Reprinted from The New York Times by Robert Berkvist on January 27, 2021.
Cloris Leachman, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a neglected housewife in the stark drama The Last Picture Show but who was probably best known for getting laughs, notably in three Mel Brooks movies and on television comedies like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Malcolm in the Middle, died on Wednesday at her home in Encinitas, Calif. She was 94.
The death was confirmed by her son Morgan Englund, who did not give a cause.
Leachman entered the spotlight as a Miss America contestant in 1946 and was still in the public eye more than 74 years later, portraying offbeat grandmothers on television and film and competing with celebrities less than half her age on Dancing With the Stars. In between, she won admiring reviews for her stage, film and television work, as well as Emmy Awards for performances in both dramas and comedies. …