Cloris Leachman, the actress and comedian whose pop-culture presence was ubiquitous in the latter half of the 20th century, has died at the age of 94. TMZ reports that Leachman died of natural causes on Tuesday at her home in California. “She had the best life beginning to end that you could wish for someone,” her son told TMZ. “She left everyone with a lot of love.” Leachman got her big break as the adoptive mother in the 1950s Lassie television series, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that she was propelled to her legendary sitcom status: As the delightfully egotistical and sharp landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she proved to be so popular with viewers that she was given her very own spinoff, Phyllis. Leachman won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a depressed housewife in 1971’s The Last Picture Show, and gained comedic acclaim by appearing as Frau Blücher in 1974’s Young Frankenstein. With her television work, Leachman has the distinction of being one of the two most-awarded performers (tied with Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in Emmy history, with eight wins out of 22 nominations. She worked in the industry up until her death, most recently as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, supporting roles in Raising Hope and Malcolm in the Middle, and a cameo in The Office.
Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage