Cloris Leachman was born in Des Moines, Iowa April 30, 1926. At 15, she was spotted in a production of "Cradle Song" and offered a scholarship to study theater at Northwestern University. The following year, she won the title of Miss Chicago and was runner-up in the 1946 Miss America Pageant. Cloris used her $1,000 winnings to move to New York, where she was chosen by Elia Kazan to become member of the original Actors Studio. The exposure brought her more stage work and opened the door to television. In 1953, she married fellow actor George Englund and moved to Hollywood, where her career flourished. Over the next two decades, Cloris had starring and guest starring roles in just about every TV comedy and drama of the era, including Lassie, Gunsmoke , The Twilight Zone, Route 66, 77 Sunset Strip, Dr. Kildare, Adam-12 and Mannix.
After a memorable big-screen turn in 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cloris was cast in the landmark sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She starred opposite Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, Valerie Harper, and Georgia Engel. Cloris played Mary's busybody neighbor Phyllis Lindstrom, earning multiple Emmys and her own spinoff, Phyllis. During that same time, she won an Oscar for her performance in Peter Bogdonavich's The Last Picture Show, and had roles in several Mel Brooks films, including High Anxiety.
During the '80s and '90s, Cloris continued to work steadily in TV and film. After a stint on The Facts of Life, she starred in a multitude of made-for-TV movies and made frequent guest appearances on several hit shows. Her big screen credits included Prancer, Texasville and as Granny in 1993's The Beverly Hillbillies. She also lent her voice to numerous animated projects. Cloris continues to work harder than ever. She appeared in the films The Longest Yard, Sky High and Spanglish, the latter earning her a Screen Actors Guild nomination. On TV, she had recurring roles on Ellen, Touched by an Angel and Malcolm in the Middle. At age 82, Cloris became the oldest contestant to ever appear on Dancing with the Stars, proving she's nowhere near slowing down.
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