Thursday, May 15, 2008

Timeless Thursday: Cloris Leachman

I remember like it was yesterday the first time I encountered Cloris Leachman on screen. It was in the movie Scavenger Hunt. I swear that that movie made a life-long impression on me. It's the funniest movie I'd ever seen and after so many years (and not being able to remember the movie from beginning to end) that it remains the funniest movie I've ever seen. Hey, to each his own. If ever there was a classic comedy, believe me, that movie is/was it.

Cloris's character (Mildred Cruthers) and that of Scatman Crothers (Sam) are most vivid in my memory. After an old millionaire Mr. Parker (who is a die-hard game inventor and player - played by the late Vincent Price) dies, his will stipulates in order for any of his relatives to inherit his millions he/she would have to win a game of Scavenger Hunt. The relatives split up into 5 teams and it's pretty much belly-busting laughter after that with the capers they go through all the while trying to throw obtacles in each others paths. Believe me, I'm laughing and shaking my head as I recall the movie while typing this. It was like Robin Hood: Men In Tights meets History of the World Part 1 meets Rat Race but even better.

I have tried tirelessly over the years to get a copy of this movie but it was never put on DVD and the VHS copy was discontinued some time ago. I would pay good money for a copy believe me; and it would be money well spent.

When she appeared in Spanglish (2004) alongside Téa Leoni (one of my many loves), Pas Vega (one of the hottest women on earth) and Adam Sandler (I like his movies - so sue me - not), I was utterly delighted. James L. Brooks deserves some kind of award or treat or something for bring those four together.

I adore Cloris, I can't begin to communicate the extent to which I do. If I were an actor, it would be the ultimate for me to be in a (or any) movie alongside her. She's got excellent comedic timing, her facial expressions most times are just absolutely priceless. At age 82, this woman is still making movies and can still bring it like no other.

She was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa. She's the mother of five, all of who are actors - Adam Englund, Bryan Englund (deceased), George Englund Jr., Morgan Englund and actress Dinah Englund.

Her lengthy career (over 6 decades - began her career in 1947 at Carnegie Hall) has yielded numorous accolades and awards including a record-setting eight primetime and one daytime Emmy Awards. Five of these Emmys were won in 5 different categories (a record that still stands). Other awards include 1 Oscar (1972), 1 BAFTA (1973), California Independent Film Festival (2003), 1 Golden Globes (1976) just to name a few. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Drake University on May 14, 2006.

She is currently working on a one-woman show about her life and career. You can also look out for her in The Women (Sep 18, 2008), American Cowslip (post production) and New York, I Love You (filming).