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Oscar and Emmy-Winning Actress Cloris Leachman Dies at 94

FILE - Cloris Leachman poses with her Emmy award for outstanding single performance by an actress in

FILE – Cloris Leachman poses with her Emmy award for outstanding single performance by an actress in “A Brand New Life” at the Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles, May 21, 1975.

A character actor of extraordinary range, Leachman defied typecasting. In her early television career, she appeared as the mother of Timmy on the “Lassie” series. She played a frontier prostitute in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” a crime spree family member in “Crazy Mama,” and Blücher in Mel Brooks’s “Young Frankenstein,” in which the very mention of her name made horses whinny. 

In 1989, she toured in “Grandma Moses,” a play in which she aged from 45 to 101. For three years in the 1990s, she appeared in major cities as the captain’s wife in the revival of “Show Boat.” In the 1993 movie version of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” she assumed the Irene Ryan role as Granny Clampett. 

She also had an occasional role as Ida on “Malcolm in the Middle,” winning Emmys in 2002 and 2006 for that show. And in 2008, she joined the ranks of contestants in “Dancing with the Stars,” not lasting long in the competition but pleasing the crowds by wearing sparkly dance costumes, sitting in judges’ laps and cussing during the live television broadcast.