Cloris Leachman Makes Her Boca Raton Debut at Lynn University
By Skip Sheffield
Cloris Leachman has been here, there, and everywhere and she’s done it all. Now she will share her experiences in her funny, joyful and sometimes touching one-woman show as part of Libby Dodson’s Live at Lynn Theatre series at Lynn University. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 3.
Cloris is currently enjoying a new round of acclaim for her supporting role as Martha Plimpton’s mother in the dark Fox-TV situation comedy “Raising Hope,” which debuted last fall and has been renewed for next season. It’s just the latest in a career that stretches back to the dawn of television and has earned her an unprecedented nine prime-time Emmy Awards- more than any other performer in history- and one daytime Emmy. Cloris Leachman won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress in “The Last Picture Show” (1971) and at age 82 she was the oldest contestant on ‘Dancing With the Stars” in its seventh season.
“I think they could have rated me at better than 4 or 5,” she said on a tour stop in Virginia. “But it was fun, and that’s what important.”
The first thing one notices about Cloris Leachman is her laugh, which she does often and heartily.
“I just love being on the set of “Raising Hope,” she says. “It’s hysterical. I start laughing the minute I open my mouth.”
Cloris launched her career as a beauty queen, competing as Miss Chicago in the Miss America competition of 1946. After winning a scholarship, Cloris studied acting at the famed Actors Studio with Elia Kazan in New York City. She broke into Broadway when she took over the role of Nellie Forbush in the original run of Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s “South Pacific. She co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,’ and had her first film starring role in “Kiss Me Deadly” in 1955.
Cloris has been in three of Mel Brooks’ beloved comedies: “Young Frankenstein” (the fearsome Frau Blucher); “High Anxiety” (the demented Nurse Diesel) and “History of the World: Part 1.”
It would take an all-day Cloris Leachman Festival to cover the performer’s many roles and achievements, but she just touches on the best for her road show, which is managed by her third son, George Englund.
“I really looking forward to coming to Florida,” she says. “We were just in Omaha and it was terrible. It’s still cold in Virginia too. I think I’ll bring my bathing suit, but it will be one of those kinds with the long legs.”
Tickets are $45 mezzanine, $50 orchestra and $65 box. Call 561-237-9000 or visit www.lynn.edu/tickets.