Cloris Leachman

On this date in 1926, actress Cloris Leachman was born in Des Moines, Iowa. After being crowned Miss Chicago in the the 1946 Miss America competition, she won a scholarship to study acting at the Actor's Studio in New York. Some of her earliest films include "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955), "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), and "The Last Picture Show" (1971), for which she won an Academy Award. She played memorable roles on television, such as the mother on "Lassie" from 1957-1958, and Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-1977) and in her own series, "Phyllis" (1975-1977). She made frequent appearances on "The Facts of Life," among other shows. Most recently, she has played one of the main characters in the comedy "Raising Hope," which began airing in 2010. In over 60 years of television, film and theatre work, in roles ranging from comedic to dramatic, Leachman has won eight Emmys, appeared in over 100 TV shows and, in the fall of 2008, participated as the oldest contestant yet, at 82, on "Dancing With the Stars." In an interview with Grandparents magazine, when asked if faith plays a big role in her life, Leachman said, "Not in a God, no. I am an atheist. I'm not even atheist. I don't think any of us has the answer. I'm an agnostic" ("Cloris Leachman Drives Fast, Dances Well, Adores Her Grandkids," March 26, 2009).

“I've been so relieved and so grateful to not have a god to believe in.”

—-Cloris Leachman in an interview by Cal Fussman in Esquire, Jan. 2009, pg. 81

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch

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