Cloris Leachman (April 30, 1926 – January 27, 2021) was an American actress and comedienne whose career spanned more than seven decades. She won many accolades, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 22 nominations, making her the most nominated and, along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, most awarded actress in Emmy history. She won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award.
Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Leachman attended Northwestern University and began appearing in local plays as a teenager. After competing in the 1946 Miss America pageant, she secured a scholarship to study under Elia Kazan at the Actors Studio in New York City, making her professional debut in 1948. In film, she appeared in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971) as the jaded wife of a closeted schoolteacher in the 1950s; she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance, and the film is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. Additionally, she was part of Mel Brooks's ensemble cast, appearing in roles such as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein (1974) and Madame Defarge in History of the World, Part I (1981).
Leachman won additional Emmys for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show; television film A Brand New Life (1973); the variety sketch show Cher (1975); the ABC Afterschool Special production The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983); and the television shows Promised Land (1998) and Malcolm in the Middle (2000–06). Her other notable film and television credits include Gunsmoke (1961), The Twilight Zone (1961; 2003), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), WUSA (1970), Yesterday (1981), the English-language dub of the Studio Ghibli's Castle in the Sky (1998), Spanglish (2004), Mrs. Harris (2005), and Raising Hope (2010–2014). Leachman released her autobiography in 2009, and continued to act in occasional roles.