Thursday, January 28, 2021

No Foolin' New CBS Comedy Premieres April 1; Remembering the Legendary Cloris Leachman

United State of Al

CBS announced that new comedy United States of Al, from award-winning executive producer Chuck Lorre and creators/writers David Goetsch and Maria Ferrari, will premiere Thursday, April 1 at 9:30 PM, ET/PT, after The Unicorn completes its second season. United States of Al stars Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young in a comedy about the friendship between Riley (Young), a Marine combat veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life in Ohio, and Awalmir ("Al") (Kalyan), the interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan and has just arrived to start a new life in America. Elizabeth Alderfer, Dean Norris, Kelli Goss and Farrah Mackenzie also star. David Goetsch & Maria Ferrari, Chuck Lorre, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi and director Mark Cendrowski (pilot only) are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. United States of Al will join the CBS Thursday comedy line-up which has Young Sheldon, B Positive and Mom leading in.


Cloris Leachman

Emmy and Oscar-winning actress Cloris Leachman, who starred as Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis and as Beverly Ann Stickle in The Facts of Life, has died. She died on January 27 from natural causes in her sleep at her home in Encinitas, California. Ms. Leachman was 94.

Leachman's early television credits included Actor's Studio, Kraft Theatre, Bob and Ray, Suspense, Danger and The Philco Television Playhouse. She starred as Effie Perrine in the detective drama Charlie Wild, Private Detective from 1950 to 1952. She played Ruth Martin, Timmy's (Jon Provost) adoptive mother, in 28 episodes of the fourth season of Lassie from 1957 to 1958. Some of her other guest appearances from the 1950s and 1960s included Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Thriller, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, 77 Sunset Strip, Dr. Kildare, Perry Mason, The Virginian, Adam-12 and Mannix.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

She played Phyllis Lindstrom, the downstairs landlady and snobbish friend of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), in 35 episodes of the CBS sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970 to 1975 (and the final episode in 1977). Phyllis was a recurring character in the first two seasons. She was the mother of Bess (Lisa Gerritsen). Leachman won Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy in 1974 and for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series in 1975. She also appeared as Phyllis in the one-hour episode Rhoda titled "Rhoda's Wedding" in 1974. The Mary Tyler Moore Show also starred Edward Asner, Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper (1970-1974), Georgia Engel (1973-1977) and Betty White (1973-1977).

Phyllis

Leachman continued the role of Phyllis Lindstrom in the spin-off series Phyllis. The CBS sitcom ran for two seasons from 1975 to 1977. Phyllis and her daughter Bess Lindstrom moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco, after the death of her husband, Dr. Lars Lindstrom. Leachman won a Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1976, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1976. The series also starred Liz Torres (1975-1976), Richard Schaal (1975-1976), Jane Rose, Henry Jones, Judith Lowry, John Lawlor (1976-1977), Garn Stephens (1976-1977), Carmine Caridi (1976-1977), Burt Mustin (1976) and Craig Watson (1977).

The Facts of Life

She starred as Beverly Ann Stickle, Edna Garrett's (Charlotte Rae) sister, in the final two seasons of the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life from 1986 to 1988. The character of Beverly Ann had a similar personality to Leachman's previous Emmy-winning role as Phyllis Lindstrom. Beverly Ann later legally adopted Over Our Heads worker Andy Moffett (Mackenzie Astin). The cast in the final seasons included Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, Nancy McKeon, George Clooney (Seasons 7-8) and Sherrie Krenn (Season 9).

Leachman starred as Ms. Frick and Mrs. Edwina Nutt (in the pilot episode) in the short-lived 1989 NBC sitcom The Nutt House. Ms. Frick was the head of housekeeping at Nutt House, a once-prestigious New York City hotel. The Mel Brooks and Alan Spencer produced series also starred Harvey Korman, Mark Blankfield, Brian McNamara, Molly Hagan and Gregory Itzin.

She starred as Emily Collins, the wife of Walter Collins (Brian Keith), in the short-lived 1991-1992 NBC sitcom Walter and Emily. They were the parents of Matt Collins (Christopher McDonald) and grandparents of 11-year-old Zach (Matthew Lawrence). The cast included Edna Gross, Sandy Baron and Shelley Berman.

Leachman played Grammy Winthrop in the short-lived 1999 CBS sitcom Thanks. The program explores the trials and tribulations of the Winthrops, a 17th-century Puritan family, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The series also starred Tim Dalton, Kirsten Nelson, Erika Christensen, Amy Centner, Andrew Ducote, Jim Rash, Keith Szarabajka and Robert Machray.

She played the recurring role of Grandma Ida in 11 episodes of the Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle from 2001 to 2006. Ida was Lois Wilkerson's (Jane Kaczmarek) tyrannical mother. Leachman won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2002 and 2006.

Leachman starred as Dot Richmond in the 2001-2002 CBS sitcom The Ellen Show. Dot Richmond was the eccentric mother of Ellen Richmond (Ellen DeGeneres). The series also starred Martin Mull, Jim Gaffigan, Emily Rutherford, Diane Delano and Kerri Kenney.

Raising Hope

She starred as Barbara June "Maw Maw" Thompson in 2010 to 2014 Fox sitcom Raising Hope. She was Virginia's (Martha Plimpton) 84-year-old grandmother, Jimmy's (Lucas Neff) great-grandmother, and Hope's (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) great-great-grandmother. The series also starred Garret Dillahunt, Shannon Woodward and Gregg Binkley.

Leachman reunited with her The Mary Tyler Moore Show cast members Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper and Georgia Engel in a 2013 episode of the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland. Some of her other sitcom guest appearances included The Donna Reed Show, That Girl, The Love Boat, The Associates, Ferris Bueller, The Powers That Be, The Nanny, Maybe This Time, Norm, Love & Money, Happy Family, Two and a Half Men, The Office, Blue Mountain State, Kirstie, The Millers, Girl Meets World and Teachers. Some of her voice credits included The Simpsons, Phineas and Ferb, Bob's Burgers, Creative Galaxy, Justice League Action and Elena of Avalor.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Ruth Popper, the jaded wife of a closeted schoolteacher in the 1950s, in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show. She appeared in the Mel Brooks' films Young Frankenstein (1974) as Frau Bl├╝cher, High Anxiety (1977) as Charlotte Diesel and History of the World, Part I (1981) as Madame Defarge. Some of her other film credits included Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), WUSA (1970), Yesterday (1981), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Now and Then (1995), Bad Santa (2003), Spanglish (2004), Mrs. Harris (2005) and New York, I Love You (2008).

Survivors include sons Adam, George Jr., Morgan, an actor; and a daughter, Dinah.

Ms. Leachman was a wonderful actress and a true comedy legend. During her career which spanned more than seven decades, she won eight Primetime Emmy Awards, an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award. She made everything she appeared in much better. We thank her for the many laughs and hours of entertainment she brought us. She will be sorely missed.

Share your memories on our The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis and The Facts of Life message boards. View photos in our galleries.

This Saturday, Antenna TV will air a marathon of The Facts of Life episodes featuring actress and comedian Cloris Leachman. Leachman starred in the final two seasons of the sitcom as Beverly Ann Stickle, the sister of Mrs. Garrett.

"Remembering Cloris Leachman: The Facts of Life Marathon" airs Saturday, January 30 from Noon ET to 6 pm ET on Antenna TV. Visit www.antennatv.com for the channel finder.

Bruce Kirby

We also remember veteran character actor Bruce Kirby. He appeared as Officer Kissel in Car 54, Where Are You?, starred in several short-lived sitcoms and made many sitcom guest appearances. He died in Los Angeles on January 24. Mr. Kirby was 95.

Bruce Kirby - Car 54, Where Are You?

Kirby had a recurring role as Office Kissel in the 1961-1963 NBC sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?. The cast included Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne, Bea Pons, Paul Reed, Albert Henderson, Nipsey Russell, Joe Warren, Al Lewis, Hank Garrett and Charlotte Rae.

He starred as Capt. Harry Sedford in the short-lived 1976 ABC sitcom Holmes and Yoyo. The series follows Detective Alexander Holmes (Richard B. Schull) and his new android partner Yoyo (John Schuck), on their adventures and misadventures, as Holmes teaches Yoyo what it is like to be human, while trying to keep his quirky partner's true nature a secret from criminals and fellow cops.

Turnabout

Kirby starred as Al Brennan in the short-lived 1979 NBC sitcom Turnabout. Al Brennan was the boss of sportswriter Sam Alston (John Schuck). The series also starred Sharon Gless, Richard Stahl, Bobbi Jordan and James Sikking.

Some of his other sitcom guest appearances in the 1960s and 1970s included The Phil Silvers Show, The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie, The Mothers-in-Law, Hogan's Heroes, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Coursthip of Eddie's Father, Room 222, The Doris Day Show, Me and the Chimp, The Bob Newhart Show, Chico and the Man, Operation Petticoat, Alice and Barney Miller.

Some of his 1980s and 1990s sitcom guest appearances included Park Place, Three's a Crowd, Night Court, Punky Brewster, Anything But Love (4 episodes as Leo Miller), Have Faith, It's Garry Shandling's Show, The Fanelli Boys, The Golden Girls, Madman of the People, Bless This House, The Single Guy, Murphy Brown and Caroline in the City. He appeared in a 2007 episode of Scrubs.

Kirby had several roles in the long-running series Columbo from 1973 to 1995, most notably as the gullible Sergeant George Kramer in six episodes. He starred as Inspector Schmidt in the 1981-1982 CBS police drama Shannon. He played District Attorney Bruce Rogoff in 13 episodes of L.A. Law from 1986 until 1991.

He was the father of actor Bruno Kirby (1949-2006). His other son, John Kirby, is an acting coach.

Mr. Kirby was a talented character actor. He was a familiar face in many sitcoms from the 1960s to the 1990s. He will be greatly missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 3

The Goldbergs - "Mr. Ships Ahoy" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As William Penn’s new Quaker Warden, Beverly is thrilled to have co-workers for the first time and sets out to make them all love her. To her dismay, it’s more difficult to win them over than she anticipated, as her reputation of being a difficult school parent precedes her. Meanwhile, Geoff competes in the “Mr. Ships Ahoy” beauty pageant to prove to Erica that he can be seen as desirable by other women.

American Housewife - "The Guardian" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie and Greg secretly put Kathryn (Wendie Malick) through a series of tests to see if she would make a good guardian for Anna-Kat in the unlikely event something should happen to them. Meanwhile, after tracking down J.D.’s (Jake Choi) potential egg donors, Tami (Holly Robinson Peete) and Katie scheme to learn more about them.

The Conners - "A Stomach Ache, a Heartbreak and a Grave Mistake" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mark is stressed out and feeling sick, convinced he has COVID-19. Meanwhile, Becky and Harris team up to confront Josh who has been “ghosting” Harris; and when Jackie visits Roseanne’s grave, she finds an appalling headstone right next to it and sets out to make it right.

Call Your Mother - "Feelings" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jean and Danny’s relationship grows complicated emotionally and physically as they try to resist their feelings for one another until his divorce is final. As Celia is moving into Freddie’s apartment, Freddie is disappointed to learn that Celia plans to keep her place as a backup plan, causing some hard conversations between the two.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 1)

Wednesday, March 3

  • Ben Schwartz (Space Force/Parks and Recreation) - Watch Ben on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He will also be on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Annaleigh Ashford (B Positive) - Annaleigh appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.
  • Kyra Sedgwick (Call Your Mother) - Kyra is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Arsenio Hall (Arsenio) - Arsenio talks about Coming 2 America on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Kristen and Dax are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jermaine Fowler (Superior Donuts) - Jermaine will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Awkwafina (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens) - Awkwafina appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Hillary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hillary talks about My Brave Little Girl on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-February)

The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season
01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)

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