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Cloris: My Autobiography Hardcover – March 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation; 1 edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758229631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758229632
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Leachman has won an Oscar (The Last Picture Show) and nine Emmy Awards, placed third in the Miss America Pageant, and raised five children. Despite years as Phyllis on TV's
The Mary Tyler Moore Show and memorable roles in films, she's probably now best known for her comedic turn on Dancing with the Stars, in her eighties, no less. The
devil-may-care, unpredictable persona she exhibited there seems to embody the real Leachman. She shares her career and marriage highs and lows (her ex-husband is coauthor and
the love of her life, though they are not together) and dishes on actors and lovers (e.g., Brando, Gene Hackman, Bobby Darin) in an entertaining though distracted way.
She studied at the Actors Studio but came up with her own philosophy, "Acting is make-believe... Have fun" and "Don't be afraid you're going to make a fool of yourself."
She lives what she preaches. Recommended for all public libraries and acting collections. ----Rosellen Brewer - Library Journal

Acclaimed actress Leachman reflects on a distinguished career and unconventional life..Equally adept at drama and comedy, Leachman has been a fixture in the pop-culture
firmament for five decades, winning nine Emmy Awards (a record for an actor) and an Oscar for her downbeat performance in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show. Her memoir
takes a frank stroll down a particularly verdant memory lane, recounting her life and times in no particular chronological or thematic order, veering into endless
digressions and asides. The result is charming and frequently engrossing. Assisted by co-author and husband Englund (The Way It's Never Been Done Before: My Friendship with
Marlon Brando (2004), Leachman discusses many topics in salty, don't-give-a-damn language. Even when discussing the addiction and death of her son Bryan, she is grimly
sardonic about her own "drug": "it's got higher lethality than all of his combined. Your drug is hope, and you won't, you can't, you don't know how to give it up."
Leachman remembers Robert F. Kennedy as "cold" and laments the Kennedy brothers' shabby treatment of Marilyn Monroe. Her memories of Marlon Brando include dismay at
his selfishness and chaotic family life as well as admiration for his humor and talent. She provides a fascinating look at the Actors Studio in its heyday, startling
revelations about romantic trysts (Bobby Darin! Gene Hackman!), an honest depiction of her marriage (temporarily broken up at one point by Joan Collins), an account
of a terrifying early-stage experience with an imperious Katharine Hepburn and a bracing description of her tenure on Dancing with the Stars, which she joined as an
octogenarian. Self-characterized asmouthy and irreverent, Leachman delights with her candor in a host of delicious anecdotes. Her MTM co-star Ed Asner might not agree,
however; her account of a sexual wager between them, its outcome and his subsequent reaction, is priceless and embarrassing..Funny, gimlet-eyed and unpretentious someone
get this woman a talk show..Agent: Mitchell Walters/Curtis Brown. ----Kirkus Reviews

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Customer Reviews

The book jumps all over and her stories are a bit repetitive.
E. Albertson
This book is sooo Cloris, it's funny, touching and very positive; this is not a woman to feel sorry for herself.
Shannon Deason
Like all of us Cloris has had her share of ups and downs in her life.
Terrance Richard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When I was a little boy, I used to watch the Mary Tyler Moore Show because Mary looked like my Mom and my mother was a female professional, at a time when that was hardly common, that is where I got my first taste of the iconic Cloris Leachman as the hilarious narcassist Phyliss, I have loved her ever since. This book is sooo Cloris, it's funny, touching and very positive; this is not a woman to feel sorry for herself. Ms. Leachman has done so much, but most remember her for her turns in Mel Brooks films, but I think the quenticential Cloris Leachman performance, one for which she was awarded an Academy Award, was not one of comedy, but of heartbreak, she was riviting as the older conquest of a much younger man, in The Last Picture Show, her performance was raw and powerful, and the character couldnt have been more different than the vapid nacassist Phyliss. Recently, I watch her on dancing with the stars, and though nobody would accuse Ms. Leachman as being Ginger Roger's in her prime, she was hilarious none the less, who doesnt love Cloris, I mean, right? In this book, she does not shy away from personal, albeit funny, stories, like the one about she and Ed Adsner, frankly, I think i could picture Lou and Sue Anne, before I could Lou and Phyliss, but it does make for a very funny story. If you have any interest in Ms. Leachman in the least then I cant imagine you not enjoying this funny, sometimes touching, biography of a show business legend.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Walter G. Fitzsimons on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This long time hollywood icon and survivor lays out all manner of personal information, from back when to her on tv recently. All the stars of legend are shown as just folks, and the lessons of life layed out without pretense. Witty, entertaining, open and honest, the book has a charm about it that matches the author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Albanese VINE VOICE on April 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In CLORIS, Ms. Leachman recounts her long and varied career as an entertainer, parent, wife and health food advocate.

With a grin and a snappy way of phrasing things, Cloris Leachman and her son, George Englund, have put together a scrap book of the woman's life. Bits and pieces float about so it is not unusual to find her talking about Marlon Brando and Mable Albertson on the same page. That is both a boon and a drawback.

CLORIS is an interesting read. How could it not be when you are talking about an actress whose career spans nearly 50 years and includes everything from being a runner-up in a Miss America pagent to winning an Oscar and let's not forget her all time high of portraying Phyllis on the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show. Whether she is talking about Bagdonovich or Mel Brooks, she has something to say and you find yourself reading it carefully. However, much like in Tallulah Bankhead's autobiography published in the early fifties, Cloris Leachman does not follow any logical time pattern or stick to a clearly defined pattern when telling her stories. Instead, she drops her pearls in a random, almost helter-skelter way so that you have no idea where the next paragraph will lead you. Interesting? A bit but just when the story sounds like it will be getting juicy, Ms. Leachman branches off into another direction. A bit of structure would have made this an almost excellent read.

One note of interest and something that Cloris Leachman should be proud of is the way she casually deals with the affair that her husband had with Joan Collins. While Ms. Collins' has made the affair nothing less than a three act play in her own novel (Past Imperfect), Cloris Leachman wisely chooses to mention it and give it scant attention. She deserves applause for both talking about it and not making it a major selling point.

In all, CLORIS is one heck of a book that will leave you a bit dizzy but sated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Cloris Leachman has always been one of my favorite actresses. Here, for the first time, Cloris has written her life story filled with humor, wit, and honesty that the reader can see from the very first paragraph. She wrote "Cloris" with her former husband and father of her five children, George Englund.

In these pages Cloris discusses her early life with a desire to be an actress. She was soon entering beauty pagents, which led to acting auditions, that brought her to roles on early TV shows like "Lassie" and a memorable performance playing Billy Mumy's mother in "The Twilight Zone". After appearing in several Hollywood films Cloris garnered, perhaps, the greatest role of her career playing Phyllis Lindstom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970 garnering her with a Best Actress Emmy win. It was while doing the "Moore" show that Cloris was cast in "The Last Picture Show" where she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (it was, and still is, very rare for TV performers to have concurrent success on the big-screen).

Like all of us Cloris has had her share of ups and downs in her life. She discusses the failure of her TV sitcom "Phyllis" that was a spin-off of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", her discovering that her husband, George Englund, was having a torrid affair with Joan Collins, the future Alexis in TV's "Dynasty", and the loss of her son to cocaine.

A better-than-average biogaphy, I enjoyed "Cloris" immensely: I know you will too.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Cloris Leachman had always been from the `Mary Tyler Moore" show or "Young Frankenstein" or "High Anxiety". I never knew much about this patron of the arts until I read this autobiography. It is delightful. I walked into Cloris Leachman's house and we just started to chat. That is the atmosphere you experience when reading her autobiography. It is linear in style, but she manages to inflect an interesting back-story here and there, making the read all that more interesting. It is literally a walk through time in this woman's life where she reveals unbelievably funny, bizarre and sad situations she had dealt with. This stands out as more personal than most autobiographies from celebrities and no doubt, she was assuredly helped by her partner George Englund.

She begins with (of course) her childhood and how much her mother encouraged to do what she wanted in piano or acting. All of this in a household where the father was less than available. I was surprised to know that in Des Moine, Iowa, she saw a play starring Katherine Hepburn and was so struck with the theater, she immersed herself into it, eventually later landing a part on a Broadway stage in New York opposite Katherine Hepburn!

Cloris Leachman is clearly a down to earth and a talented woman who never lost sight of her family or her place in the theatrical world. She's not humble, but simply matter-of-fact. She has no fear of productions on stage and explains several very interesting experience with famous and not famous co-stars that make you laugh or cringe. But she is never judgmental and at first you'll wonder whether she is a workaholic or just loves theater so much, she can't turn anything down.
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