Leachman played the nosy neighbor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and won an Academy Award for her role in “The Last Picture Show.”
Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman, one of the most decorated actors in television history, best known for playing nosy neighbor Phyllis on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Wednesday. She was 94.
She died of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, spokesperson Monique Moss confirmed.
Leachman won eight Emmy Awards in her storied television career, tied with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most individual acting awards in Emmys history. Leachman’s Facebook cover shot depicts her sitting on a couch, surrounded by golden pals.
Leachman, who was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2011, won the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series in 1974 and 1975 for her work as Moore’s snobbish neighbor, Phyllis Lindstrom.
The show and the character were so popular that Leachman was spun off into her own show, “Phyllis.”
She won the 1973 Emmy for best leading actress in the TV movie “A Brand New Life,” playing a first-time mother in middle age — a daring act in the era. Leachman was 46 when the “ABC Movie of the Week” aired Feb. 20, 1973.
Other Emmy wins included awards in 1975 for best supporting actress in a variety or musical for her work in “Cher,” in 1984 for best variety performance in the “Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration” and in 1988 for best actress in a guest role for “Promised Land.”
Younger TV fans probably know Leachman best for “Malcolm in the Middle” as Malcolm’s hilariously scheming grandmother. She was also a contestant on the 2008-09 season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; at the time, she was the oldest competitor in the show’s history, at age 82.
The “Malcolm” gigs earned her Emmy Awards in 2002 and 2006 for best guest actress in a comedy.
Leachman insisted that she went into every awards night assuming she wasn’t going home with a statue.
“I never had a speech because I never thought I was going to win,” Leachman told the TV academy in a 2015 interview.
“But if you are good at what you do — and I always intend to be good at what I do — then the acclaim is just the follow-through. But it is a wonderful feeling,” she said.