If Cloris Leachman is half as candid on stage as she was during a recent phone interview from her home in Brentwood, Calif., she will entrance her Dorothy Menker Theater audience later this month.
A multiple Emmy-winning and Academy Award-winning superstar, the indomitable Leachman kicks off the Moraine Valley Fine and Performing Arts Center 2011-2012 arts and entertainment season on Sept. 24 with Cloris: A One-Woman Show. It focuses on her inside recollections of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-offs, including her own Phyllis and her Mel Brooks film comedies, Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety.
“Mel Brooks recently told me ‘blucher’ (she was Frau Blucher in 1974’s Young Frankenstein) means glue in Yiddish,” Leachman said.
Although she didn’t allude to it, every time her name was spoken in the film, phantom horses neighed loudly.
“We had a marvelous time (on that set). It wasn’t work, and Gene (Wilder) couldn't stop laughing.
“All the lab stuff we used was from the original Frankenstein movie,” she added. “That movie just never gets old.”
And neither does Leachman, apparently. She makes no attempt to hide her age—85—or that she’s been married to the same man, George Englund, a director, actor and producer since around 1948 (she’s not quite sure).
Leachman, who currently stars in the Fox sitcom Raising Hope, created a stir with her stint on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in 2008—as much for her colorful language as for her dance moves.
Off stage, Leachman is vocal in her endorsement of many causes, including animal rights. She recently filmed a spot demonizing the treatment of circus elephants.
No surprise, she also prides herself on her longtime vegetarian lifestyle.
“I have personally been a vegetarian for 50 years—since I was 35,” she said. “In fact, I eat better than anyone in the world.”
Her vegetarian cookbook-in-the-works could be released next year.
No doubt Leachman will shine on stage as she recalls her more than 60 years of performing. The screen and stage legend also has a special treat planned for the audience when the show draws to a close.
And, no, Patch will not reveal the surprise.