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

Des Moines nartive 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.” 

Actress Cloris Leachman gestures to honoree Mel Brooks in the audience during the American Film Institute's 41st Lifetime Achievement Award Gala on June 6, 2013, in Los Angeles. Leachman, a character actor whose depth of talent brought her an Oscar for the "The Last Picture Show" and Emmys for her comedic work in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and other TV series, has died. She was 94.

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:Cloris Leachman got her start in Des Moines and never forgot her hometown

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. 

Born April 30, 1936, she was the daughter of avid Des Moines amateur actors Berkeley C. and Cloris Wallace Leachman and made her theatrical debut in in a local production at age 7.

Her Des Moines roots went deep. She was the granddaughter of Robert Leachman, who in 1921 founded Leachman Lumber Co., where her father worked as secretary and treasurer when not performing or serving as an officer of local theater organizations. The company, with Cloris Leachman’s cousin John Leachman as CEO, still operates on Hubbell Avenue, and Cloris Leachman visited there in 2016, when she made a final trip to her native city.

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She also visited Roosevelt High School, her alma mater, the Des Moines Playhouse, a key venue in her early acting career, and the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The Cloris Awards, given annually to recognize top performers in Des Moines’ theater scene, are named for her.

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