August 26th, 2008
02:10 PM ET

Cloris Leachman, 82, goes 'Dancing'

The list of contestants for the latest edition of “Dancing With the Stars” featured few surprises. There was the bombshell reality star (Kim Kardashian), the pro football player (Warren Sapp), the unlikely actor (Ted McGinley) and someone for the teenyboppers (“Hannah Montana’s” Cody Linley).

But then there was Cloris Leachman: Oscar winner (“The Last Picture Show”), comic actress (Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and “High Anxiety”), TV regular (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle”).

And - oh yes - she’s 82.

Now, “Dancing With the Stars” can be plenty to handle for even its youthful contenders. Witness dancing professional Mark Ballas’ dislocated shoulder or Cristian de la Fuente’s arm injury.

So will Leachman be able to hold her own?

CNN spoke to Lisa Perkins, Leachman’s publicist. Perkins said that Leachman actually received two medical clearances to appear on the show, one from her personal physician and one from a physician affiliated with ABC.

Perkins says her client was listed in perfect health by both, but as a precaution Leachman will be monitored weekly throughout the seventh season of the show.

And don’t underestimate Leachman: She’s a former Miss America contestant, a veteran of TV’s frantic live drama broadcasts in the 1950s - and we all know what happens to horses who hear the name of her “Frankenstein” character, Frau Blucher.

“Dancing with the Stars” premieres September 22.

- Todd Leopold and Jennifer Wolfe, CNN

Filed under: Celebrities

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soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Heleni Arddu

    Great post, I believe website owners should larn a lot from this web blog its really user pleasant. So much excellent information on here :D.

    July 9, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. DIVA

    In the early 70's book about fat bias called "Shadow On A Tightrope", Leachman was quoted at the very beginning as saying:
    "They should use steam shovels to sweep all fat people off the streets so I won't have to look at them".

    The remark hurt and angered me. I'm a person, not garbage.

    September 2, 2009 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Franko

    Sexy, at any age or speed.
    Change the angle of every man's dangle.

    September 7, 2008 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sioux

    I had the extreme pleasure to meet the dear lady a few years back. She's a dynamo! The rest of the contestants don't know what they're up against. Go Cloris Go! I'm rooting for you!

    September 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DazedAndAmused

    Three cheers for Cloris Leachman! Show 'em what an old broad can do, Cloris!

    September 4, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chris

    it is mark ballas and not derek hough who had a dislocated shoulder.

    September 3, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jack

    Way to go Cloris! I remember you from the FBI in the 60's.

    September 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Harvey

    This is just another reason not to watch the show. Everyone knows she will not come close to winning so its a waste of time. Last year everyone knew who would win during the first show. Having an ice skater who practically dances on the ice compete

    September 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Linda - Kansas

    Cloris! You Go Girl!
    By the way Charles Branson is no longer among the living.

    September 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. janet

    Come on people, give Cloris a break! At my age (58) I am at awe at individuals who are still maximizing their life at such an age. People, give yourselves a few more years and then let's see if DWTS is in your realm of physical possibilities......Go mom is 82 and can still dance with the best.

    September 2, 2008 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Elizabeth

    While I've no doubt Ms Leachman must be in great shape for 82 to have passed the physicals, the whole idea of her dancing with one of the guys who is some 60 yrs younger, and then dancing something romantic like the samba is, quite frankly, nauseating. Perhaps ABC needs to pander to us baby boomers in a more realistic way, like Dancing with the Stars Boomer Edition?

    September 2, 2008 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. debbie

    So what if Cloris Leachman wants to dance? Let's not forget that there are others on the show who are not exactly spring chickens. For one, Susan Lucci or Ted McGinley aren't very young in reality. It's an entertainment show. If they don't make it past the first few weeks, it's okay. Life will go on. At least they are not boring us with the likes of Heather Mills. Not that the little she did accomplish wasn't inspiring to those in similiar situations but the lady has a very negative aura and she was also rather boring . At least Cloris Leachman has a sense of humor and she is fabulous comedienne. Go for it!

    September 2, 2008 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Marion Brizendine

    Does being 'young' guarantee you can dance ?? Go Cloris !!

    September 2, 2008 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. cems

    Don't forget that Cloris has done her share of song & dance on Broadway and in touring shows - I saw her in the revival of Show Boat when it came to LA about 10 years ago - and she very much held her own with the rest of the cast, dancing wise.

    September 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Franko

    She was great in “Kiss Me Deadly”. Will download another one.
    Cloris is the argument that negates anti-cloning policy reasons.

    August 31, 2008 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. taryn

    Cloris was also Beverly Ann on The Facts of Life.... she was Mrs Garrett;s sister 🙂

    August 30, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Virginia

    I'm hoping Ms. Leachman will be able to last beyond a couple of weeks. Given the previous history of this show, the 3 judges will indicate repeatedly how "inspiring" she is while criticizing her inability to master their dance requirements. But she'll be given the hook relatively early. How is it possible to fairly judge her against females 30-50 years younger who wear skimpy costumes and can kick their legs above their heads? This show is incidentally about dancing; it's more about shaking one's booty. And female contentants are at a definite disadvantage compared to their male counterparts - star status notwithstanding. Leachman's selection has done 2 things: it's gotten folks talking, and if these comments are any indication, it will attract viewers to this show.

    August 30, 2008 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Roz Roz

    If Heather Mills could take the physical punishment – so can Cloris !!

    August 29, 2008 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Penny

    I have't watched DWTS since first season but I will watch it this go-round because as a 57-year-old looking at 82 as being NOT THAT DISTANT ANYMORE..I applaud her guts!!

    You GO, Cloris!!

    August 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Charles

    To watch the professional actor, singer, sportsperson step out of their comfort zone on national television, to do something as simple as 'dancing'. You join in on how hard it would be for you, but imagine this, how hard it would be to do it on national television, so I don't put this show in the same boat as reality television. It really reminds me of something that we as Americans used to do with out a thought. Get out there and dig your heels in and make it happen.

    August 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  21. johnniebgoode

    go cloris, go cloris, it's your birthday, go cloris go cloris....first saw cloris on mary tyler moore as phyllis and have been a fan ever since....
    break a leg...but not literally........

    August 29, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Ivan Bial

    Great..go for it "Frau Blucher"

    August 29, 2008 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  23. Jenny in Portland, Oregon

    Wow! Cloris has more guts than most of us, that's for certain.
    I wish her well and hope she does a great job. More power to

    August 29, 2008 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  24. Maureen Mitchell

    I love DWTS and watch it all the time. If the Doctors say she is healthy then I applaud her.I would not want to watch something like Marie Osmond.
    Considering all the trash on TV, my hats off to the people who began this show.
    Blessings to you Cloris and take care of yourself.

    August 29, 2008 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  25. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Ha! Just read the interview with Carmen Electra and Kim whats-her-name on CNN about the new movie they'll be in. Question asked was if they prefer reality TV or film – Carmen answered that it was easier with reality because she was more free and "you don'tt really have to memorize any lines". Shouldn't it be ANY lines? Proof this reality business is pure malarky!

    August 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. LaVerne

    As a senior citizen myself, I sincerely applaude Cloris for taking on this very demanding role. I would say this may be her toughest role she has ever had, what with all the rehearsals and performanances she will have to endure. She is a role model for all of us.

    I totally agree that she would make an excellent Grandma Mazur. If Hollywood ever picked up the Stephanie Plum series and make them into a movie. What a delight it would be.

    August 28, 2008 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  27. Benst

    Any tv show with Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton is a "must miss" program. There has to be something better on another channel to watch. Cloris Leachman is an actress. Ms. Kardashian is a backside and a home video tape where that backside is filled.

    Thank goodness for PBS and TCM! They never let me down.

    August 28, 2008 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  28. Sheree


    August 28, 2008 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  29. Lisa

    I used to like Cloris until I heard her say that she hated fat people.
    What a terrible thing to say!
    I don't wish her any harm, but I won't be watching.

    August 28, 2008 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  30. Franko

    Newer heard of her, but her Wiki 2007 picture, looks better than Hilary.
    Downloading "Kiss Me Deadly" to get a real good look at her.
    Says: "I don't care what you do to me, Mike. Just do it fast," ?

    She likely has good stories to tell from the classical Film Noir era.
    New, American Wise Idol ?

    August 28, 2008 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  31. Audrey

    All I have to say is, if someone isn't interested just change the channel or turn off the set. If you haven't watched the show, how can you complain about it? My husband & I both watch DWTS & have for the past two seasons. It is fun & the participants seem to really enjoy themselves. (If I were hanging all over Maxim, I would be happy!) As for Cloris, if she wants to dance let her! I have enjoyed her for years & hope to continue the entertainment and enjoyment for years to come.

    August 27, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Colleen, La Verne

    Wow! Cloris Leachman will certainly add "class" to this season's line-up of stars! And let us not forget, this is entertainment folks! And clean fun – what a treat! Good for you Cloris, can't wait for September 22!

    August 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Melissa, Los Angeles

    @ Lori I skimmed this blog to know this show won't die like the other "reality" shows and am expressing my opinion in the hopes that Hollywood would realize how over I am (and possibly countless others) with shows like this and any other like it. I cannot even tell you who the past contestants were on this show much less on American Idol. Has Hollywood really gotten so lazy with actually having to write a creative show? Good thing though is I'm not home watching this drivel and have been exercising so in the end living my reality is better for me then watching someone else's.

    August 27, 2008 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Paul

    Mark my words, Jonathan Roberts will be stuck with Cloris, as he always is with the older ladies that don't have a shot at winning.
    I seriously think Ms. Leachman should reconsider. Any woman's bones at age 82 are brittle. A broken hip could be the end for her.

    August 27, 2008 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  35. Sara

    Being 84 and enjoying good health too, I can hardly wait to see Leachman do her thing GO CLORIS!!!

    August 27, 2008 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  36. Bob Nanninga

    Cloris Leachman, is healthy and hearty. She has danced on Broadway and is still a master of physical comedy. From 12 to 82 Cloris has always held her own.

    August 27, 2008 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  37. Julie

    I think it's great for Cloris Leachman to be on the show. It will help keep her in shape so she can play Grandma Mazur in the Stephanie Plum series whenever Hollywood wakes up and realizes what a gold mine those books are. I can see her packing heat in her purse and dancing the tango for another 20 years! Go Cloris!

    August 27, 2008 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  38. Sherry

    Charles Bronsan is dead...

    I think its awesome that she's doing the show! But they need to get some more main stream stars on the show.... not people that we vaguely remember – like Ted....

    August 27, 2008 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  39. Veronica

    I love Cloris Leachman! I can't wait to see her on DWTS and show everyone that it doesn't matter what age you are that dancing is for all ages! Go Cloris!

    August 27, 2008 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  40. Michele

    I wouldn't watch that if you paid me. Sounds like a freak show

    August 27, 2008 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  41. Barbara Goodridge

    Go Cloris,
    I sure hope that you have strong knees. I know excellent ballroom dancers in their early 80's, so drop the disabled comments please.

    I hope that the teacher is reasonable in their choreography. If she is in good shape we will see what a healthy 82 can do.

    Yes indeed, dance like no one is watching, Cloris.


    August 26, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Milore

    The only interesting pairs for me have been Laila Ali with Maksim and Mel B with Maksim. I'd like to see what Tony Braxton can do, but I just don't like her arrogant and obviously bored with it all. Maybe she can do for him what Laila Ali did for Maksim...loosen him up a bit and make him enjoy what he is doing. As for Cloris Leachman...why not? She has plenty of spunk....I say go for it!

    August 26, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Edi

    Cloris Leachman is such an inspiration. She totally rocks!!!!

    August 26, 2008 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Lori

    then why waste your time reading about it and responding to the blog? bet you are a little more interested in it than you want to believe! :o)

    August 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'm waiting for the day when shows like this and all reality shows (outside of COPS) finally disappear. I don't care who can dance or sing better than who or who is sleeping with who. The "reality" business has gotten very old.

    August 26, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Deborah

    I just love her guts! I don't know how physically able she is, but her mind is like a steel trap. If you saw her on the Comedy Central roast of Bob Saget, she was the funniest of any comedian or actor on that stage.

    You go girl!

    August 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  47. cindy

    all i have to say is, YOU GO GIRL !!

    August 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Eva

    Let's not forget Cloris Leachman as Phyllis Lindstrom on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was beautiful and hilarious.

    August 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Dilys

    Despite my best intentions, I have become a fan of the show. Its kind of like watching a train wreck – I can't help myself! Anyway, it is good eye candy, fun and stress relief – I'm relieved its me up there and not them! I hope she does very well, I expect they won't let anyone throw her up in the air.or across the floor – their insurance likely wouldn't cover that. As for B stars, its nice they get a chance to shine again. I am absolutely not a fan of Jerry Springer but when he danced for his daughters, I thought it was a lovely moment that we don't often get to see on TV these days – I'm very sick of all the sleaze!

    August 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Katie

    It's wonderful that such a woman is able to get out there and strut her stuff. I adore her performances as Frau Blucher and Nurse Diesel, and will definitely be rooting for her to win, or at least to outshine some of the younger crowd.

    August 26, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  51. HGL

    You people are harsh. Dancing with the Stars is meant to entertain, and on the rare occasion, inspire it's viewers. The point is to show people that trying something new and out of the norm can be challenging and fun. The people who appear on the show– B list or not– look like they're having a blast and I applaud them for not taking themselves or their "craft" (professional sports, singing, acting, etc) so seriously that they are unwilling to give something new a shot. I also have to disagree with the comment about George Hamilton– he did an awesome job.

    August 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Harriet

    Good for you Cloris! I will be cheering for you.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  53. mike

    She's the only REAL Star on the show! Academy Award and multiple Emmy Awards...the rest can't hold her dancin' shoes!

    August 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Lesha

    Two words: OH MY

    August 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Shelly

    I think it will be awesome having her on the show. My only hope is that she adds as much funny into it as possible. And that she doesn't hurt herself

    August 26, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Mike R

    Cloris Leachman is one of the most underrated and under-appreciate comedic actors ever.

    I will certainly be rooting for her!

    August 26, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Pedro

    And it was just as painful to watch Wayne Newton & Jerry Springer dance...hey, at least they tried.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Dan

    Disables star? Calling an 82 year old person who want to compete and being allowed to by the show disabled? I hope she does well as I like her spirit as a person, and I believe her sense of humor will also add a lot to the show. I also hope she kicks some butt, including that of anyone calling her the "disabled" entry of the season. Not nice.

    We'll see.....

    August 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Alayna

    I'm pretty sure it was Derek Hough, not Mark Ballas, who had the dislocated shoulder.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Paula

    Go Cloris, Go!

    August 26, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  61. poker.luvr

    I have no doubt that she will dance rings around the other competitors.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  62. LBW

    I like her so much, but one good fall and she could break a hip. I hope she reconsiders.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Annia

    I think Ms. Leachman would be inspiring to her contemporaries. Ted McGinley, AKA Mr. Darcy? I wonder if he still as good looking as when he was on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN...hmmmm can't wait to see.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  64. toons

    might as well get Charles Bronsan in on the show

    August 26, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Mike

    "They have now turned it into a joke."

    This is a show called "Dancing with the Stars." It's full of B-List (at best) "celebrities" and passed-their-prime, washed-up "celebrities" that can't currently land enough legitimate work. I got news, which has nothing to do with whether or not it's entertaining or worth watch, but it's always been a joke! Not to pick on Ted McGinely (I loved Happy Days, Married with Children, and Revenge of the Nerds), but any show that is classifying him as a "Star" is not taking itself that seriously.

    August 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Maria

    If she can do it, why not.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Mookie

    As a side note, Cloris Leachman was recently on the Roast of Bob Saget on comedy central. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out, for her if nothing else. She was abolutely hilarious, by far the funniest of all the roasters.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Laura

    Cloris is not their disabled star this go-round: she's the oldster! Toni Braxton qualifies as medically handicapped since she had to withdraw from her Vegas show due to pericarditis, a heart condition.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Laura

    Good for her. I hope I still feel like dancing at 82.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  70. djs

    I am really looking forward to this year,and hurray! for Cloris!
    This show is strictly for fun and entertainment, it is not like So You Think You Can Dance, with career possibilities at stake, so I think the lineup is really good, should be a blast to watch!

    August 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Robert

    Now I have to watch this season! I just hope anyone with a mic on the show can work in the name of her horse on air and see what she does with it. That would be worth following all season just for that.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Vicky

    Dancing with the Stars has decided on its "disabled" star with Cloris Leachman being 82. Quite honestly, I have been a regular viewer since the first year. They have now turned it into a joke. My next question is "What happened to Tom Selleck" ??

    August 26, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Lynne Roy

    More power to her. You are as young as you feel nowadays.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Jelly

    Never even seen the show. But wait, Cloris Leachman? I be watchin', she be representin'. GO GIRL!

    August 26, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  75. val beasley

    And let's not forget she was also the Amazon Queen mother on "Wonder Woman."

    August 26, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Cheri

    I just hope watching her trying to keep up with the younger folks isn't painful. It was brutal watching George Hamilton trying to keep up.

    August 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |

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