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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dancing With Cloris Leachman

Yesterday I read that someone named Kim Kardashian didn't know who Cloris Leachman was when they recently met for the first time.

I don't know who the hell Kim Kardashian is, but I do know who Ms. Leachman is.

The actress won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1971 film, The Last Picture Show.

She's won nine Emmy Awards--more than any other female performer. Two of these Emmys were for her fabulous performance as Phyllis Lindstrom, Mary's landlady on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, on which she appeared in 34 episodes from 1970 to 1977. Ms. Leachman also had her own spin-off series, Phyllis, from 1975 to 1977. It had a catchy, fun theme song that sounded like a Jerry Herman Broadway musical number:
Who makes the fog surrounding the Golden Gate simply disappear?
Phyllis, Phyllis
Who makes the warning bells on the cable cars play "The Gang's All Here"?
Phyllis, Phyllis
Who charms the crabs at Fisherman's Wharf right out of their shells?
Who lights the lamps of Chinatown just by walking in view? Who?
Phyllis! Phyllis! Phyllis! It sure isn't you!

Ms. Leachman guest starred on The Muppet Show in 1977. She also starred in many films that I've enjoyed over the years: Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), Young Frankenstein (1974) as Frau Blucher, High Anxiety (1977) as Nurse Diesel, The North Avenue Irregulars (1979), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Bad Santa (2003), and the upcoming remake of The Women.

She was once the mother-in-law of actress Sharon Stone (who married one of her sons), and her own mother-in-law was character actress Mabel Albertson, who played Darrin's mother on TV's Bewitched, Donald's mother on TV's That Girl and Mrs. Van Hoskins in the film, What's Up, Doc?

And now Ms. Leachman, whose memoir will be published next spring, will be on ABC's Dancing With the Stars this fall at age 82. I knew the talented lady could act and even sing (in one of my favorite Mary scenes, Phyllis sings "Ten Cents a Dance" while Mary and Rhoda look through Rhoda's wardrobe), so I might have to tune in to watch her dance (I'm not a Dancing fan, but for Cloris, I'd watch almost anything). But she's got some stiff competition--Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) and actor Ted McGinley, whom I've always found kind of cute.

Oh, I almost forgot--Ms. Leachman is also competing against 27-year-old Kim Kardashian, whom I just now looked up on Wikipedia. She's a Paris Hilton Wannabe (which I find quite frightening) best known for her social life, stolen sex tape, and appearing on a reality show with her stepfather, former Olympian and Can't Stop the Music actor Bruce Jenner.

You know, I bet Cloris didn't know who the hell Ms. Kardashian was either.


Wayne said...

Gotta love Ms. Leachman. I remember her from MTM and I watched every episode of her "Phyllis" TV show. But I loved her best in "Last Picture Show"--her performance was short but heartbreaking. She was also great in "Young Frankenstein" probably her best comedic performance. I do have a soft spot her in "High Anxiety" too. It wasn't that good of a movie but whenever I think of her I start giggling:)

radie said...

I saw here on Oprah's MTM reunion, Leachman stole the show. She is a true talent!

Yekim AV said...

Love Cloris Leachman. Younger people have been introduced to her most recently through her appearance at the roast of former family-funny-man Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) on Comedy Central.

She's still go it. Watch here.

MargOH! Channing said...

hey Deep,

Oh Cloris is a bad ass. That gal can drink me under the table. I used to play poker with her, nancy Walker and Polly Holiday...what a great bunch of gals...I hope Cloris kicks ass..

Kisses, MargOH!

PS- I saw Polly Holiday yesterday at Duane Reade and she's doing well, I snapped a pic of her, I'll post it on my sit

Deep Dish said...

Oh, MargOH, what I would give to see you, Cloris, Polly and Nancy playing poker together. Sorry to hear about Polly.