94-Year-Old Cloris Leachman Talks About Her Favorite Acting Roles

In The Hollywood Reporter's Creative Until You Die, Cloris Leachman, 94, reveals some of her favorite movie roles. The program features Cloris and nine other Hollywood legends 90-years-old and older who refuse to quit showbiz.

Audiences love 94-year-old Cloris Leachman. She's been Hollywood's go-to wacky grandma for over 20 years now. What many people realize is that Leachman had several big, award-winning careers before then. Leachman started off as a beauty queen. She was a contestant for Miss America in her youth, during the 1940s. Later, she began her highly successful acting career. Early on, she appeared on the popular TV show Lassie. But that didn't last long. It wasn't a very challenging part for an actress of her caliber. She was just getting warmed up.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1969, Cloris Leachman appeared in the classic Paul Newman film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. She played a supporting role, Agnes, but her character made a very big impression.

Leachman often excelled in these supporting roles. In fact, two short years later, she followed it up with an Oscar-winning performance in The Last Picture Show. Again, she wasn't the main character but she really resonated with the audience.


Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Imags

However, Leachman was never one to be limited to strictly dramatic roles. She has comic timing that's just too good to waste. During the 1960s and 1970s, she also appeared as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as a bossy and fashionable apartment manager.

Later, she even got her own spin-off, Phyllis. In fact, Leachman has racked up six Emmys for her work on TV over the years. Though she still makes films, TV has always really been her home. In recent years, she's played grandmas on Malcolm in the Middle and Raising Hope.

In terms of film, Cloris Leachman has worked with famed comedy director Mel Brooks several times. In Young Frankenstein, she and Gene Wilder made an incredible comic team. In fact, they kept cracking each other during filming. Their scenes were so funny that it actually became difficult to get them done properly.

In 2015, she appeared in This Is Happening. This film once again features Leachman as a grandmother, this time taking part in a scheme involving pot. She has said that it was a role that reinforced her passion for acting and being creative throughout her life.

What is your favorite Cloris Leachman movie or TV show? Let us know in the comments and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones.