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Cloris Leachman’s cause of death revealed as stroke, COVID-19 also a contributing factor

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Cloris Leachman, Oscar and Emmy-winning actress and comedian, dies

Cloris Leachman, best known for her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on the 1970s sitcoms “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” has died.


Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Cloris Leachman’s cause of death has been revealed as a stroke, the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed.

The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” star died at 94 of natural causes at her home in Encinitas, California, on Jan. 27.

Donnie Ryan of the medical examiner’s office in San Diego confirmed Leachman’s cause of death was a stroke with COVID-19 listed as another significant condition.

Because Leachman’s death did not meet the criteria for an investigation, Ryan noted that the medical examiner’s office reviewed the death certificate but did not investigate the actress’s death

Leachman’s manager, Juliet Green, confirmed Leachman’s death at the time and remembered her as “one of the most fearless actresses of our time… With a single look she had the ability to break your heart or make you laugh till the tears ran down your face. You never knew what Cloris was going to say or do and that unpredictable quality was part of her unparalleled magic.” 

Her television career primarily spanned across many decades as she was cast in shows like “The Ford Theatre Hour” and “Bob and Ray” and “Malcom in the Middle.” Leachman received five Emmy nominations, and won two, for her role as Phyllis Lindstrom, Mary Tyler Moore’s landlady and nosy neighbor on CBS’ “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”  and the spin-off series “Phyllis.” She won a Golden Globe for her work on “Phyllis.” In all, she won eight primetime Emmys.

More: Remembering Valerie Harper, the best best friend TV has ever seen

Leachman won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in 1971’s “The Last Picture Show.” She won her first Emmy, in 1973, for her leading-role performance in the TV movie “A Brand New Life.” She won two more awards for her supporting role as Grandma Ida on “Malcolm in the Middle” in 2002 and 2006. 

In 2011 Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. 

The coronavirus pandemic has taken and changed many lives since its March onset in the U.S. There are more than 27.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 494,000 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

Among those deaths include celebrities and entertainers Dawn Wells, Charley Pride,Oscar Chávez and more.

More: Passages 2020: Alex Trebek, Little Richard, Naya Rivera and more stars we lost this year 

Contributing: Gary Levin, Patrick Ryan, Cydney Henderson 

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