Yesterday, it was announced that the actress Cloris Leachman had passed away at the age of 94.
Leachman had a long career. I know that most people know her from her comedic work. Indeed, when it was announced that she had passed, Twitter was full of people posting clips from Young Frankenstein, Raising Hope, and a host of other comedies. However, Leachman was also just as a capable as a dramatic actress. She began her career in 1947 and, though she worked regularly (and appeared in the noir classic, Kiss Me Deadly), her career really didn’t pick up until she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1972.
She won that Oscar for playing Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show. Ruth is the lonely wife of a closeted high school coach in a small Texas town. She has an affair with teenager Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms), just for him to abandon her for the beautiful but self-absorbed Jacy Farrow (Cybil Shepherd). At the end of the film, after realizing that Jacy actually has no interest in him, Sonny attempts to return to Ruth. It’s a powerful scene, largely due to Leachman’s performance.
In memory of Cloris Leachman, here’s a scene that I love: