On Theater: Living legend Cloris Leachman at Playhouse

One of the reasons "The Last Picture Show" is my favorite movie of all time is the performance of the actress who won the Oscar for her performance in it — and who is entertaining audiences at the Laguna Playhouse this weekend.

Cloris Leachman, a true living legend at 84, has had a career most people in show business would kill for. Apart from her Oscar, she's won eight prime time Emmy awards — more than any other female performer — for her work on TV's "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the title role in its spinoff, "Phyllis" — and a Daytime Emmy award.

She also has the distinction of being the oldest contestant, at 82, on "Dancing With the Stars." She lasted through the sixth round before being voted off.

She may have broken a few hearts in "The Last Picture Show," but there's no funnier actress around than Cloris Leachman. Check out her performances in three Mel Brooks movies — "Young Frankenstein," "High Anxiety" and "History of the World, Part I."

Last year, Leachman was the grand marshal for the 2009 New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena. She presided over the 120th parade, the theme being "Hats Off to Entertainment," and the 95th Rose Bowl game.

During the past year, Leachman completed work on eight films, "American Cowslip," "You Again," "Ponyo," "Inglourious Basterds," "New York I Love You," "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure," "The Fields" and "Expecting Mary."

Her TV appearances in 2009 include: the Bob Saget Roast, "Love Takes Wings," "The Office" (Post Super Bowl XLIII), "Phineas and Ferb" and "HawthoRNe." And they say Betty White works hard for an octogenarian.

Look for her to touch on many of the aforementioned moments during her brief stint in Laguna in which she promises to "draw material from the many magical moments in her professional career" through personal stories and song. Her autobiography is now out, and chances are you'll be able to secure a copy when you visit the playhouse.

She's only in town for the weekend — tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2. Call the playhouse at (949) 494-2787 for ticket information.

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