James L. Brooks Remembers Cloris Leachman: ‘She Made Outrageousness Lovable’

To work with Cloris Leachman was nothing less than liberating.

That’s how writer-director James L.

Brooks remembered his collaborations with the beloved actor who died Jan.

26 at the age of 94.“Life was not as confining when she was around,” Brooks told Variety of his experiences working with Leachman in the 1970s on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and many years later on his much-praised 2004 comedy “Spanglish.”“She was the only person I ever knew who could make a certain kind of edgy outrageousness be lovable,” Brooks recalled.

“You never knew what she was going to do.

She was spontaneous.

And there was a vulnerability to her.

She was intrinsically funny but also brilliant funny.”Leachman’s versatility was formidable.

She became an Oscar winner for “The Last Picture Show” two years into her five-season run on “Mary Tyler Moore.”She was in her 40s and had the perspective to

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