Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hi Hi

I just read Cloris Leachman's autobiography, redundantly titled My Autobiography. The first third is generally about her early days, the middle a scattershot approach to her career and friends, the final third about her husband and kids. I enjoyed it, but as it's not written or arranged in a conventional manner, I think it will frustrate a lot of readers.

I mostly wanted to know what she had to say about The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Alas, that section was short, even though her performance as Phyllis Lindstrom is probably what she's best remembered for. But I guess with a six-decade career, you can't expect her to concentrate on a few years of her life.

She's done it all. She was a Miss America contestant and worked with the Actors Studio. She had a major Broadway career, won nine Emmys (a record) and an Oscar. She's done top-notch work in both comedy (such as her stuff for Mel Brooks) and straight drama. And she keeps doing good work. When others have long retired, she won her latest Emmy at the age of 80 for her work on Malcolm In The Middle as Grandma Ida. After that, she appeared on Dancing With The Stars.

But she'll always be Phyllis to me.


Blogger Irene Done said...

LOVE the title to this post.

5:33 AM, December 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She also, at age 82, kicked ass during a Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget.

9:08 AM, December 17, 2009  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Glad you liked it, Irene. Wasn't sure if anyone would catch it.

Leachman made quite an impact as Phyllis. She wasn't even in that many episodes, when it comes down to it, but everyone remembers her.

I should add that the era she was on the MTM show was quite a time for her, since not only did she win some Emmys, it's also when she won her Oscar.

10:53 AM, December 17, 2009  
Blogger Irene Done said...

I not only remember the character of Phyllis from the MTM show, I remember the spin-off. I think Henry Jones played her father.

The funny thing about Leachman's participation on Dancing With The Stars is that it seems to have been a turning point for the show and not in a good way. DWTS had a family quality to it -- even though the female dancers wear next to nothing, even though there's a lot of innuendo. Leachman was sorta crude. She may have shattered any PG-rated illusions and drove viewers away who never came back. I tend to think she did this intentionally, and it was her little joke.

2:11 PM, December 17, 2009  
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