected housewife in 1971 drama The Last Picture Show.

Obit Cloris Leachman
Tributes have been paid to actress Cloris Leachman following her death at the age of 94 (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Leachman died of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, a representative said.

Tributes flooded in from across Hollywood, with director Mel Brooks praising her turn as Frau Blucher in his 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein as “unforgettable”.

He tweeted: “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. Every time I hear a horse whinny I will forever think of Cloris’ unforgettable Frau Blucher. She is irreplaceable, and will be greatly missed.”

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus holds the record with Leachman for the most awarded actor in Emmy history, with eight.

She said: “Cloris Leachman’s perfect performance as Frau Blucher had an enormous impact on my life. She was sublime. ‘He vas my boyfriend!’ RIP.”

Ed Asner, Leachman’s long-time friend and The Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star, shared a touching picture showing him kissing the actress.

“A picture from the last time I saw you,” the 91-year-old said. “Always beautiful. Nothing I could say would top the enormity of my love for you. Until we meet again darling.”

Steve Martin, another of Hollywood’s most acclaimed comic performers, said: “Salute to Cloris Leachman, who brought comedy’s mysteries to the big and small screen.”

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis said she grew up watching Leachman, adding: “Your consistent excellence, ability to morph, and bravery will be sorely missed. RIP Cloris Leachman! Godspeed.”

Reese Witherspoon, another Oscar-winner, said: “Truly original and larger than life in every unique performance . An incredibly talented actress who will be deeply missed. ”

Ellen DeGeneres starred alongside Leachman in sitcom The Ellen Show.

The chat show host said: “Cloris Leachman played my mother on my second sitcom. I always considered myself lucky for having the chance to work with her. She will be missed.”

In its tribute, the Academy, the body which oversees the Oscars, described Leachman as a “comedy legend”.

It said: “From a groundbreaking role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show to the films of Mel Brooks and her Oscar-winning turn in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, she never lost her ability to shock, delight and surprise us. She will be missed.”

Over her career Leachman, who was once a beauty queen, starred in films Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and Crazy Mama as well as TV comedy Malcolm In The Middle.