Actress Cloris Leachman dead at 94

Leachman's career spanned more than seven decades, from the big screen, the stage and television
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Image: Earl Gibson III/WireImage/Getty Images, FILE

Image: Earl Gibson III/WireImage/Getty Images, FILE

(ABC News) —Cloris Leachman, the versatile Oscar-winning actress whose career on stage, television and film spanned more than seven decades, has died at age 94.

“It’s been my privilege to work with Cloris Leachman, one of the most fearless actresses of our time,” her longtime manager, Juliet Green, said in a statement. “There was no one like Cloris. With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh ’till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.”

“She loved her children and her grandchildren ferociously. A lifelong vegetarian, she was a passionate advocate for animal rights,” Green added. “The family requests that any donations in her name be made to PETA or Last Chance for Animals.”

Green said Leachman died of natural causes in Encinitas, California.

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Image:NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, FILE

Image: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, FILE

Leachman was born April 30, 1926, the oldest of three sisters, in Des Moines, Iowa. She began acting as a child and later studied drama at Northwestern University in Illinois, alongside friends Charlotte Rae and Paul Lynde.

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Image: CBS via Getty Images, FILE

Image: CBS via Getty Images, FILE

Starting in the 1950s, she appeared in many TV programs, including a brief stint as Timmy’s mother in the original “Lassie.” Her role as Mary Tyler Moore’s nosy and manipulative landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom, made her a star.

In addition to her busy acting career, Leachman raised five children — four sons and a daughter — with film director George Englund. Leachman and Englund were married for 26 years, before divorcing in 1979. Leachman never remarried and is survived by four of her children as well as several grandchildren.

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