Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
HarryCarter

Cloris Leachman has passed away

Recommended Posts

Another GREAT one has left us.

She was hysterical whatever she was in. I just read not too long ago that she is the most-awarded actress with eight emmy wins and like 22 nominations. Two of the emmys came from her work from the iconic The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She will be missed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though she worked steadily through the years, she was 44 when the general public was aware of her.  She simultaneously got an Oscar for Last Picture Show and joined MTM in 1970.   The rapid rise and fall of "Phyllis" is an interesting historical note.  "Phyllis" rated #6 in its first season, ahead of Rhoda #7 and Mary Tyler Moore trailing at #19.  The next season 76-77 saw a decided shift in viewer preferences (according to Nielsen).   All three MTM shows fell out of the top 30.  Phyllis fell so far it was cancelled.   Scored a marginally acceptable #40.   Rhoda and Phyllis were up against the new and very popular "Little House on Prairie".    Phyllis weathered the loss of Barbara Colby in season 1.  The quick replacement Liz Torres was not the same.   Phyllis's workplace changed in season 2 so Liz was out.  Judith Lowry as Mother Dexter was a great addition.  Unfortunately after filming the wonderful "Gets Married" 2-parter, she died suddenly before it aired.   The always old as such "ageless" Bert Mustin followed soon.   But what a great way to go.   Jane Fonda is now only a year younger than Mother Dexter in season 1!   Ain't that a kick in the pants?!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2021 at 1:59 PM, Neil said:

Though she worked steadily through the years, she was 44 when the general public was aware of her.  She simultaneously got an Oscar for Last Picture Show and joined MTM in 1970.   The rapid rise and fall of "Phyllis" is an interesting historical note.  "Phyllis" rated #6 in its first season, ahead of Rhoda #7 and Mary Tyler Moore trailing at #19.  The next season 76-77 saw a decided shift in viewer preferences (according to Nielsen).   All three MTM shows fell out of the top 30.  Phyllis fell so far it was cancelled.   Scored a marginally acceptable #40.   Rhoda and Phyllis were up against the new and very popular "Little House on Prairie".    Phyllis weathered the loss of Barbara Colby in season 1.  The quick replacement Liz Torres was not the same.   Phyllis's workplace changed in season 2 so Liz was out.  Judith Lowry as Mother Dexter was a great addition.  Unfortunately after filming the wonderful "Gets Married" 2-parter, she died suddenly before it aired.   The always old as such "ageless" Bert Mustin followed soon.   But what a great way to go.   Jane Fonda is now only a year younger than Mother Dexter in season 1!   Ain't that a kick in the pants?!!

It's kind of hard to think that both Rhoda and Phyllis were more popular than their parent show given that the parent show was an already established hit with strong characters. Both Rhoda and Phyllis fell apart at the seams early in their runs with the latter getting cancelled and the former just limping along. Both were extremely hot when they started and then just came crashing down not too long after. Meanwhile The Mary Tyler Moore Show continued to enjoy moderate success despite never being a run away hit to begin with.

Viewer tastes in sitcoms definitely changed in the mid-70s when the family-friendly, slap-stick and farce sitcoms knocked out the topical and more sophisticated sitcoms and took center stage. I guess viewers were less interested in or just plain out tired of Archie debating Mike over the latest issue of the day, or Maude having a screaming match, or Fred Sanford's constant insults and bigotry, or the day-to-day adult living of Mary, Rhoda and Bob Hartley and instead chose to indulge themselves more in the likes of Fonzie jumping over cans with his motorcycle and doing other "cool" stuff, or Richie trying to go all the way with a date and other coming-of-age stories, or Laverne and Shirley getting into one Lucy-eque jam after another, or Mork from the planet Ork reporting to Orson over his latest lesson learned on planet Earth, or the constant misunderstandings and (sexual) innuendos that went on between Jack, Janet and Chrissy. It was a great change after years of total domination of the Norman Lear and MTM production warhorses. And one might say that Garry Marshall, whose writing credits include The Lucy Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Odd Couple, took over the reigns when it came to sitcom domination in the 70s. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Special Guest Star"  Cloris as Phyllis dominated every Mary Tyler Moore scene she was in.  I wonder how much of the Phyllis character resulted from the writers picking up on what Cloris could do.   On paper, Phyllis would seem to be a subordinate character.   She made only 34 MTMs spread out over the first 5 years of the show.   It's hard to imagine anyone else as Phyllis Lindstrom.  There was only one season 73-74 in which Rhoda, Phyllis, Georgette and Sue Ann all appeared.  (I think)

For the record The Mary Tyler Moore Show"''s end of year rankings for the 7 seasons are #22, #10 (tied with Here's Lucy!), #7, #8, #11, #19 and down to #35 for its 7th and final season.  The third of 3 CBS comedies that started at 8:30 with the waning "My Three Sons", then the forgotten "Arnie" before Mary at 9:30.  It was up against the 2nd half-hour of NBC's Saturday movie and "The Most Deadly Game" on ABC.  Of all the Saturday night shows, only Mary and My Three Sons made the top 30.   CBS didn't have much faith in MTM considering the time slot given.  Eventually MTM moved from 9:30 to 9:00.  During its last season, it was moved Saturday at 8:00 and we all know what a jinxed time slot that is for a sitcom. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2021 at 2:09 PM, Neil said:

"Special Guest Star"  Cloris as Phyllis dominated every Mary Tyler Moore scene she was in.  I wonder how much of the Phyllis character resulted from the writers picking up on what Cloris could do.   On paper, Phyllis would seem to be a subordinate character.   She made only 34 MTMs spread out over the first 5 years of the show.   It's hard to imagine anyone else as Phyllis Lindstrom.  There was only one season 73-74 in which Rhoda, Phyllis, Georgette and Sue Ann all appeared.  (I think)

For the record The Mary Tyler Moore Show"''s end of year rankings for the 7 seasons are #22, #10 (tied with Here's Lucy!), #7, #8, #11, #19 and down to #35 for its 7th and final season.  The third of 3 CBS comedies that started at 8:30 with the waning "My Three Sons", then the forgotten "Arnie" before Mary at 9:30.  It was up against the 2nd half-hour of NBC's Saturday movie and "The Most Deadly Game" on ABC.  Of all the Saturday night shows, only Mary and My Three Sons made the top 30.   CBS didn't have much faith in MTM considering the time slot given.  Eventually MTM moved from 9:30 to 9:00.  During its last season, it was moved Saturday at 8:00 and we all know what a jinxed time slot that is for a sitcom. 

Cloris Leachman as her Phyllis character made such an impression that casual viewers of The Mary Tyler Moore Show thought she was there for the entire run. However, as you have stated she appeared in the first five seasons of the program. The first two as a recurring player and then the following three seasons as a special guest star. And finally, she came back for one episode in the show's final season.

Season four of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is the only season where one could see all four supporting female characters: Rhoda, Sue-Ann, Phyllis and Georgette. However, all four did appear the series finale in season seven. Rhoda was most frequently seen in season four, followed by Georgette (with nine appearances), Sue-Ann Nivens (with five appearances), and finally our beloved Phyllis (with three appearances). Unfortunately, there wasn't an episode of season four which all four appeared in.

 

  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...