Leachman’s chameleon-like dramatic range has won legions of fans and garnered her a record eight Emmy Awards®, Golden Globe Award®, National Board of Review Award and British Academy Award. She earned an Oscar® for her riveting portrayal of lonely Texas housewife “Ruth Popper” in the landmark film “The Last Picture Show.”
Arguably one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood, Leachman was seen in several big screen releases including: “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock for Paramount Pictures and “Sky High” with Kurt for Disney. Leachman was nominated for a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor Female, Motion Picture for her portrayal of the wine-soaked jazz singing “Evelyn” in the Sony/Columbia feature “Spanglish” with Sandler and Tea. On the small screen in 2005, along with her recurring role as “Grandma Ida” on Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” Leachman co-starred in the Lifetime mini-series “Beach Girls” with Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond as well as guest-starred on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” The actress was honored with two primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2005 for her work on “Malcolm in the Middle” and CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia.” These were her 19th and 20th Emmy nominations respectively. Currently, Leachman stars with Sir Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening in HBO’s “Mrs Harris.”
Leachman has delighted television viewers for generations. In the 1970s, millions tuned in to watch Leachman’s self-absorbed yet endearing “Phyllis Lindstrom” on the legendary “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and popular spin-off series “Phyllis.” Leachman would receive four Emmy® nominations and two Emmy Awards® for her work on “Mary Tyler Moore” and an Emmy® nomination and Golden Globe Award® for “Phyllis.” These added to her collection of Emmy Awards® for “A Brand New Life” and CBS’ “Cher Special.”
The 1980s brought more unforgettable television roles and further acclaim. Most notably, viewers found comfort in the sage advice dispensed by “Beverly Ann,” Leachman’s character on the popular NBC series “The Facts of Life.” Leachman also added Emmy® number five for ABC’s “The Woman Who Willed a Miracle” and a sixth Emmy Award® for her brilliant eight-minute soliloquy for the “Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration.”
Leachman’s more than 35 films for television include “In Broad Daylight,” “ Honor Bright,” “Fine Things,” “Love is Never Silent,” “The Demon Murder Case,” “Dixi Changing Habits,” “A Girl Named Sooner,” “Backstairs at the White House,” and Emmy® nominated performances in “The Migrants,” “It Happened One Christmas,” and “Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter.”
The 1990s and 2000s have been especially busy for Leachman. 1998, the actress won a seventh Emmy® for her work as “Aunt Mooster” on the CBS series “Promised Land.” In 2001, Leachman was handpicked by Ellen Degeners to star as her mother in the CBS primetime series “The Ellen Show.” In 2005, Leachman received her fifth Emmy® nomination for the FOX series “Malcolm in the Middle.” In 2002, she won a record-breaking eighth Emmy Award® for her recurring role as Jane Kaczmarek’s mother “Grandma Ida” on the series.
On the big screen, Leachman’s richly woven characters have secured her place in film history and a survey of her more than 40 feature films demonstrates her breathtaking acting range.
Along with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar®, Leachman won a National Board of Review Award and a British Film Academy Award for her unforgettable “Ruth Popper” in the critically hailed film “The Last Picture Show.”
Leachman’s dramatic skill is matched only by her ability to make us laugh. Her calculating “Frau Blucher” in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and twisted “Nurse Diesel” in “High Anxiety” are comedy classics. Younger audiences know her as the spry “Granny” in the popular feature film “The Beverly Hill Billies” and “Martha” in the animated MTV feature “Beavis and Butthead do America.” Other big screen credits include “The Animal” (opposite Rob Schneider), “The Amati Girls,” “Hanging Up” (Opposite Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow), “Music of the Heart” (opposite Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett, Aidan Quinn and Gloria Estefan) and “Iron Giant.”
Leachman’s formidable stage work includes over two-dozen productions. Most notably, she starred in “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive” (national tour), which left critics spellbound. She also starred in the national tour of “Showboat,” “The Oldest Living Graduate,” “Butterflies are Free,” “Same Time Next Year,” “Twigs” and “The Housekeeper.” Broadway roles include those in “As You Like It,” “South Pacific,” “Lo and Behold,” “John Loves Mary,” “Sundown Beach,” “Sunday Breakfast,” “Dear Barbarians,” “King of Hearts,” “Touch of the Poet” and “Masquerade.”
The actress grew up outside Des Moines, Iowa. After attending Northwestern University, Leachman was named “Miss Chicago” and subsequently became a runner-up in the Miss America pageant. After early success on the New York stage, Leachman ventured to Hollywood and made her screen debut in the Mickey Spillane shocker, “Kiss Me Deadly.”