The oldest of three sisters, Leachman was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa. When Leachman was just 8 years old, she made her acting debut in a play for young audiences at Drake University.
She enrolled in the Actors Studio at the age of 19, where she studied acting with Elia Kazan with Marlon Brando and Julie Harris. Broadway and television followed.
She appeared in popular TV shows like Malcolm in the Middle and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, and The Twilight Zone were among earlier acting credits.
At the age of 82, she also participated in Dancing With The Stars. Leachman received 22 Emmy nominations, winning eight of them. It’s understandable why she was honored by the Television Academy!
Leachman’s career as a movie actor was equally successful. She acted in movies including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and earned an Oscar for her performance in The Last Picture Show as best supporting actress.
She played a variety of funny roles in Mel Brooks films like Young Frankenstein and High Society. Leachman stated, ‘I’ve lived my life; I haven’t trotted alongside it,’ in her autobiography, ‘Cloris. Wherever I have seen doors of opportunity, I have opened them.
I’ve encountered discoveries, dreams, setbacks, and even death. I wear the deep satisfaction of knowing I never caved to traditions I didn’t believe in and the fears of not having followed rules established by others.