Cloris Leachman has been funny for years, 82 years, in fact. Leachman is first remembered for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and has been a part of some of the most loved TV sitcoms in history. She’s won more Emmys than any other female actor in TV, earned an Oscar for her role in The Last Picture Show, and has been a muse of Mel Brooks. She’ll be starring with Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds, coming out in 2009, as well. But what everyone is talking about now is her lasting participation on this season of Dancing With the Stars.
Cloris has been pulling off dance moves no one thought an 82-year old woman would be able to. She’s not the best dancer on the show, but she makes you want to root for her with her younger-than-her-years performances and her hilarious and winning personality. The woman left her internal censor behind long ago and she plays the innocent airhead with the kind of perfection Jessica Simpson could only dream about.
ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” hit its midway point on Monday, and it seems no better time than now to write about it. The star of this year hasn’t been the dancing so much as the comedy provided by 82-year-old Cloris Leachman, who continues to hang on in the ballroom competition. And again on Monday night, Leachman gave the show what was perhaps its most entertaining moment.
When co-host Samantha Harris interviewed Leachman and and partner Corky Ballas backstage after they danced a salsa, she asked Leachman what kind of character she had tried to portray in her routine. Leachman said Ballas wanted her to play “A something ho.” She struggled to remember exactly what Ballas wanted until, finally and proudly, blurting out “A skanky ho.”
There is no “struggling” for lines like that with Leachman. She’s the master of the comic style. And as she’s gotten older she’s embraced the shock value and learned to use it to her advantage every time. If you saw her on Comedy Central’s Roast of Bob Saget, you know exactly what I’m saying. Even on DWTS Cloris has kept the censors on their toes and has been bleeped more than once.
The woman is shameless and beautiful, and coupled with an impressive dancing ability for 82, she reels you right in to rooting for her to take home the glitterball trophy this year. Cloris Leachman isn’t a has-been star that turned to the dancing show to get a little notoriety back. She’s always been the star she’s been since the 60′s, underrated and under the radar, but unforgettable any time you seen her.
Here she is doing the Rumba with Corky Ballas on 9/29/08
Cloris Leachman is shown at the Crystal Lucy Awards on 6/17/08. Credit: BauerGriffinOnline