Cloris Leachman of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ ‘Phyllis’ dies at 94


SANTA MONICA, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Actress Cloris Leachman arrives at the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party at The Bungalow on September 9, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (NEXSTAR) – Actress Cloris Leachman, well known for her roles in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Phyllis” and “Young Frankenstein,” among others, has died at 94.

Leachman died of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, according to her publicist.

“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time,” Leachman’s manager Juliet Green said in a statement. “There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”

“She loved her children and her grandchildren ferociously,” Green added. “A lifelong vegetarian, she was a passionate advocate for animal rights.”

She was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1926. After graduating from Northwestern University she competed in the 1946 Miss America pageant before launching her acting career.

The highlight of that career came in 1971 when Leachman won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in “The Last Picture Show.” Leachman was better known from her decades of work on television. She was nominated for more than 20 Emmys in her lifetime, winning a record eight times (a record since tied by Julia-Louis Dreyfuss).

Leachman, who appeared in three of Mel Brooks’ comic movies, kept acting regularly well into her 90s. She was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” at age 82.

She is survived by three sons and a daughter. She was preceded in death by her son Bryan in 1986.

The family requests that any donations in her name be made to PETA or Last Chance for Animals, Green said.

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